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T wo children were killed and three others injured after a wall of a school build- ing collapsed on them in a vil- lage on Monday around 10 am at Khazan Singh KS Public School, a private primary school in Salarpur village under Sector 49 police station limits, police said. Taking a serious note of the incident, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered an enquiry and directed officials of Gautam Budh Nagar district to ensure proper treatment to the injured. According to eyewitness, children were playing when a wall collapsed on them as a JCB collided with the school wall. Five school students identified as Akash, Naitik, Reshu, Bhupendra and Vievek, who were the victim, were rescued from the debris and rushed to a nearby hospital where Bhupendra (10) and Vivek (8) were declared brought dead while Akash, Naitik and Reshu are being treated. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ajay Pal Sharma and District Magistrate (DM) Brajesh Narain Singh met the families of the victims and took stock of the situation, offi- cials said. It is understood the school was being run a plot owned by one Amit Bhati. Police are try- ing to identify the people run- ning the school. A First Information report has been lodged at sector-49 police sta- tion and probe has been launched, a police official said. C hinese investment in India is as low as US $5 billion, but Chinese companies are executing projects of Indian entities pegged at a whopping $63 billion. A parliamentary panel has pointed to this “pro- jects export” by China without “bringing any actual invest- ment” and pushed for an immediate stress on invest- ments by Chinese companies in India. The Committee has also outlined the security implica- tions of Chinese projects say- ing they should be examined with circumspection on a sec- toral basis. The trade deficit between the two countries stand at nearly $52 billion. “While cumulative Chinese investments in India are sub- stantially low at round $5 bil- lion, the value of Indian pro- jects currently executed by Chinese companies is estimat- ed to be as high as $63 billion. China is engaged in project exports in India without bring- ing its own capital for invest- ment. Such a trend is not healthy for the overall growth of Indian economy,” said the parliamentary committee on External Affairs, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in its report. The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The Committee pointed out that trade deficit with China is totally loaded against India. The factors which is responsible for this include non tariff barriers imposed by China to Indian goods and ser- vices, dumping of goods, lack of genuine investment profile on the part of China, security imperatives are some of the concerns which India faces on the matter. In its report, the Committee recommended that India should persuade Chinese companies to bring more investment into India rather than merely resorting to project exports. “The continuously ris- ing trade deficit which has increased to $52 billion in 2016-17 and is at present $63 billion is unsustainable and requires concrete steps to be taken for redressal,” it said. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle, who appeared before the Committee, had submitted that there has always been a dif- ference between the Indian figures and the Chinese cus- toms statistics. “The Chinese calculate the data on calendar basis while India calculates on financial year basis. It is virtu- ally impossible to reconcile the figures. As far as the Indian Government data is concerned in the three previous financial years of 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, the deficit was $48.47 billion, $52.69 billion and $51.09 billion. In each case, the Chinese exports were around $60 billion and the Indian exports were in the range of nine billion to $10 billion. According to the Chinese cus- toms statistics, in that same period for 2014, 2015 and 2016 calendar years, the deficit was $37 billion; $44 billion and $47 billion,” the Foreign Secretary had submitted told the Committee. On the issue of Chinese ease of entry to Indian markets and project exports, the Ministry of External Affairs said the value of projects cur- rently under execution is esti- mated to be $63 billion. So while the cumulative Chinese investments in India are sub- stantially low which is about $5 billion, the project exports are substantial and the Government’s effort has essen- tially been to persuade the Chinese to invest into the country and not to utilise Indian capital by bringing pro- jects into the country. The Committee questioned as to why the Government has not been able to leverage with China the fact of a massive $80 billion market next door as to compel it to bring some degree of equity in the bilateral trade. P akistan on Monday released Indian prisoner Hamid Nihal Ansari, who was detained by the country’s intel- ligence agencies in 2012 and subsequently sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by a military court in 2015 for pos- sessing a fake Pakistani identi- ty card. Ansari, a 33-year-old Mumbai resident, was lodged in the Peshawar Central Jail after being sentenced by the military court on December 15, 2015. His three-year jail term ended on December 15, 2018 but he was not able to leave for India as his legal doc- uments were not ready. On Thursday, the Peshawar High Court gave the federal government a month deadline to complete his repatriation process. “Ansari is being released upon completion of his sen- tence and is being repatriated to India,” Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said. He claimed that Ansari was an “Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in anti-state crimes and forging docu- ments.” Ansari went missing after he was taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence agen- cies and local police in Kohat in 2012 and finally in reply to a habeas corpus peti- tion filed by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed that he was in cus- tody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court. He entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online. A two-judge Peshawar High Court bench, comprising Justice Roohul Amin and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan, on Thursday heard an appeal filed by Ansari through his lawyer Qazi Muhammad Anwar. Anwar informed the bench that both the Ministry of Interior and authorities of prison, where he was lodged, were completely silent about his release and deportation to India. S enior IAS officer Gaurav Dwivedi was appointed as secretary to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday, hours after he took oath as the third Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. Taran Prakash Sinha, IAS, has been appointed as deputy secretary to the Chief Minister and he would also hold charge of Commissioner, Public Relations. Taman Singh Sonwani, who is presently the Commissioner, Surguja, has been appointed as joint secre- tary to Chief Minister. J ust two days after Congress leaders held a Press confer- ence saying no CAG report on pricing of Rafale jets has been shared with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the CAG has sent a draft report on Rafale deal to the Ministry of Defence for its comment. Highly placed sources said that the CAG has asked the Ministry of Defence to revert within four weeks on the draft report. The draft report was sent to the Ministry of Defence two weeks ago. However, the report is unlikely to be tabled in the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament. The controversy erupted over the CAG report on Rafale ever since the Supreme Court mentioned about this while giving clean chit to the Government. The senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the Public Accounts Committee chairman, accused the Government of misleading the apex court. “The Government lied in the Supreme Court that the CAG report was presented in the House and in the PAC, and PAC has probed it. The Government said in the Supreme Court that it (the report) is in public domain. Where is it? Have you seen it?” Kharge, alleged. S easoned Congress politi- cian Bhupesh Baghel was on Monday sworn in as the third Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, bringing an end to 15-year rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the min- eral-rich state. The two other Congress heavyweights in the state- TS Singh Deo and party's OBC cell national chairman Tamradhwaj Sahu also sworn- in as Ministers amid cheering by thousands of enthusiastic party supporters. The swearing-in ceremo- ny was held at a jam-packed Indoor stadium in Raipur as the authorities shifted the venue from sprawling Science College ground due to inces- sant rain throughout the day. Baghel, who represents Patan Assembly constituency in Durg district, was admin- istered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Anandiben Patel in the pres- ence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP's Raman Singh among other dignitaries here. The firebrand leader Baghel is largely hailed as the architect of Congress' landslide victory in the tribal-dominat- ed state where it won 68 seats in the 90-member Assembly. A powerful leader of the OBC community, Baghel was a Minister in Digvijay Singh's cabinet in undivided Madhya Pradesh and later became a Minister in Ajit Jogi's govern- ment after Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh on Nov 1, 2000. Launching his political career as a students' leader in early 1980s, Baghel was elect- ed to the undivided Madhya Pradesh Assembly for the first time in 1993. Baghel's top political opponent Ajit Jogi who had deserted the Congress in 2016 to launch his own outfit, skipped the swear- ing-in ceremony. After the swearing-in cer- emony, Rahul Gandhi took to twitter to thank the people of the state and vowed to build a "new Chhattisgarh". "We will work shoulder- to-shoulder to build a new Chhattisgarh. Farmers, youth and women will have a special claim to this government," said Gandhi expressing his gratitude to party workers and leaders for the hard earned victory. C hief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced to waive off farmers’ bank loans amount- ing to 6,100 crore. The min- imum support price(MSP) on paddy has been hiked up to 2,500 per quintal. An SIT has been formed to probe into Jheeram valley massacre of Congress leaders in 2013. Hours after he took oath as the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Baghel presided over a Cabinet meeting and decided to waive off farm loan which would benefit 16.65 lakh farmers who were reeling under steep debt. The farm loan waiver was a prime promise of the Congress to the farmers in assembly poll campaign that helped the party to bag 68 seats in a 90-member state assembly. The farm bank loan waiver announcement has been wide- ly hailed by farmers’ represen- tative bodies. Addressing the first ever press conference as chief min- ister, Baghel briefed media per- sons about the cabinet decisions and said that SIT probe will unravel conspiracy behind Jheeram valley massacre in which several Congress leaders were killed by Maoists includ- ing the then state Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, veter- an leader VC Shukla and trib- al leader Mahendra Karma. Baghel reiterated that his government would not carry on the politics of vendetta. He added that his Government would also contain unnecessary Government expenditure to boost fiscal health of the State. RNI Regn. No. CHHENG/2012/42718, Postal Reg. No. - RYP DN/34/2013-2015
Page 1: ˘ˇ - The Pioneer...˘ˇ ˘ ˇ ˆ ˙ ˝˛˚ ˜ ˙ ! " # ˝ " ˇ ˇ $ %&’( ˜˝ ) ˆ ˚ ˇ˛ ˆ ˙

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Two children were killedand three others injured

after a wall of a school build-ing collapsed on them in a vil-lage on Monday around 10 amat Khazan Singh KS PublicSchool, a private primaryschool in Salarpur village underSector 49 police station limits,police said.

Taking a serious note of theincident, Chief Minister YogiAdityanath has ordered anenquiry and directed officials ofGautam Budh Nagar district toensure proper treatment to theinjured.

According to eyewitness,children were playing when awall collapsed on them as a JCBcollided with the school wall.Five school students identifiedas Akash, Naitik, Reshu,Bhupendra and Vievek, whowere the victim, were rescuedfrom the debris and rushed toa nearby hospital whereBhupendra (10) and Vivek (8)were declared brought deadwhile Akash, Naitik and Reshuare being treated.

Senior Superintendent of

Police (SSP), Gautam BuddhNagar, Ajay Pal Sharma andDistrict Magistrate (DM)Brajesh Narain Singh met thefamilies of the victims andtook stock of the situation, offi-cials said.

It is understood the school

was being run a plot owned byone Amit Bhati. Police are try-ing to identify the people run-ning the school. A FirstInformation report has beenlodged at sector-49 police sta-tion and probe has beenlaunched, a police official said.

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Chinese investment in Indiais as low as US $5 billion,

but Chinese companies areexecuting projects of Indianentities pegged at a whopping$63 billion. A parliamentarypanel has pointed to this “pro-jects export” by China without“bringing any actual invest-ment” and pushed for animmediate stress on invest-ments by Chinese companies inIndia. The Committee has alsooutlined the security implica-tions of Chinese projects say-ing they should be examinedwith circumspection on a sec-toral basis. The trade deficitbetween the two countriesstand at nearly $52 billion.

“While cumulative Chineseinvestments in India are sub-stantially low at round $5 bil-

lion, the value of Indian pro-jects currently executed byChinese companies is estimat-ed to be as high as $63 billion.China is engaged in projectexports in India without bring-ing its own capital for invest-ment. Such a trend is nothealthy for the overall growthof Indian economy,” said theparliamentary committee onExternal Affairs, headed byCongress MP Shashi Tharoorin its report. The report wastabled in the Lok Sabha onMonday.

The Committee pointedout that trade deficit withChina is totally loaded againstIndia. The factors which isresponsible for this includenon tariff barriers imposed byChina to Indian goods and ser-vices, dumping of goods, lackof genuine investment profile

on the part of China, securityimperatives are some of theconcerns which India faces onthe matter.

In its report, theCommittee recommended thatIndia should persuade Chinesecompanies to bring moreinvestment into India ratherthan merely resorting to projectexports. “The continuously ris-

ing trade deficit which hasincreased to $52 billion in2016-17 and is at present $63billion is unsustainable andrequires concrete steps to betaken for redressal,” it said.

Foreign Secretary VijayGokhle, who appeared beforethe Committee, had submittedthat there has always been a dif-ference between the Indian

figures and the Chinese cus-toms statistics. “The Chinesecalculate the data on calendarbasis while India calculates onfinancial year basis. It is virtu-ally impossible to reconcilethe figures. As far as the IndianGovernment data is concernedin the three previous financialyears of 2014-15, 2015-16,2016-17, the deficit was $48.47billion, $52.69 billion and$51.09 billion. In each case, theChinese exports were around$60 billion and the Indianexports were in the range ofnine billion to $10 billion.According to the Chinese cus-toms statistics, in that sameperiod for 2014, 2015 and 2016calendar years, the deficit was$37 billion; $44 billion and $47billion,” the Foreign Secretaryhad submitted told theCommittee.

On the issue of Chineseease of entry to Indian marketsand project exports, theMinistry of External Affairssaid the value of projects cur-rently under execution is esti-mated to be $63 billion. Sowhile the cumulative Chineseinvestments in India are sub-stantially low which is about $5billion, the project exports aresubstantial and theGovernment’s effort has essen-tially been to persuade theChinese to invest into thecountry and not to utiliseIndian capital by bringing pro-jects into the country.

The Committee questionedas to why the Government hasnot been able to leverage withChina the fact of a massive $80billion market next door as tocompel it to bring some degreeof equity in the bilateral trade.

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Pakistan on Monday releasedIndian prisoner Hamid

Nihal Ansari, who wasdetained by the country’s intel-ligence agencies in 2012 andsubsequently sentenced tothree years’ imprisonment by amilitary court in 2015 for pos-sessing a fake Pakistani identi-ty card.

Ansari, a 33-year-oldMumbai resident, was lodgedin the Peshawar Central Jailafter being sentenced by themilitary court on December15, 2015. His three-year jailterm ended on December 15,2018 but he was not able toleave for India as his legal doc-uments were not ready.

On Thursday, thePeshawar High Court gavethe federal government amonth deadline to completehis repatriation process.

“Ansari is being releasedupon completion of his sen-tence and is being repatriatedto India,” Pakistan ForeignOffice SpokespersonMohammad Faisal said.

He claimed that Ansariwas an “Indian spy who had

illegally entered Pakistan andwas involved in anti-statecrimes and forging docu-ments.”

Ansari went missing afterhe was taken into custody byPakistani intelligence agen-cies and local police in Kohat in 2012 and finally inreply to a habeas corpus peti-tion filed by his mother, FauziaAnsari, the high court wasinformed that he was in cus-tody of the Pakistan Army andwas being tried by a militarycourt.

He entered Pakistan fromAfghanistan, reportedly tomeet a girl he had befriendedonline.

A two-judge PeshawarHigh Court bench, comprisingJustice Roohul Amin andJustice Qalandar Ali Khan,on Thursday heard an appealfiled by Ansari through hislawyer Qazi MuhammadAnwar.

Anwar informed thebench that both the Ministryof Interior and authorities ofprison, where he was lodged,were completely silent abouthis release and deportation toIndia.

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Senior IAS officer GauravDwivedi was appointed as

secretary to Chief Minister

Bhupesh Baghel on Monday,hours after he took oath as thethird Chief Minister ofChhattisgarh.

Taran Prakash Sinha, IAS,has been appointed as deputysecretary to the Chief Ministerand he would also hold chargeof Commissioner, PublicRelations.

Taman Singh Sonwani,who is presently theCommissioner, Surguja, hasbeen appointed as joint secre-tary to Chief Minister.

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Just two days after Congressleaders held a Press confer-

ence saying no CAG report onpricing of Rafale jets has beenshared with the PublicAccounts Committee (PAC),the CAG has sent a draftreport on Rafale deal to theMinistry of Defence for itscomment.

Highly placed sources saidthat the CAG has asked theMinistry of Defence to revertwithin four weeks on the draftreport. The draft report wassent to the Ministry of Defencetwo weeks ago. However, thereport is unlikely to be tabledin the ongoing Winter Sessionof the Parliament.

The controversy eruptedover the CAG report on Rafaleever since the Supreme Courtmentioned about this whilegiving clean chit to theGovernment.

The senior Congressleader Mallikarjun Kharge,who is the Public AccountsCommittee chairman, accusedthe Government of misleadingthe apex court. “TheGovernment lied in theSupreme Court that the CAGreport was presented in theHouse and in the PAC, andPAC has probed it. TheGovernment said in theSupreme Court that it (thereport) is in public domain.Where is it? Have you seen it?”Kharge, alleged.

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Seasoned Congress politi-cian Bhupesh Baghel was

on Monday sworn in as thethird Chief Minister ofChhattisgarh, bringing an endto 15-year rule of the BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) in the min-eral-rich state.

The two other Congressheavyweights in the state- TSSingh Deo and party's OBCcell national chairmanTamradhwaj Sahu also sworn-in as Ministers amid cheeringby thousands of enthusiasticparty supporters.

The swearing-in ceremo-ny was held at a jam-packedIndoor stadium in Raipur asthe authorities shifted thevenue from sprawling ScienceCollege ground due to inces-sant rain throughout the day.

Baghel, who representsPatan Assembly constituencyin Durg district, was admin-istered the oath of office andsecrecy by GovernorAnandiben Patel in the pres-ence of Congress PresidentRahul Gandhi, former PrimeMinister Manmohan Singhand BJP's Raman Singh amongother dignitaries here.

The f irebrand leaderBaghel is largely hailed as thearchitect of Congress' landslidevictory in the tribal-dominat- ed state where it won 68 seats in the 90-member Assembly.

A powerful leader of theOBC community, Baghel wasa Minister in Digvijay Singh'scabinet in undivided MadhyaPradesh and later became aMinister in Ajit Jogi's govern-ment after Chhattisgarh wascarved out of Madhya Pradeshon Nov 1, 2000.

Launching his politicalcareer as a students' leader inearly 1980s, Baghel was elect-ed to the undivided MadhyaPradesh Assembly for the firsttime in 1993. Baghel's toppolitical opponent Ajit Jogiwho had deserted the

Congress in 2016 to launch hisown outfit, skipped the swear-ing-in ceremony.

After the swearing-in cer-emony, Rahul Gandhi took totwitter to thank the people ofthe state and vowed to build a"new Chhattisgarh".

"We will work shoulder-to-shoulder to build a newChhattisgarh. Farmers, youthand women will have a specialclaim to this government,"said Gandhi expressing hisgratitude to party workers andleaders for the hard earnedvictory.

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Chief Minister BhupeshBaghel announced to waive

off farmers’ bank loans amount-ing to �6,100 crore. The min-imum support price(MSP) onpaddy has been hiked up to�2,500 per quintal. An SIT hasbeen formed to probe intoJheeram valley massacre ofCongress leaders in 2013.

Hours after he took oath asthe Chief Minister ofChhattisgarh, Baghel presidedover a Cabinet meeting anddecided to waive off farm loanwhich would benefit 16.65 lakhfarmers who were reelingunder steep debt.

The farm loan waiver wasa prime promise of theCongress to the farmers inassembly poll campaign that

helped the party to bag 68 seatsin a 90-member state assembly.The farm bank loan waiverannouncement has been wide-ly hailed by farmers’ represen-tative bodies.

Addressing the first everpress conference as chief min-ister, Baghel briefed media per-sons about the cabinet decisionsand said that SIT probe willunravel conspiracy behindJheeram valley massacre inwhich several Congress leaderswere killed by Maoists includ-ing the then state Congresschief Nandkumar Patel, veter-an leader VC Shukla and trib-al leader Mahendra Karma.

Baghel reiterated that hisgovernment would not carry onthe politics of vendetta. Headded that his Governmentwould also contain unnecessary

Government expenditure toboost fiscal health of the State.

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Page 2: ˘ˇ - The Pioneer...˘ˇ ˘ ˇ ˆ ˙ ˝˛˚ ˜ ˙ ! " # ˝ " ˇ ˇ $ %&’( ˜˝ ) ˆ ˚ ˇ˛ ˆ ˙

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has granted pro-tection from arrest to a news channel journalistwho had allegedly conducted a sting operationon four ruling Biju Janta Dal (BJD) MLAs inOdisha. A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud andMR Shah also sought response from the OdishaGovernment on the plea of journalist RaviSharma seeking anticipatory bail and challeng-ing the order of High Court dated December 5.

“Having regard to the above position and hav-ing due regard to all the facts and circumstances,we direct that there shall be a stay of arrest in themeantime,” the Bench said.

At the outset, advocate Rahul ShyamBhandari, appearing for Sharma contended thatthe journalist was wrongly framed in the casesince he had conducted the sting operation againstthe four MLAs of BJD.

He said there is no absolute bar for grant ofanticipatory bail in the case where allegedoffences are under the Scheduled Caste andScheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Sharma was booked in the complaint caselodged by MLA Bijay Naik of Karanjia con-stituency under various Sections of IPC and pro-visions under the Act. In 2016, a regional newschannel had aired a sting operation in which fourBJD MLAs — Seemarani Nayak (Hindol); SusantBehera (Chhendipada); Bijay Naik (Karanjia) andAnam Naik (Bhawanipatna) were seen demand-ing money from an industrialist in lieu of pro-viding him facilities for setting up industries inthe State. PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked theRajasthan Government to explain as to howsome videos of hate speech were uploaded onthe internet from Jodhpur jail premises byShambhu Lal Raigar, who is accused of hack-ing and burning alive a Muslim labourer fromWest Bengal.

The top court also sought response fromRaigar as to why he should not be transferredto Delhi’s Tihar jail or any other jail out ofRajasthan.

“Issue notice to the newly added respon-dent (Raigar), returnable on January 21, 2019.In the meantime, the State of Rajasthan shallfile its counter affidavit to these proceedings. The State shall, in particular,explain whether a video was uploaded fromwithin the jail premises by the newly addedrespondent and, if so, how that was possible,”said a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud andMR Shah.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearingfor Gulbahar Biwi, wife of the victim who wasallegedly killed by Raigar in on December 6 lastyear, said that the accused has been continu-ously uploading videos of hate speech on theInternet and should be transferred to Tihar jailor any other prison outside the State. PTI

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Union Cabinet on Mondayapproved increasing the allot-

ment of deposit free LPG connec-tions to poor under PM Ujjwalascheme, establishment of two newAIIMS hospitals in Madurai, TamilNadu, and Bibinagar in Telangana.Cabinet also approved a new four-lane 14 kilometre road bridge acrossriver Ganga in Patna in Bihar.

Cabinet Committee onEconomic Affairs (CCEA) chaired byPrime Minister Narendra Modiapproved expansion of beneficiarieslist under PM Ujjwala Yojana torelease deposit free LPG connectionsto poor families so far uncovered.This is subject to fulfilling eligibili-ty norms and furnishing requireddocuments, said Petroleum MinisterDharmendra Pradhan, whileaddressing media along with LawMinister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Pradhan said people in sevencategories are identified for thisallotment of deposit free LPG cylin-ders to poor. “SC/STs households,beneficiaries of Pradhan MantriAwasYojana (PMAY) (Gramin),Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY),

Forest dwellers, Most BackwardClasses (MBC), Tea & Ex-TeaGarden Tribes, people residing inIslands / river islands, whose namesdid not appear in the SECC Iist,” saidthe statement issued by Government.

Cabinet approved the project forconstruction of a 5.634-km long newfour lane bridge in Patna across riverGanga, just 38 metres on upstreamside of the existing MG Setu. Theconstruction period for the projectis three and a half years and likely tobe completed by January 2023.

“This mega project is 14.500-kmlong and passes through Patna,Saran and Vaishali districts of Bihar.The project includes 5634-metrelong major bridge parallel to theexisting old MG Setu, 4 number ofVehicular Underpasses (VUPs), oneRail Over Bridge (RoB), 1580-metrelong one viaduct, 110-metre long oneflyover, 4 minor bridges, 5 numbersbus shelters and 13 road junctions,”said the statement. Cabinet alsosanctioned establishment of twonew All India Institute of MedicalSciences (AIIMS) at Madurai, TamilNadu at a cost of Rs 1,264 crore andBibinagar, Telangana at a cost of Rs1,028 crore.

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The three-day-long annualDGP’s conference to be

hosted by the Union HomeMinistry will start onDecember 20 at the site of thetallest statue of SardarVallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat.Militancy in Jammu &Kashmir, cross-border terror-ism and attempts to radicalise youth will top theagenda of the conference inau-gurated by Prime MinisterNarendra Modi.

Issues like clashes due tocommunal tension, circulationof communally sensitive newsand pornographic materialsthrough social media are alsoexpected to be discussed at thethree-day meeting, a UnionHome Ministry official said.

The top police officers ofthe country will be closeted for multiple sessions of dis-cussions on issues concerningthe country, including militancy in Jammu andKashmir, cross-border terror-ism, attempts to radicaliseyouth, Naxal menace and thesituation in the Northeast, theofficial said.

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Prime Minister NarendraModi on Monday

announced $1.4 billion finan-cial assistance to Maldives afterhe held extensive talks with itsvisiting President IbrahimMohamed Solih.

During the talks, the twosides vowed to deepen securi-ty cooperation in the IndianOcean Region.

The two countries alsoinked four pacts, includingone on visa facilitation besidesagreeing on maritime cooper-ation. “We held successful talksin a cordial atmosphere. Wevowed to strengthen ties,” Modisaid in his press statement, withSolih by his side.

Modi also said the securi-ty interests of the two countrieswere intertwined and both sideswill work together to furtherstrengthen cooperation in theIndian Ocean Region.

“We will not allow ourcountries to be used for activ-ities which can be harmful toeach other’s interests,” Modiasserted.

The Prime Minister saidIndia is extending $1.4 billionas budget support, currencyswap and line of credit for thesocial and economic develop-ment of Maldives.

“We want greater tradeties with Maldives. There areincreasing opportunities for

Indian companies in the islandnation,” he said.

On his part, Solih said thetwo sides agreed to strengthenmaritime security cooperationin the Indian Ocean regionthrough coordinated patroland aerial surveillance.

Solih arrived here onSunday on a three-day statevisit, his first foreign trip afterassuming the charge of the topoffice in the island nation amonth ago.

Modi had attended Solih’sswearing-in ceremony onNovember 17.

Earlier, External AffairsMinister Sushma Swaraj calledon Solih and discussed issuesof bilateral and regional con-cern. Relations between Indiaand the Maldives plummetedafter then President AbdullaYameen imposed emergencyon February 5 this year.

India had criticised hisdecision and asked his gov-ernment to restore the credi-bility of the electoral and polit-ical process by releasing polit-ical prisoners. The emergencylasted for 45 days.

The two sides signedAgreements/MoUs/JointDeclaration of Intent duringthe visit like Agreement on theFacilitation of VisaArrangements, Memorandumof Understanding on CulturalCooperation and MoU forEstablishing Mutual

Cooperation to Improve theEcosystem for Agribusiness;

A Joint Declaration ofIntent on Cooperation in thefield of Information &Communications Technologyand Electronics was alsosigned.

The two sides also agreedto work together to createinstitutional linkages and toestablish a framework of coop-eration in the areas of health,particularly cancer treatment,Mutual Legal Assistance onCriminal Matters, Investmentpromotion, Human ResourceDevelopment and Tourism.

Solih is accompanied byhis wife First Lady Fazna Ahmedand a high level delegation com-prising of Minister of ForeignAffairs Abdulla Shahid, Ministerof Finance Ibrahim Ameer,Minister of National Planningand Infrastructure MohamedAslam, Minister of Transportand Civil Aviation AishathNahula, Minister of EconomicDevelopment Uz Fayyaz Ismail,senior government officials, anda business delegation.

In an important gesture,Solih is staying in theRashtrapati Bhawan as a specialguest of President Ram NathKovind. “This demonstratesthe close ties between India andthe Maldives, and the warmthand mutual respect betweenthe two Governments, a releaseissued by Government said.

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The Congress and BJP onMonday sparred over the

Rafale issue in both the Housesof the Parliament giving noticesof privileges against each otherin both the Houses for alleged-ly airing misleading statements.

The Congress gave noticesof breach of privilege in bothHouses of Parliament, demand-ing an explanation from theGovernment on why it pro-vided the Supreme Court“wrong” information on theRafale deal. The Congress gaveprivilege notices against theGovernment and law ministerRavi Shankar Prasad.

Soon the BJP also steppedup attack on Rahul Gandhiover the Rafale issue with threemembers of the ruling party inthe Lok Sabha moving a noticeof breach of privilege againstthe Congress president, alleg-

ing that he spoke “falsehood”and “misled the House” overthe fighter aircraft deal in hisspeech during a debate in July.

BJP MPs Anurag Thakur,Nishikant Dubey and SanjayJaiswal have sought actionagainst Congress president overhis speech during the debate onthe no-confidence motionagainst the Narendra ModiGovernment in Parliament’sMonsoon Session.

BJP has intensified its attackon Rahul following the lastweek’s Supreme Court verdictdismissing petitions seeking aprobe into alleged irregularitiesin the Rafale deal. The apexcourt had said there is no occa-sion to doubt the decision-mak-ing process in the procurementof 36 fighter jets from France.

Rahul has, however, stuckto his allegations of corruptionin the purchase and demand-ed a probe by a Joint

Parliamentary Committee(JPC). In their notice againstthe Congress leader, the BJPMPs quoted Rahul as sayingthat the UPA Government hadagreed to buy the aircraft at Rs520 crore per unit but when theBJP-led NDA Governmentsigned the deal, it cost Rs 1,600crores “by magic”.

“The above statement isentirely untrue... We categori-cally assert that the price com-parison given by Rahul Gandhiis a figment of imagination,incorrect and utter falsehood.It was an attempt to mislead theHouse,” they alleged in theirnotice. On the part of theCongress Leader of Oppositionin the Rajya Sabha GhulamNabi Azad sent the notice tothe chairman of the UpperHouse, Congress’ leader in theLok Sabha Mallikarjun KhargeKharge gave the notice in theLower House.

“I have given a breach ofprivilege notice against theGovernment and in particularagainst Law Minister RaviShankar Prasad as it was theLaw Ministry that gave the goahead for presenting the affi-davit before the SupremeCourt,” he said.

This is the first time that aGovernment has providedwrong information to theSupreme Court, he said.

“This is why our demandfor a Joint ParliamentaryCommittee (JPC) becomesmore relevant. We demandthat a JPC be formed to probethe theft in the Rafale deal,”Azad said.

“We have no faith in thisGovernment as it is misleadingthe Supreme Court by givingfalse information and is alsomisleading the people of thecountry,” he alleged.

The Congress, through its

notices, is demanding answersfrom the law minister on whythe government providedwrong information to theSupreme Court about the CAGreport on the Rafale pricingissue, he said.

Senior Congress leaderAnand Sharma alleged that theGovernment was guilty of com-mitting breach of privilege ofboth Houses of Parliament byclaiming that the CAG report onRafale aircraft pricing was pre-sented to the Public AccountsCommittee of Parliament.

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Shortly after the sentencing of SajjanKumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, the

Government and the BJP on Monday tar-geted the Congress, saying no one had anydoubt on the Opposition party’s role in theriots and alleged that the Congress and itsruling Gandhi family were involved in a“cover-up”.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also tooka swipe at the opposition party for choos-ing Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, claiming that Sikhs con-sider him “culpable” in the violenceagainst the community. And BJP president Amit Shah alleged Congress “leaders andworkers went on rampage raising provocative slogans” and “murdering menin cold blood”.

Jaitley dubbed Kumar, who was con-victed by the Delhi High Court in a 1984 riots case and sentenced him toimprisonment for life, a “symbol” of theanti-Sikh “genocide” and said the countryhad never seen murders on a bigger scalethan this.

The decision may be delayed but atleast the process of justice has started, hesaid, hoping that there will be more ver-dicts as many cases are being heard on a

day to day basis. “It is an irony that the ver-dict has come on a day when a Congresschief minister, who is held culpable by the Sikh community, is taking oath,”Jaitley told reporters in an apparent ref-erence to Nath.

Shah said victims of 1984 riots had lostall hope of justice because those respon-sible for crime against them enjoyedpolitical patronage of Congress leadership,Shah alleged in his tweets.

The Delhi High Court’s conviction ofSajjan Kumar has once again assured thevictims that criminals of 1984 will not goscot free, he asserted.

“No one ever had any doubt onCongress’ role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.Their leaders and workers went on ram-page raising provocative slogans, rapingwomen and murdering men in cold blood.Yet no one was ever punished despite mul-tiple commissions and several eyewit-nesses,” Shah said.

The BJP chief thanked Prime MinisterNarendra Modi for setting up an SIT in2015 which, he said, started re-investiga-tion into several cases of 1984 pending forover three decades.

“I am grateful to the court, which hasdelivered its judgment, bringing relief tothe traumatised families,” he added.

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The Lok Sabha on Mondaypassed a Bill seeking to

empower the transgender com-munity by providing them aseparate identity. TheTransgender Persons(Protection of Rights) Bill,2016, seeking to defineTransgenders and prohibit dis-crimination against them, wasintroduced in the Lok Sabhatwo years ago. It was passedwith 27 amendments amidprotests over the Rafale dealand Cauvery issue.

While their colleagues wereprotesting in the Well, fiveOpposition MPs, includingKakoli Ghosh Dastidar(Trinamool Congress) andBadaruddoza Khan (CPI-M),participated in the debate, ques-tioning the provisions of the leg-islation. The Opposition MPs,while participating in the debatereminded the Government thatthey are cooperating with thisbill due to its noble cause.

Presenting the importanceof the bill, Union Social Justice

and Empowerment MinisterThawar Chand Gehlot saidthe Bill was sent to the stand-ing committee and theGovernment has accepted 27amendments, requesting MPsto pass the Bill. Initiating thedebate on the Bill, Congressmember Shashi Tharoor saidthe bill was “flawed” and theminister should withdraw it.

“Defer consideration of thebill as it needs serious discus-sion. I request the minister towithdraw the Bill,” he said. Weneed to recognise Transgenders’identity” as it goes beyondmale and female, Tharoor said,adding the government has“blindly” borrowed the defini-tion of Transgenders. The Billalso fails to define discrimina-tion against Transgenders andthere is a need to redraft certainclauses,” he said.

Bartruhari Mahtab (BJD)said there was no clarity on theterm “self perceived genderidentity” and “how it will beenforced”. He said the defini-tion of Transgenders was notcomplete and that other terms

such as transmen andtranswomen were not defined.

Mahtab said there wereseveral laws in the country andit was not clear how theselaws, including the CompaniesAct would be applied to trans-genders. “Adequate attentionhas not been given in draftingthis Bill,” he maintained, addingthe government itself hasmoved 27 amendments.

Supriya Sule (NCP) said aTransgender commission atthe national level was notenough. “We are asking for awelfare board for Transgenders.They need equal rights,” shesaid, demanding a helplinenumber for the community.

The Minister said the objec-tives of the Bill includes pro-tecting interests of Transgenders,defining of the term‘Transgender’, to give themrecognition and setting up of anational Transgender council. “Along discussion has taken placeon this issue. It has also gone tothe parliamentary standing com-mittee. We have included sever-al of their suggestions,” he said.

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Like last year, this time too,Public Sector Units (PSUs)

and Central GovernmentDepartments have intriguing-ly drawn a blank in qualifyingin any category for the presti-gious National Award 2018,announced on InternationalDay of Persons with Disabilities(PwD) on December 3.

The award is given everyyear by the Union Ministry ofSocial Empowerment andJustice to individuals and insti-tutions working for the welfareof the PwDs.

A total 16 institutions and56 individuals from the privatesector and a few States wereconferred with the award at anevent held to mark the day.

There were three categorieswhere nominations weresought from the PSUs andGovernment Departments too.

However, the fact that noneof its departments andNavratnas (PSUs) could meetthe criteria to clinch the bestemployer award under the cat-egory ‘Award for theOutstanding Wok in theCreation of Barrier-FreeEnvironment for the Persons with Disabilities,’speaks volumes of the long waythe Modi Government has togo to meet the aspirations ofthe sector such as ensuringenough jobs and inclusiveenvironment.

The Government haslaunched mega IndiaAccessibility Campaign to cre-ate universal accessibility env-iron for the sector.

In private sector,Karnataka-based IBM baggedthe award under the category‘Award for the OutstandingWok in the Creation of Barrier-Free Environment for the

Persons with Disabilities.’From the private sector,

Radhambika S on behalf ofSivavasu Electronics fromThiruvananthapuram, Keralabagged the award under thesegment ‘Award for BestEmployers and PlacementOfficer or Agency’.

In fact Madhya Pradeshstole the show with its districtSingrauli, Indore and NagdaMunicipal Corporations walk-ing away with the award

Similarly, no PSU and gov-ernment department wasfound to be inspiring enoughto be felicitated under the ‘bestemployee or agency’ categoryeven as EmploymentDepartment of the NationalAssociation for Blind (NAB)and R Hari, GM HumanResources of the Lemon TreeHotels Ltd bagged the awardunder the segment.

Tripura-based Abhoy

Misson and Mata BhagwantiChadha Niketan, Uttar Pradeshand Montfort Centre forEducation, MEGHALAYAwere felicitated for providingholistic comprehensive services to the persons withdisabilities in a comprehensivemanner.

Award for the ‘Best Districtin Providing RehabilitationService’ went to Thiruvallur(Tamil Nadu) Lucknow (UttarPradesh) while ‘Best StateChannelizing Agency ofNational Handicapped Financeand Development Corporation’award was given to KeralaState Handicapped PersonsWelfare Corporation

On the occasion, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, whoconferred the award, said the sector needs empathyand not sympathy and theawardees serve as the rolemodel to others.

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The Government onMonday said the

Government was not dolingout funds to the private or pub-lic companies under the ‘Adopta Heritage: Apni Dharohar,Apni Pehchaan’, schemelaunched last year.

“No fund is given byMinistry of Tourism. The projectenvisages involvement of pri-vate/public companies /organi-sations and individuals to adoptmonuments, natural heritagesites and other tourist sites in thecountry, primarily under CSR,”said Minister of State (indepen-dent charge) for Culture, DrMahesh Sharma, in reply to aquestion in the Lok Sabha.

He said the scheme envis-ages development and mainte-nance of tourist amenities at her-itage sites and making themtourist friendly, to enhance

tourism potential and culturalimportance in a planned andphased manner. A political con-troversy had erupted in April thisyear after the news broke that theDalmia Bharat group signed anagreement with the Governmentto maintain Red Fort withOpposition accusing theGovernment of ‘handing overthe monument to private party.”

However, the Governmentsaid the project primarily focus-es on providing basic amenitiesthat include cleanliness, public

conveniences, safe drinkingwater, ease of access for tourists,signages, illumination, Wi-fietc. The MoU signed specifiesinstallation of one signage at themonument indicating thatmonument has been adopted byrespective firm/organisation,the Minister said.

He maintained that provid-ing basic facilities/amenities(e.g. drinking water, toilet blocks,facilities for physically chal-lenged, pathways, cultural noticeboards/signage, vehicle park-

ing, cloak rooms, etc.) to touristsvisiting centrally protected mon-uments and sites are the regularactivities undertaken by theArchaeological Survey of India.

Further, ArchaeologicalSurvey of India has identified100 monuments as “AdarshSmarak” for upgradation ofexisting facilities/amenities likeWi-Fi, cafeteria, interpretationcentre, brail signage, moderntoilets etc. on the basis of actu-al requirement and feasibilityon case to case basis.

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New Delhi: It took 13 roundsof diplomatic discussionsbetween India and China toresolve the face-off betweentheir militaries in Doklamlast year, according to a reportby a parliamentary panel.

The report by the com-mittee on External Affairstermed the Chinese intru-sion at Doklam as a “blatantbut unsuccessful attempt” tounilaterally change the statusquo at the India, Bhutan,China tri-junction in Doklam,seriously affecting India’ssecurity interests.

Complimenting the gov-ernment’s handling of the face-off, the committee said itremained concerned thatChinese infrastructure built“uncomfortably” close to thetri-junction has not yet beendismantled. The committee,headed by former Minister ofstate in External AffairsMinistry Shashi Tharoor, saidDoklam was not a sovereigntyissue for India as the disputedterritory was Bhutanese, butnevertheless it was major secu-rity challenge for New Delhi.

“The committee will liketo put on record their highestappreciation for the brave andtimely action of our securityforces which checked the PLA(Peoples Liberation Army)troops from continuing withtheir road construction activ-ity in South Doklam,” panelsaid in the report tabled inParliament on Monday. PTI

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Two flights arriving fromDelhi, and one flight each

from Shamshabad, Indore andMumbai were diverted fromRaipur due to bad weatherconditions in the city onMonday morning.

Most of the flights werediverted to Nagpur but laterlanded at Raipur after weath-er conditions improved.

As per AirportAuthorities, Indigo flightnumber 6E2757 from Delhi toRaipur was diverted to Nagpurat 8.16 am but it then returnedto Raipur at 11.16 am whenweather conditions improved.

Jet Airways flight number9W746 from Delhi to Raipurwas diverted to Nagpur at8.36 am and returned at 10.56am.

Indigo Flight Number6E384 from Shamshabad to

Raipur was diverted to Nagpurat 9.03 am and returned toRaipur at 11.31 am.

Indigo Flight Number6E811 from Indore to Raipurwas diverted to Shamshabad at09.06 am and it landed back atRaipur at 1.27 pm.

Similarly, Jet AirwaysFlight Number 9W377 fromMumbai to Raipur was divert-ed to Nagpur at 09.16 am andlanded back at 11.24 am.

As per weather depart-ment, cyclone ‘Pethai’ hasaffected Chhattisgarh regionwhich has resulted in rainfallin the capital and also otherparts of the state.

Jagdalpur recorded 21 mmof rain fall. Due to the cyclonicstorm ‘Pethai’ over Bay ofBengal off Andhra Coast, aforecast was made that lightrainfall over Raipur and otherparts of the state is likely tillMonday evening.

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Chief Minister BhupeshBaghel wore his trade-

mark outfit Kurta-Pyjama anda jacket during his swearing-in ceremony held at SardarBalbeer Singh Juneja IndoorStadium at Budhapara here onMonday.

Baghel after taking theoath greeted the distinguishedguests present on the dais and

waved at the legislators andpeople sitting in the auditori-um.

T S Singhdeo after beingadministered oath shookhands with distinguishedguests present and touched thefeet of veteran Congress leaderMotilal Vora and took bless-ings from him. TamradhwajSahu was the second person totake oath followed bySinghdeo.

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Newly-appointed State ChiefMinister Bhupesh Baghel

on Monday called up outgoingChief Minister Raman Singhand personally invited him forformer's swearing-in ceremo-ny which was scheduled atSardar Balbeer Singh JunejaIndoor Stadium in Raipur.

Singh along with his col-leagues — former Minister forAgriculture and Water

Resources BrijmohanAgrawal and former Speakerof Chhattisgarh Assembly

Gaurishankar Agrawal werealso invited for the ceremonyby Baghel.

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In the process of samplesurvey and data collection,

data accuracy and data qual-ity are two important factors.Scientific data collection isused by the policy makers forpreparing policy for differentsectors and different sectionsof our society, such as agri-culture, farmers, income, debtand investment, land and live-stock holdings etc., saidAshish Bhatt, Secretar y,Planning and Statistics,Government of Chhattisgarhon Monday.

He was addressing thefour-day State-level TrainingConference of 77th round ofSocio-Economic Survey organ-ised by National Sample SurveyOffice- NSSO (FieldOperations Division), Regionaloffice, Raipur here.

“Having accuracy andmaintaining quality in samplesurvey on data collectionprocess, it will certainly help-ful in effective data processingit will take less time as well,” headded.

Roshanlal Sahu, DeputyDirector General NSSO,Regional Office Raipur said

that for the first time, N.S.S.O.is also conducting “Time UseSurvey” Starting from January1, 2019 and ending onDecember 31, 2019, officials ofall offices of Chhattisgarh viz.Durg, Bilaspur, Ambikapurand Raipur will be impartedtraining.

On Debt and investment,the survey aims to study thedemand for credit from ruralfamilies and supply of credit bycredit agencies both institu-tional and non institutional, theresults of which will be used forformulation of banking poli-cies.”

“The survey on “Land andLivestock Holdings” ofHouseholds and situationAssessment of agriculturalhouseholds will also be con-ducted from January 1, 2019 toDecember 31, 2019 in ruralareas of the country.Information on situation ofagriculture households, use oftechnology in agriculture sys-tem, awareness regarding min-imum support price , techno-logical development and wel-fare programmes in agricul-tural sector will be collectedthrough this survey,” Sahuadded.


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BJP's dismal performance inChhattisgarh is shocking,

not surprising. They did notexpect they would get only 15seats, (recognition for 15 yearsof uninterrupted rule), an alltime low.

Worse, they polled 31 percent of valid votes against over46 per cent by the Congress, alltime high. They too would lis-ten to qualms of conscienceand they will ponder why 95per cen of Cabinet colleagues

of a visibly humble ChiefMinister Raman Singh lost.

Weeks before elections,all sections of people, includ-ing businessmen and indus-trialists, professors have beentelling me there was wave ofchange (pariwartan lahar),which the policy planners ofBJP too must have noticed.BKSRay, a retired IAS (1972)had repeatedly written" thecorrupt and anti-people gov-ernment is being thrown out".

The RSS led by SaudanSingh, had been active since

long, played an active role inselection of candidates to cam-paign. He had been staying atRaipur since 2003 electionsand got credit for subsequentvictories of the BJP. Weremember the Vanwasi KalyanKendra's were active in Bastar,RSS activists campaigned oncycles, the then union minis-ter of state for home campedin Bastar, central paramlitaryforces and Punjab police con-ducted polls when Gen KMSheth was Governor. Late BJPleader Dilip Singh Judeo had

his influence through gharwapsi movement. But.now,BJP lost miserably in Bastar(1/12), wiped out in Jashpur,Koriya, Raigarh, Surguja andeven in the plains of Raipur(1/12).

BJP Government wasdependent on certain sectionsof bureaucrats to run the gov-ernment and the party. Theyhave now become scapegoats.

Arrogance of unbridledPower, money was definitelyreflected in actions and talksof civil servants and ministers

of the polite Raman Singh.Massive mandate against BJPleads to end of 15 years longpolitical `Vanvas’ of Congress.

Former minister in BJPgovernment and state’s sea-soned politician BrijmohanAgarwal was right in admit-ting it was storm (Aandhi)against BJP.

(The writer is a seniorjournalist who worked in sev-eral states includingChhattisgarh. The viewsexpressed by him in the articleare his personal)

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Cutting across the partylines, Punjab’s politicians,

including Chief Minister CaptAmarinder Singh, on Mondayhailed the conviction of seniorCongress leader Sajjan Kumarin 1984 riots case.

Right from the leaders ofthe opposition parties, includ-ing SAD, BJP, and the AamAadmi Party (AAP), leadersfrom the ruling Congress toojoined them in welcoming theDelhi High Court’s verdictawarding life term to the for-mer Congress MP.

Saying that the “justicehas finally delivered to the vic-tims”, the Chief Minister CaptAmarinder Singh defendedthe Gandhi family reiteratingthat neither the Congress norGandhis were involved in theconspiracy, while lashing out

at the Badals for draggingtheir names.

“It is a case of justice final-ly delivered to the victims ofone of the worst instances ofcommunal violence in inde-pendent India. The reversal, bythe High Court, of the earlieracquittal of Sajjan by a trialcourt has once again provedthat the judiciary in Indiacontinues to stand tall as a pil-lar of the nation’s democraticsystem,” said the ChiefMinister.

Capt Amarinder said thatthe conviction vindicated thestand he had been taking sincethose dark days of the violenceperpetrated on thousands ofinnocent Sikhs in the wake ofthe assassination of formerPrime Minister Indira Gandhi.

“I have been namingSajjan Kumar, along with a fewother former Congress leaders

including Dharam Das Shastri,HKL Bhagat and Arjun Das,for the past 34 years, based onthe information I had person-ally received from the victimsin refugee camps in Delhiduring the riots,” said CaptAmarinder, hailing the long-awaited verdict.

Incidentally, Sajjan Kumarwas the only surviving formerCongress leaders implicated inthe riots, as the others hadsince passed away.

“The name of SajjanKumar has repeatedly croppedup in my interactions with thevictims in the refugee camps”,said Capt Amarinder, whohad last month also welcomedthe first death sentence award-ed in the 1984 riots case.

Capt Amarinder had,through the years, been calling

for the strictest of punishmentfor the handful of individualCongress leaders who hadbeen involved in instigatingthe riots. “These leaders, whoincluded Sajjan Kumar, did nothave any official party sanctionand deserved to be punishedfor their horrendous crime,” hemaintained.

Reiterating his stand thatneither the Congress partynor the Gandhi family had anyrole to play in the rioting, CaptAmarinder lashed out at theBadals for continuing to dragtheir names into the case at thebehest of their political mas-ters – the Bharatiya JanataParty, who were clearly shak-en by the clear mandate givenby the people to RahulGandhi’s leadership in therecent Assembly elections in

three states.“There was no Congress

conspiracy behind the vio-lence and the names of theGandhis did not come upeven once during his visits tothe refugee camps,” he saidadding that it was vested polit-ical interests that had been try-ing to draw the Gandhi fami-ly into the controversy and theconspiracy for their personalmotivations.

Also welcoming the ver-dict, Punjab Congress presi-dent and Gurdaspur MP SunilJakhar said that the party hasbeen clear that whoever wasinvolved in the riots should bebrought to justice.

“Yes, justice has beendelayed but delivered finally.Nobody is above law and any-one who is involved in such aheinous crime should bebrought to justice,” he said out-side the Parliament.

Jakhar said that Congressleader Kamal Nath's namenever figured in the list ofthose involved in the riots.

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SAD MP from Bathindaand the Union FoodProcessing Minister HarsimratKaur Badal on Mondaydemanded action against theGandhi family for extendingpolitical patronage to the per-petrators of 1984 Sikh mas-sacres.

At the same time, sheasked the Congress nationalpresident Rahul Gandhi totell why he lied that theCongress was not involved inthe genocide. Thanking “GuruSahab” for the verdict,Harsimrat said that it wasalso made possible due toPrime Minister NarendraModi’s decision to reopen oldcases which had been closedby the Congress and constitu-tion of a SIT to investigatethem afresh.

“Not only Sajjan, but theentire Congress party has beenplaced in a dock due to theverdict...Now the courts havealso made it clear that justicewas denied to the 1984 victimsdue to political patronage,”she said.

Harsimrat, along with for-mer ministers Bikram Majithiaand Daljeet Singh Cheema,said that action should now betaken against the UPA chair-person Sonia Gandhi whoshould be questioned abouther role as accomplice of for-mer Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 massacres. “Similarly, RahulGandhi should also tell thepeople why he lied some months back that theCongress party did not haveany role in the 1984 genocide,”she added.

Asserting that today’s ver-dict against Sajjan gave hopeto the victims, she said: “I am

hopeful that Jagdish Tytlerand Kamal Nath will alsomeet the same fate soon”. Shealso castigated the Congressfor continuing to patronizeKamal Nath by nominatinghim as the Chief Minister ofMadhya Pradesh.

Majithia said that it wasunfortunate that Sajjan wasdefended in the court by AmitSibal, who is the son of seniorCongresssman and formerUnion Minister Kapil Sibal.“This apparently can happenonly due to personal inter-vention of the Gandhi family,”he said. Cheema said that itwas his personal opinion thatnow that the courts hadaccused the Congress party ofpatronizing the accused, theElection Commission shouldderecognize the party imme-diately.

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Haling Sajjan Kumar’sconviction and appreciatingthe efforts made by AAPleader and senior lawyer HSPhoolka for the same, theLeader of Opposition inPunjab Vidhan Sabha HarpalSingh Cheema on Mondaysaid that even though it takesvery long time to deliver jus-t ice to the vict im families, “the decision is sat-isfactory”.

“It is the outcome ofPhoolka’s struggle of 34 yearsthat those responsible forkilling innocent Sikhs have tofeel the heat,” said Cheema.

Cheema said that thejourney to justice was longand tiring as even after for-mation of seven commissions,the culprits were roamingfreely. “Had 1984 riot culpritsgiven punishments at an earlystage, the religion or castebased riots happened afterthat could have been avoided,”he said

Cheema demanded thatthe cases related to peoplewith political backgroundmust be taken on prioritybasis so that they cannot besaved by their political boss-es using power.

Criticizing Congress, BJPand Akali Dal for protectingthe culprits, Cheema said thatthey were provided security bythe government despite theirnames figured in the FIR.“The other leaders ofCongress and BJP, who areresponsible for 1984 riots,must also put behind bars,” hesaid.

Cheema, criticizing seniorCongress leader SalmanKhurshid for his statementthat the party will challengethe decision in SupremeCourt, said that rather thansacking such leaders, theCongress is still patronizingthem.

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Union Minister of State,Jitindra Singh on Monday

alleged that by making Rafaeldeal’s discussion public,Congress has put matters ofcountry’s national security atrisk. The matters of nationalsecurity should never be atopic of public debate. ThePrime Minister NarendraModi’s formidable leadershiphas frustrated Congress andthey are engaging in such inac-

curate, baseless and illogicalaccusations against the gov-ernment, said Singh while talk-ing to the mediapersons here.

Chandigarh State PresidentSanjay Tandon was also presenton the occasion. Singh said, theCongress party filed four peti-tions in the Supreme Courtregarding this matter allegingirregularities on three issues –pricing, procedure and offsetpartner. The Supreme Courtafter hearing and scrutinizingthe documents has set aside all

petitions. The Court notedthat all set standards and pro-cedures were followed by thegovernment, the Minister saidwhile condemning theCongress for their allegations inRafael deal. The SupremeCourt has upheld that the pro-curement procedure carriedout was independent, trans-parent with no scope or solidbasis to doubt this agreementvindicating the government ofall charges of irregularities inthe deal, he added.

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Aday after Delhi ChiefMinister and Aam Aadmi

Party convener Arvind Kejriwalattacked the BJP led HaryanaGovernment for not improvinghealth and education services inthe state, Haryana HealthMinister Anil Vij on Monday hitback saying that DelhiGovernment cannot competeeven in dreams, with the achieve-ments made and works done in

the health sector in Haryana“During the regime of pre-

sent State Government, underNational Rural Health Mission,the remaining construction workof buildings of 21 CommunityHealth Centres (CHCs), 77Primary Health Centres (PHCs)and 216 Sub Health Centres(SHCs) has been completed inHaryana,” claimed Anil Vij.

Besides, new buildings of 13hospitals, 14 CHC, 26 PHC and37 SHCs have been constructed

and about 30 buildings have beenrepaired. Apart from this, sixhospitals, 14 CHC and 5 PHChave been upgraded, he added.

Vij was responding to thestatements made by ArvindKejriwal in Kaithal and Sonipatduring his rallies in the past twodays.

The Health Minister saidthat Kejriwal must tell howmany new hospitals have beenconstructed in Delhi by AAPgovernment in his over three

year’s regime. Kejriwal just wantsto do politics of lie and deceit, healleged. Eyeing 2019 polls, theAAP is hard selling its DelhiGovernment’s achievements inthe field of education and healthsectors to the voters of Haryana.AAP has announced to contestLok Sabha and assembly polls inHaryana next year.

Attacking Kejriwal on theissue of Sutlej Yamuna Linkcanal, Vij said that before visit-ing the state, Kejriwal must clar-

ify his stand on SYL canal thatwhether he is in favour of givingSYL canal water to Haryana ornot?

“Kejriwal is playing withthe sentiments of people ofHaryana. By reaching Punjab, headvocates the people not to giveSYL water to Haryana, whereashe tries misleading the people ofHaryana on other issues. Thepeople of the state must askKejriwal, what is his stand onSYL?,” Vij added.

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Expressing deep grief overthe death of three employ-

ees of South Eastern CoalfieldsLimited in a mishap thatoccurred at Bagdeva coal minesin Korba district, newly-appointed Chief MinisterBhupesh Baghel on Mondaydirected officials to ensure allpossible assistance to the fam-ilies of thwe deceased. Themishap occurred due to dis-charge of a poisonous gas in the

underground mine.One Mining Sardar

Laxmikant and two carriers losttheir life in the mishap. Two ofthe employees are in criticalcondition and have beenreferred to Bilaspur for furthertreatment.

The rescue team hadrushed to the spot after inci-

dent was reported. Senior offi-cials of SECL and Police werealso busy with the rescueefforts. The Chief Ministertook details from KorbaDistrict Collector and directedto provide all assistance to theaffected and expressed his deepcondolences to the grievingfamilies.

He also directed the districtadministration to provideimmediate relief of �75,000each to the family of thedeceased.

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Chief Minister BhupeshBaghel on Monday extend-

ed hearty greetings to the peo-ple of the state on the eve ofGuru Ghasidas Jayanti onTuesday (December 18).

In his message Baghel said,“Guru Baba Ghasidas Ji wasone of the gems of‘Chhattisgarh Mahtari’ and‘Mother India’, who lived his lifeon highest values of truth,non-violence, compassion,mercy and charity, inspiring thecountry as well as the world tofollow the path of humanity.”

“His teachings are relevant

even today. Our Government iscommitted to follow the foot-steps of Guru Baba Ghasidas,while realizing the vision ofNew Chhattisgarh,” he said.

The Chief Minister said,“Birthplace of Guru BabaGhasidas, ‘Girodpuri Dham’ isone of the most sacred pil-grimage spots of the country.”

Baghel said that thethoughts and teachings of GuruBaba Ghasidas are beneficialand relevant to every humanbeing. On the occasion, theChief Minister wished forpeace, prosperity and progressin lives of people ofChhattisgarh.

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Haryana Chief MinisterManohar Lal has accord-

ed approval to the proposal ofestablishing a 95 kilometersnew rail line from Panipat toAsaoti in Palwal via Rohtak-Jhajjar-Farukhnagar-Patli-Manesar-Sohna rail routebypassing Delhi.

This new rail line wouldbe developed by the newly set

up Haryana Rail InfrastructureDevelopment Corporation(HRIDC), said an officialspokesman.

He said that this new routewould provide direct connec-tivity for Faridabad,Ballabhgarh, Palwal, Sohnaand Gurugram with other dis-tricts of Haryana andChandigarh and thus facilitatefast passenger connectivity(avoiding Delhi) to all the

important places includingthe capital of the state and run-ning of Shatabdi like trainsfrom Gurugram toChandigarh.

This would decongestDelhi rail network andimmensely beneficial to theNational Capital Region froman environment point of viewby reducing the high density ofboth passenger and goodstraffic in Delhi, he said.

The spokesman also saidthat the passage of rail networkof Gurugram, Faridabad,Ballabhgarh and Palwal areathorough Delhi is a majorbottleneck in its industrialgrowth. The proposed newline would, thus, open up anew era of development ofstate’s economy.

While divulging detailsabout the new rail line, he saidthat the major part of the route

already exists on IndianRailway network and onlymissing links would berequired to be provided. Theroute from Panipat to Jhajjarvia Rohtak already exists.Jhajjar could be connected toalready existing station atFarukhnagar through a newRailway line of about 30Kilometers, the spokesmansaid.

He further said that while

Farukhnagar to Garhi Harsaruand Garhi Harsaru to Patli areexisting Railway lines, Patli toAsaoti new railway line viaManesar and Sohna, of about60 Km length, would berequired to be constructed. Inaddition, provision of Y-con-nections would be made atGarhi Harsaru, Patli andAsaoti Railway Stations.

The spokesman said thatthe development of this route

is likely to give rise to newGreenfield Projects of MultiModal Logistic Parks(MMLPs) in this region by theCONCOR or other players.This route would also facilitatedirect connectivity (avoidingDelhi) for the major CON-COR depot at Tughlakabad tovarious important destina-tions in Haryana, Punjab andRajasthan and Gujarat states,he said.

Besides, this would alsogive connectivity to the DFCat Asaoti which would facili-tate traffic inflow/outflowfrom the entire Haryana Stateto Dedicated Freight CorridorCorporation of India (DFC-CIL). Thus, the Public SectorUndertakings like CONCOR,DFCCIL and HSIIDC couldalso be incorporated as part-ners with the HRIDC, headded.

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The flight of the stuffed blackpartridge from across the

border has landed PunjabCabinet Minister Navjot SinghSidhu in another controversy.

Brought with love for hisChief Minister Capt AmarinderSingh from Pakistan, the ‘tittar’from Pakistan has virtually putSidhu in dock as the AnimalWelfare Board of India (AWBI)has sought within three days onalleged violation of animal wel-fare rules by the former crick-eter.

The Board chairman SPGupta has written to theDirector General of Forests,Additional Director General(WL), and the Chief Wild Life

Warden on the issue askingthem “to submit a report with-in three days for necessaryaction, if any offence is com-mitted under the Prevention ofCruelty to Animals Act, 1960,or the rules made there-under”.

The decision came after theBoard took cognizance ofreports claiming that Sidhu hasbrought the bird which is pro-

tected under the Wild LifeProtection Act.

Citing rules, the Boardunderlined that it is illegal orprohibited to keep nails, hair,skin of any animal or its bring-ing into the territory of Indiawithout permission.

The Animal Welfare Boardis a statutory body establishedunder Section 4 of the

Prevention of Cruelty toAnimals Act, 1960, and itsmain aim is the promotion ofanimal welfare, generally for thepurpose of prevention of crueltyand for protecting animals frombeing subject to unnecessarypain or suffering, in particular.

Notably, in his first meetingwith Capt Amarinder after con-troversy over his “captain”remark and Pakistan visit forKartarpur ground-breaking cer-emony, Sidhu had gifted thestuffed partridge to the ChiefMinister which he denied toaccept citing wildlife permis-sion. It has been learnt that theChief Minister’s office had sentthe stuffed bird to the wildlifedepartment asking if it couldkeep it.

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Chennai: TheMadras High Courton Monday bannedthe sale of medicinesonline till the centralgovernment notifiesthe regulations.

The court set January 31,2019 as the deadline for thecentral government to notifythe rules.

The court passed the orderon a plea by the Tamil NaduChemists and DruggistsAssociation. According to theAssociation, online purchasesmay be convenient but thereexists the risk of unlicensedonline outlets sellingfake/expired/unapproved med-

icines.Reacting to the

court order PradeepDadha, Founderand CEO,Netmeds.com, said,"We would be filing

an appeal and taking therequired recourse availableunder the law. The benefits ofaffordable and accessible med-icines through our serviceshave been appreciated by cus-tomers across the country, andas a fully licensed pharmacy,Netmeds.com is committed toadhering to all the guidelinesand standards as prescribedunder the Drugs and CosmeticAct of 1940."

Chandigarh: In afirst, experimen-tal test pilots andtest engineer ofthe Indian AirForce (IAF) flewan An-32 militarytransport aircraftusing blended bio-jet fuel.

The sortie was flown atChandigarh on Monday morn-ing.

The project is a combinedeffort of IAF, the DefenceResearch and DevelopmentOrganisation (DRDO), theDirectorate GeneralAeronautical QualityAssurance (DGAQA) andCSIR-Indian Institute of

Petroleum."The IAF carried

out extensive enginetests on the ground.This is now followedby flight trials using10 per cent bio-jetblended ATF. This

fuel is made from Jatropha oilsourced from ChattisgarhBiodiesel DevelopmentAuthority (CBDA) and thenprocessed at CSIR-IIP,Dehradun," the IAF said in astatement.

IAF intends to fly the An-32 transport aircraft using bio-jet fuel on 26 January 26, 2019at the Republic Day flypast.


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Eyeing 2019 polls, theINLD-BSP combine on

Monday began the thirdphase of “Jan Adhikaar Yatra”from Ellenabad assembly con-stituency in Sirsa.

Leader of opposition andINLD’s senior leader AbhayChautala, who is also MLAfrom Ellenabad promised togive one government in eachhousehold and unemploy-ment allowance of Rs 15000to educated, if the INLD-BSP comes to power inHaryana.

While addressing the peo-ple on the occasion, he

demanded construction ofSYL canal, Dadupur NalviIrrigation project, Mewatcanal, debt waiver for farmersand implementation ofSwaminathan report.

Chautala also attackedthe Haryana Governmentover the issues of its employees.

The BJP Government hasan anti-employee attitude and

has failed to resolve theirproblems, he alleged.

He added that the “JanAdhikaar Yatra” will contin-ue till the State Governmentaccepts our demands.

The yatra wil l reachTosham on December 18,Safidon on Dec 20, Hodal-Punhana on Dec 21 andNarnaul on Dec 22, Chautalasaid.

The yatra wil l coverKharkhoda-Bahadurgarh onDecember 26, Mahendragarh-Dadri on Dec 27, Meham-Narnaud on Dec 28, BawaniKhera-Nalwa on Dec 29 andKalayat-Asandh on December30.

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*��� 14-24-

Prime Minister Theresa Maywill on Monday warn MPs

against supporting a secondBrexit referendum, as callsmount for a public vote tobreak the political impasseover the deal she has struckwith the EU.

“Let us not break faithwith the British people by try-ing to stage another referen-dum,” she will tell parliament,according to extracts from herspeech released by DowningStreet.

“Anther vote... Would doirreparable damage to theintegrity of our politics,” Maywill say, adding that a secondvote “would likely leave us nofurther forward”.

Britain voted to leave theEuropean Union in a shock ref-erendum in 2016 and is set toleave on March 29 next year,although the prime minister isstruggling to persuade parlia-ment to accept a divorce agree-ment she struck last month.

May has said she isengaged in talks with the EU toseek “assurances” about theBrexit deal, but EuropeanCommission spokesmanMargaritis Schinas on Mondaysaid “no further meetings withthe United Kingdom are fore-seen”.

The draft deal was agreedonly after tortuous talks inBrussels that began in Marchlast year and EU leaders haveruled out any renegotiation,while the British economy hasbeen languishing due to uncer-tainty over Brexit.

May last week survived aconfidence vote initiated by

members of her ownConservative Party because ofher Brexit strategy, but she isbadly weakened after a third ofher parliamentary party votedto be rid of her.

In the face of calls for asecond referendum to resolvethe impasse, she has arguedthat this would betray the 2016result and undermine publicconfidence in politics.

The issue provoked anextraordinary public clash onSunday between May and for-mer prime minister Tony Blair,a leading supporter of contin-ued EU membership and hold-ing another poll.

May accused Blair ofinsulting voters and trying toundermine her government bymeeting officials in Brussels.

Blair, who was premierbetween 1997 and 2007, in turnaccused the Conservativeleader of being “irresponsi-ble”.

But campaigners for a ref-erendum said May’s commentson Monday showed that theidea was being taken serious-ly.

“A new public vote would

be different from the referen-dum in 2016 because we nowknow more about what Brexitmeans,” said Margaret Beckett,an MP from the main opposi-tion Labour Party and “People’sVote” supporter.

“Any effort to force Brexitover the line without checkingthat it has the continued con-sent of the British people willonly reinforce divisions,” shesaid.

May has delayed a crucialvote by MPs on the draft Brexitdeal until next month, leavingthe political scene in limbo.

If parliament fails toapprove the text, Britain couldcrash out of the EU regardless-- a prospect that experts warncould lead to serious tradedisruption and trigger a finan-cial crisis.

Dozens of MPs from allsides support a second refer-endum and there have beenreports that officials are con-sidering the possibility of giv-ing the public a vote.

Another proposal beingput forward if May’s deal doesnot pass parliament is for MPsto hold indicative votes on dif-

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Dutch Prime Minister MarkRutte warned the

Netherlands on Mondayagainst emulating the “chaos”and division of Britain’s deci-sion to leave the EuropeanUnion.

“I compare theNetherlands to a fragile vase,held by its 17 million citizens,”Rutte said in a full-page advert,printed in the popular dailytabloid Algemeen Dagblad.

In order to preserve this‘vase’, “compromises often haveto be made in which difficultproblems are solved in a sen-sible way,” he said.

But Rutte, who has beenDutch premier since 2010 andcurrently leads a shaky coali-tion government, said there areexamples in society “wherethe vase has been dropped.”

“Look at Great Britain.There, its politicians and itspeople have forgotten whatthey’ve reached together,” Ruttesaid.

“Now they are caught up inchaos,” he said.

Rutte was the first stop onBritish Prime Minister TheresaMay’s unsuccessful tour to seekassurances for a Brexit dealfrom EU leaders last week.

The Dutch premier wasone of several leaders defend-ing her afterwards at a summitin Brussels -- or at least in com-ments he made in English.

In Dutch, however hewarned at the summit againstany move to take theNetherlands out of the EU, say-ing ‘If anyone in the

Netherlands thinks Nexit is agood idea, look at England andsee the enormous damage itdoes.”

The Netherlands has beenanxiously watching develop-ments in Britain, a key tradingpartner and one-time ally onmany European matters, as itprepares to leave the EU onMarch 29, 2019.

Rutte himself originallyinvited May’s predecessorDavid Cameron to Amsterdamgive the fateful speech leadingto the 2016 referendum that ledto Brexit, although it ended upbeing postponed and shifted toLondon. Observers sayMonday’s advert is the start ofRutte’s campaign for his LiberalVVD party in the run-up toEuropean parliament andDutch provincial elections nextyear.

Known for his upbeat char-acter and his man-of-the-peo-ple habit of riding his bicycle towork, Rutte “wants to beat hisopponents with positivity andoptimism,” the NOS publicbroadcaster said.

Rutte also warned aboutthose creating division in theNetherlands — compared themto “screaming football dadson sidelines”. He referred torecent demonstrations for andagainst Black Pete, or “ZwartePiet”, a blackface Christmas-time character accused of beinga racist stereotype.

“People were so busyshouting for and against ZwartePiet that they forgot about thechildren,” for whom Rutte saidthe early December festival isorganised.

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Acity in northern China hasbanned Christmas sales

and decorations to keep the cityclean for an upcoming awardfunction.

The authorities inLangfang, however, clarifiedthe move is not targeted atChristmas.

An officially atheist coun-try, China dissuades its peoplefrom celebrating Christmas,calling it a Western religiousculture which has a wronginfluence on its youth.

Christianity is one of thefive recognised religions inChina.

The Urban ManagementBureau of Langfang in northChina’s Hebei province issueda notice on Sunday that bansChristmas trees on streets, theChinese state media reported.

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The US military says it hascarried out six airstrikes in

the Gandarshe area of Somaliawhich killed a total of 62 al-Shabab extremist rebels.

In a statement issuedMonday, the US military’sAfrica Command said it car-ried out four strikes onDecember 15 in which 34 peo-ple were killed and two moreon December 16 which killed28.

All the air attacks were inthe Gandarshe coastal areasouth of the capital,Mogadishu, it said.

No civilians were injured orkilled in the attacks, it said.

All six strikes were carriedout in close coordination withSomalia’s government, it said.

The airstrikes were “con-ducted to prevent al-Shababfrom using remote areas as asafe haven to plot, direct,inspire, and recruit for futureattacks,” it said.

Al-Shabab uses parts ofsouthern and central Somaliato plot and direct extremistattacks, steal humanitarian aid,extort the local populace tofund its operations, and shelterradicals, said the statement.

With these attacks, the U.S.Military has carried out atleast 46 airstrikes so far thisyear against al-Shabab, whichis allied to al-Qaida and Africa’smost active Islamic extremistgroup. Al Shabab controls partsof rural southern and centralSomalia and continues to stagedeadly attacks in Mogadishuand other cities.

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Pushing the Government tothe brink of a partial shut-

down, the White House isinsisting that Congress provide$5 billion to build a wall alongthe U.S.-Mexico border despitelawmaker resistance from bothparties. Without a resolution,parts of the federal governmentwill shut down at midnightFriday. President DonaldTrump kept up the pressure onDemocrats Monday, tweeting:“Time for us to save billions ofdollars a year and have, at thesame time, far greater safetyand control!”

On Sunday, White Housesenior adviser Stephen Millersaid: “We’re going to do what-ever is necessary to build theborder wall to stop this ongoingcrisis of illegal immigration.”

Asked if that meant havinga government shutdown, he

said: “If it comes to it, absolute-ly.”

Trump said last week hewould be “proud” to have ashutdown to get Congress toapprove a $5 billion down pay-ment to fulfill his campaignpromise to build a border wall.But the president doesn’t havethe votes from the Republican-controlled Congress to supportfunding for the wall at that level.

Both major political partiesin Congress have suggestedthat Trump would likely needto make the next move toresolve the impasse. The Houseis taking an extended weekendbreak, returning Wednesdaynight. The Senate returnsMonday after a three-dayabsence. The Democratic con-gressional leaders, Sen. ChuckSchumer and Rep. NancyPelosi, have proposed no morethan $1.6 billion, as outlined ina bipartisan Senate bill.

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Exposing Pakistan PrimeMinister Imran Khan’s seri-

ousness on combating terror-ism, his junior interior minis-ter has vowed to “protect”Mumbai attack mastermindHafiz Saeed and his party in aleaked video.

The leaked video showedMinister of State for InteriorShehryar Afridi talking to theMilli Muslim League (MML)leaders and when his attentionwas drawn towards non-regis-tration of Saeed’s party by theElection Commission (ECP) asa political party due to the USpressure and the ECP’s plan todeclare it a terrorist organisa-tion, the minister said: “We willnot let this happen.”

“As long as we (thePakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) arein the government all thoseincluding Hafiz Saeed who areraising voice for Pakistan andrighteousness, we are withthem,” Afridi said, adding “thisis our belief.”

“I request you to come tothe National Assembly and seewhether we are supportingthose who on the right path ornot,” he told them.

Saeed was declared a glob-al terrorist by the US and theUN after the 2008 Mumbai

attack and was put under housearrest in November 2008 butfreed by a court some monthslater. He carries a USD 10 mil-lion American bounty on hishead for his role in terroractivities. India has beendemanding Pakistan not onlyto arrest the LeT founder andtry him in the Mumbai attackcase but also punish all thoseinvolved in this carnage.

In the leaked video, anMML leader said the highcourt ordered the ECP to reg-ister the MML as a politicalparty but the top election bodysaid that it had come to knowthat the US had declared MMLa terrorist organisation.

On this, the ministerassured that “this will not hap-pen in the Imran Khan’s gov-ernment.”

Saeed launched the MMLin August 2017 with a so-called mission to implementthe ideology of Pakistan inaccordance with the 1973Constitution.

In April, the US placed theMML on its list of foreign ter-ror organisations for its linkswith the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The interior ministry hadwritten to the ECP recom-mending not to register theMML as it is an off-shoot ofSaeed’s Jamat-ud Dawah.

Colombo: Sri Lankan PrimeMinister Ranil Wickremesinghe,who was recently reinstated asthe premier by PresidentMaithripala Sirisena, saidMonday he would register a newpolitical alliance ‘NationalDemocratic Front’ (NDF) tocontest future elections.

Addressing his first rally ofUnited National Party (UNP)supporters after his re-appoint-ment, Wickremesinghe saidthat Parliament can vote withtwo-thirds to hold elections.

“We are currently workingon forming the NationalDemocratic Front (NDF) toface the next election,” he said.

“We are ready to hold elec-tions constitutionally,”Wickremesinghe said.

Wickremesinghe said abol-ishing the executive Presidencyand bringing about a politicalsolution will be part of theagenda of his new Govt.

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AKremlin-backed candidatehas won a key governor-

ship election in Russia’s Far Eastbut critics denounced the voteas a fraud after a popularopposition figure was notallowed to run.

An electoral crisis eruptedin the Far Eastern region ofPrimorsky Krai in Septemberwhen opposition protests andclaims of widespread irregu-larities in favour of a candidatebacked by President VladimirPutin forced officials to ordera re-run of the vote.

During the new guberna-torial poll held on Sunday, act-ing governor OlegKozhemyako — backed by the

Kremlin -- took 61.88 per centof the vote, final results showed.

His closest rival, AndreiAndreichenko of the national-ist LDPR party, took 25 percent.

It was the first time inmodern Russia an election wasre-run after protests over vote-rigging allegations.

A popular opposition can-didate, the Communist Party’sAndrei Ishchenko, who hadaccused a ruling party repre-sentative endorsed by Putin of“stealing” his victory in the ini-tial election, was not allowed tostand on Sunday.

Authorities said he did notreceive the required number ofsignatures from local lawmakers.

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The use of armed drones inthe Middle East, driven

largely by sales from China, hasgrown significantly in the pastfew years with an increasingnumber of countries and otherparties using them in regionalconflicts to lethal effects, anew report said Monday.

The report by the RoyalUnited Services Institute, orRUSI, found that more andmore Mideast countries haveacquired armed drones, eitherby importing them, such asJordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia andthe United Arab Emirates, orby building them domestical-ly like Israel, Iran and Turkey.

China has won sales in theMiddle East and elsewhere byoffering drones — otherwiseknown as UAVs or unmannedaerial vehicles — at lower pricesand without the political con-ditions attached by the UnitedStates.

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Duchess of Sussex MeghanMarkle’s estranged father

Thomas on Monday pleadedwith his daughter to stop“ghosting” him and get in touchwith him over Christmas.

Thomas, who has not spo-ken to the new member of theBritish royal family since shegot married to Prince Harry ina grand ceremony at WindsorCastle in May this year, said hehad been texting his daughter

every day and writing letters toher but she has been “ghosting”him – a term used when some-one ends all communicationwith another person.

“I’m not sure why it’s hap-pening. I have been trying toreach out for several weeks,every day I try to text her, buthaven’t received anything back,”the 74-year-old retiredHollywood lighting directortold ITV’s “Good MorningBritain” in an interview from hishome in San Diego in the US.

“I love you very much,you’re my daughter and Iwould really like to hear fromyou. Whatever differences wehave, we should be able to workthem out,” he said, making adirect plea.

Thomas dismissed accusa-tions that the 37-year-old for-mer actress was “rude” in ref-erence to media reports of afeud between her and sister-in-law Kate Middleton, but admit-ted that she could be a con-trolling person.

Paris: French anti-terroristofficials said on Monday theywould shortly file chargesagainst a man arrested in con-nection with the mass shootingin Strasbourg last week. AFP

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The Executive Engineer, PWD,West Road-1, R.R.Lines, RingRoad, Near Metro Pillar No. 63,New Delhi-110010 invites, onbehalf of President of India, OnlinePercentage/Item Rate tender ontwo bid system for following works.

NIT No. 63/EE/PWD WR-1/2018-19Tender ID No. 2018_PWD_63566_1,Name of Work : A/R & M/O VariousRoads under PWD Sub DivisionWR-14, Division WR-I, New Delhidg. 2018-19. (SH:- Providing andfixing M.S. fencing infront ofG.S.S.S. Baprola.) Estimated Cost:Rs 20,90,171/- Earnest Money: Rs.41,803/- Time of Completion: 02(Two) Months. The last date tofill/upload the tender throughe-tendering is 24.12.2018 upto03.00 P.M.

NIT No. 64/EE/PWD WR-1/2018-19Tender ID No. 2018_PWD_163569_1,Name of Work : A/R & M/O VariousRoads under Sub Division WR-13, Division WR-I, New Delhi dg.2018-19. (SH:- Repair andmaintenance of foot over BridgeJanakpuri.) Estimated Cost : Rs.17,79,480/- Earnest Money : Rs.35,590/- Time of Completion : 02(Two) Months. The last date tofill/upload the tender through e-tendering is 24.12.2018 upto 03.00P.M.

NIT No. 65/EE/PWD WR-1/2018-19Tender ID No. 2018_PWD_163575_1,Name of Work : A/R & M/O VariousRoads under Sub Division WR-12, Division WR-I, New Delhi dg.2018-19. (SH:- Providing andplacing RCC Jerssy Barriers at60 feet Road Mahaveer EnclavePart-Ill.) Estimated Cost : Rs30,77,374/- Earnest Money : Rs.61,547/- Time of Completion: 02(Two) Weeks. The last date tofill/upload the tender through e-tendering is 24.12.2018 upto 03:00 P.M.

NIT No. 69/EE/PWD WR-1/2018-19Tender ID No. 2018_PWD_163579_1,Name of Work : A/R & M/O Variousroads under Sub Division WR-13,Division WR-1, New Delhi dg.2018-19. (SH: Repair andMaintenance of footpath from PVRcomplex to Anand Kunj Society onGuru Virjanand Marg in Vikaspuri.)Estimated Cost: Rs 68,67,048/-Earnest Money : Rs.1,37,341/- Timeof Completion : 03 (Three) Months .The last date to fill/upload the tenderthrough e- tendering is 24.12.2018upto 03.00 P.M.

The Bid forms and other details canbe obtained from the website.https//govtprocurement.delhi.gov.in




Page 6: ˘ˇ - The Pioneer...˘ˇ ˘ ˇ ˆ ˙ ˝˛˚ ˜ ˙ ! " # ˝ " ˇ ˇ $ %&’( ˜˝ ) ˆ ˚ ˇ˛ ˆ ˙

The Supreme Court’s recent judge-ment on a slew of petitions vis-à-vis the Rafale deal, envisaging thepurchase of 36 of these aircraftfrom a French company, will

hopefully alert the people about the recklesssloganeering that is currently on and the sillyattempts being made in some quarters toequate Rafale with Bofors.

At the moment, there is nothing in com-mon between the two, except that they bothrelate to defence procurement from foreigncompanies. There, the similarities end. In thecase of Bofors, there were specific allegationsthat this Swedish company paid kickbacks towin the contract and the payments were fullyestablished in respect of certain entities,including Ottavio Quattrocchi, a dear friendof UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and herlate husband Rajiv Gandhi. In respect toRafale, there are no such allegations of kick-backs or corruption; although the choice ofthe offset partner has been raised. In any case,the Supreme Court has categorically dis-missed the petitions filed before it for sever-al reasons, one of which is the vagueness ofaccusations.

On the other hand, just take a look at thekind of evidence of kickbacks that emergedin Bofors. Some part of these payments havebeen meticulously documented by the DelhiBench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal(ITAT) comprising RP Tolani and RCSharma. The tribunal tracked the money trailwith clinical precision and presented its find-ings in its order many years ago. Unlike thehumming and hawing and the vagueness ofthe allegations that are being hurled againstthe Government vis-à-vis the Rafale deal,there was clinching evidence of payoffs byBofors.

The tribunal noted that OttavioQuattrocchi, the Italian friend of SoniaGandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, remained inIndia from February 28, 1965, to July 29,1993, except for a brief interval from March4, 1966, to June 12, 1968. He was a certi-fied Chartered Accountant by profession,working with Snamprogetti, an Italianmultinational company, but “neitherSnamprogetti nor Quattrocchi had anyexperience of guns, gun-systems or anyrelated defence equipment.” Further,although the Rajiv Gandhi Governmentdeclared that suppliers should not haveagents, it entered into a consultancy agree-ment with a company called AE ServicesLimited in the UK on November 15, 1985.

This was done at the behest ofQuattrocchi. The most intriguing aspect ofthis contract was that Bofors agreed to paythree per cent of the total value of the con-tract to this company if it won the Indiacontract by March 31, 1986 (that is within137 days of the signing of the contract onNovember 15, 1985). And, lo and behold,the Rajiv Gandhi Government signed thecontract on March 24, 1986 — just a week

before the deadline set byBofors expired.

Once the contract wassigned, the Indian Governmentreleased the first tranche of pay-ments to Bofors on May 2,1986, which was equivalent to 20per cent of the contract.

Bofors promptly remitted$7.343 million on September 03,1986, to A/c No: 18051-53 of AEServices Limited at NordfinanzBank, Zurich, which was threeper cent of the advance paid. Thetribunal found that this remit-tance to AE Services was trans-ferred in September 29, 1986, toAccount No: 254.561.60W ofColbar Investments Limited inthe Union Bank of Switzerland,Geneva. On July 25, 1988, again,these funds were moved toAccount No: 488.320.60 X of acompany called WetelsenOverseas, SA, in the same bank.Thereafter, on May 21, 1990, themoney was further transferredto Account No: 123983 ofInternational InvestmentsDevelopment Company inGuernsey (Channel Islands).The ITAT said: “These accountsof Colbar Investments as well asWetelsen Overseas were beingcontrolled by OttavioQuattrocchi and his wife MariaQuattrocchi.”

But the most extraordinarydevelopment was that AEServices unilaterally announcedthat it would forego the rest ofthe commission due to it fromBofors, after the bribery scan-dal broke out in April 1987, andthe then Prime Minister RajivGandhi struggled to explain thedubious payoffs by Bofors.

In the final analysis, theITAT said 243 million Swedish

Kroners was pocketed byQuattrocchi and Win Chadha.But the most clinching linkbetween Quattrocchi, who gotthe kickbacks, and the Nehru-Gandhis came when formerPrime Minister ManmohanSingh got the UK Governmentto lift the freeze on Quattrocchi’sbank account which had beenimposed at the behest of the AtalBihari Vajpayee Government.This enabled Quattrocchi torun away with the loot.

As against this unimpeach-able evidence of kickbacksreceived by a close family friendof the Nehru-Gandhis, whenIndia bought field guns for itsArmy, the allegations regardingthe Rafale deal do not seem tohave any legs to stand on. TheSupreme Court has found itnecessary to comment on theinadequacy of the petitionsand on the excessive reliance onPress reports.

The court has said, “We findno reason for any interventionby this Court on the sensitiveissue of purchase of 36 defenceaircraft. Perception of individu-als cannot be the basis of a fish-ing and roving enquiry by thisCourt, especially in such mat-ters.” Again, while discussing theallegations regarding choice ofthe offset partner, the courtsaid, “mere Press interviews orsuggestions cannot form thebasis for judicial review by thisCourt…We do not find any sub-stantial material on record toshow that this is a case of com-mercial favouritism to any partyby the Indian Government….”

A critical issue raised inthe writ petitions related to thepricing of the aircraft. The

Chief of Air Staff was opposedto disclosure of price. Yet, thecourt noted that “despite thisreluctance, the material hasstill been placed before theCourt to satisfy its conscience”.The court said it had “exam-ined closely” the price detailsand said it would not carry outa comparison of price details“in matters like the present”and that there was need tomaintain confidentiality in thematter.

Significantly, the courtobserved that “adequate militarystrength and capability to dis-courage and withstand externalaggression and to protect thesovereignty and integrity ofIndia, undoubtedly, is a matterof utmost concern for the nation.The empowerment of defenceforces with adequate technolo-gy and material support is,therefore, a matter of vital impor-tance”. Therefore, the court feltthat the parameters of judicialscrutiny in such matters ofdefence procurement cannot bethe same as in judicial scrutinyof tenders and contracts.

Those who are making reck-less and unsubstantiated allega-tions about the Rafale deal needto absorb these lessons. Thiswriter has elaborated on theQuattrocchi money trail just toemphasise the kind of investiga-tion that is needed to make anallegation stick. Therefore, theattempt by some political partiesto claim that the Rafale deal isPrime Minister Narendra Modi’s‘Bofors moment’ is laughable.Sloganeering is no substitute forevidence.

(The writer is Chairman,Prasar Bharati)

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Sir — If the elections are foughtand won on the promise ofloan-waivers, free electricity orwater, subsidies or money in theform of enhanced pension,unemployment allowance with-out statutory restrictions by theever vigilant and hyperactiveSupreme Court or the ElectionCommission of India, we areheading for anarchy and emptycoffers with no funds for infra-structure, health or education.

While suicide, by the farm-ers or the distressed, remains acrime constitutionally, the self-appointed leaders of civil soci-ety and the secular-liberalspokespersons in the media cryfoul over the suicides and shed crocodile tears on suchcowardly acts. If India has toprogress morally, economicallyand physically, it would be pru-dent for the ElectionCommission and also the apexcourt to ban all such electoralpromises in letter and spiritwhich make people dependenton freebies and destroy workculture. The top court shouldalso summon the leaders of thenational political parties asking

for a time barred withdrawal ofthe reservation policy whichwas originally envisaged for alimited period of 10 years.

Jai Prakash GuptaAmbala


Sir — This refers to the editor-ial, “Generational conflict”

(December 15). Victories inthree Assembly States ofMadhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarhand Rajasthan have come as ahuge morale booster for theCongress. And if the party wantsto further corner the BJP in the2019 general election, the expe-rience of the old guard will bemuch needed.

There is no denying the factthat both leaders, Jyotiraditya

Madhavrao Scindia and SachinPilot, played a pivotal role forthe Congress’ win in MadhyaPradesh and Rajasthan respec-tively, but the duo must bepatient so that they can be fur-ther groomed under the handsof the senior leadership. Moreunited the show they put up, thebetter it will be for them.

Bal Govind Noida


Sir — This refers to the editor-ial, “The Rafale soars”(December 15). The SupremeCourt’s dismissal of all petitionsthat sought a court-monitoredSIT probe in the Rafale deal hascome as a major blow toCongress president RahulGandhi who had been unneces-sarily raking up the issue.

The apex court said thatthere is nothing to doubt theprocess of decision-making inthe award of contract for thepurchase of 36 Rafale jets andthat there is no material toshow commercial favouritism.

After the top court’s cleanchit to the Modi Government, itwas expected of Rahul Gandhito stop his tirade against theGovernment and show magna-nimity by ending matters here.Regretfully, he decided to con-tinue with playing politics andhas again made demands for aJoint Parliamentary Committeeprobe.

MC JoshiLucknow

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On November 30, 2018, tens ofthousands of farmers con-gregated in the national cap-

ital to protest against their financialdistress arising out of non-remuner-ative price for their agricultural out-put and ever-increasing farm debtburden. They wanted a special ses-sion of Parliament to discuss theirproblems and demanded the pas-sage of two laws (i) to guaranteeMinimum Support Price (MSP) forall crops based on the recommen-dations of the National Commissionon Agriculture under MSSwaminathan (2006) and (ii) ‘one-time’ farm loan-waiver. Truly speak-ing, the enactment of both theselaws can be fiscally catastrophic. Tounderstand the implications, let us

look at how MSP is fixed and itsconnect with subsidy.

To incentivise food productionand to make it available at afford-able price to the target beneficiaries(mostly poor), the Governmenthad already directed State agencies,such as the Food Corporation ofIndia (FCI), to procure producefrom the farmers at MSP andarrange its supply through the pub-lic distribution system (PDS), at aprice much lower than the actualcost of procurement. The differen-tial amount was then to be reim-bursed to the agencies, as subsidy.

Under the National FoodSecurity Act (NFSA), beneficiariesare allowed to get five kg of cerealsper person, per month. Besides, 81crore people are provided wheat atthe rate of two rupee per kilogram,rice at the rate of three rupee perkilogram and coarse cereals at therate of one rupee per kilogram. Withlow sale price covering barely one-tenth of the cost and the NFSArequiring this network to supply anestimated 60 million tonnes of sub-

sidised grains per year, it entailed afood subsidy of �140,000 crore(2017-18). In addition, �35,000crore was to be spent on price sup-port for pulses and oilseeds.

With the inclusion of over adozen crops under the MSP andusing the methodology recommend-ed by Dr Swaminathan — viz 50 percent profit over cost of production(paid out expenses or A2 plus fam-ily labour) for its determination,which has already been implement-ed by the Government — during thecurrent year, expenditure on foodsubsidy is already expected to cross�200,000 crore.

But farmers want C-2 cost (inaddition to A2+FL, and this includesimputed cost of owned capital andowned land) to be used for calcula-tion of 50 per cent profit. This isillogical. They have already been pro-vided for return on owned land andcapital under C-2. To give profit overand above this would be fortuitous.

Yet, if the Government recalcu-lates on this basis, it will lead toeven sharper increase in MSP and

correspondingly, in food subsidy.On top of this, if the MSP, too, getsthe legal backing, implications willbe mindboggling.

Apart from covering farmers,who sell their produce to State agen-cies (for meeting requirements of thePDS), those selling their output in themarketplace will be entitled to claimreimbursement for the shortfall inrealisation (mandi price) vis-à-vis theMSP. Even subsistence/marginalfarmers, who produce food for self-consumption and, hence, have noth-ing to offer for sale, will qualify forreimbursement. In short, almost theentire food production of 285 milliontonnes (target for 2018-19) willcome under legally-protected MSP.

These reimbursements on foodsold/consumed outside NFSA/PDS,or over 200 million tonnes, willimpose an additional burden of atleast �100,000 crore (assumingshortfall of a bare five rupee per kgin market price vis-à-vis MSP). Thiswill be over and above �200,000crore currently being spent for dis-tributing 60 million tonnes under

the NFSA, plus the price support forpulses and oilseeds.

Going by the magnitude of loan-waiver promises being made to thefarmers in the States that have goneto polls in recent times, the secondlegislation for a one-time waiver tofarmers’ debt will cost the exchequermore than �200,000 crore. Already,the Centre is struggling to findresources for food subsidy under theNFSA with dues pending to the tuneof �200,000 crore to FCI. One shud-ders to think of a scenario wherebyit will be required to cough up anadditional amount of at least�300,000 crore next year, contingentupon passage of the two laws.

This will completely destabilisethe budget and play havoc with theGovernment’s fiscal consolidationdrive. Its ability to fund developmentworks, including investment in irri-gation, rural roads, markets et al, willbe seriously undermined. This willalso affect the farmers’ ability toincrease production and sell, leadingto a further drop in income. It willbe a case of giving from one hand

and taking from the other. A legally-backed MSP will be

suicidal. The Government shouldavoid treading this path. The gene-sis of low price realisation by farm-ers lies in them being forced to sellthe produce at notified agricultureproduce market committees. Theseare cartelised and mostly controlledby powerful traders who have con-nections with politicians and bureau-crats. They pay less to farmers andrake in moolah by selling their pro-duce to consumers at a high price.

Instead of using the taxpayers’money to compensate farmers (thatwill only help traders continue withtheir loot), the problem has to be tack-led at source. Focus should be to dis-mantle these cartels and invest heav-ily in establishing alternative platformsto enable them sell their produce.Removal of restrictions on exports andunencumbered foreign direct invest-ment in retail are other potent policyincentives that will help them realisebetter price. Will Modi crack the whip?

(The writer is a freelance journalist)

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If only the Supreme Court’s dis-missal of the petition seeking acourt-monitored probe into the

Rafale deal had come before the Stateelections, it can be conjectured that theresults might well have been differentfor the BJP, considering how minimalthe ‘swing’ in Madhya Pradesh andRajasthan was. For months, Congresschief Rahul Gandhi worked hard onbuilding his campaign on a web ofunsubstantiated allegations. This, tomake corruption the central electoralissue and to spite Prime Minister Modifor doing so in 2014. Sadly, voters’choice in the Hindi heartland reflect-ed that five years were long enough atime to grant absolution to theCongress as collective amnesia set in.The voters’ fury that was felt on 2G anda series of scams of the UPA-II reced-ed. The Lutyens’ clique of fixers,bureaucrats, bankers, cronies andmedia tried hard to undermine Modi’sinclusive agenda. But in hindsight, thesystemic rot is too deeply entrenchedin the body polity of the nation to weedit out in a single tenure.

Because, in contrast to previousregimes, the Modi Government deliv-ered more to the bottom 70 per centof the population through DirectBenefit Transfer and Ease of Livingparameters. So, if the Prime Ministeris not able to solve all of the nation’sproblems in five years, should we votefor those who created those very prob-lems over 70 years? Salvation does notlie in a change of regime; nor does thesolution lie in a disparate Oppositionuniting to ‘shoot the reformer’ forattempting to weed out a paralleleconomy, through a collective revivalof the old establishment brigade ofdynastic satraps, like the scam-taint-ed Yadavs, the DMK clan or the dis-proportionate assets-accused, likeBSP supremo Mayawati.

To deal with the deluge of disen-chantment, it’s time for Modi to inventa buoyant yet realistic narrative toaddress concerns of all sections of soci-ety that are seen moving away from theBJP’s fold — from farmers to first timevoters to the middle classes and thetraders. Modi must persist with anachievable sequel to the promise ofvikas, while admitting to some regimelapses and spell out a roadmap withstated timelines. However, in the long-term, India needs to make the much-required shift towards a non-agrarianeconomy to match with other develop-ing economies that are only 10 per centreliant on agricultural income. Thattransition has not happened yet. Whatthe voter now seeks with immediacy isredressal of economic woes instead ofcatchy sloganeering.

These may not be the best of timesto make prophecies about 2019 or toadmonish a ruling regime that isalready in corrective mode. For that,

Prime Minister Modi already has a bat-talion of Twitter economists who offerinstant expertise on how to course-cor-rect by the minute. We are aware thatissues on the socio-economic andpolitical front are riddled with muchdeeper complexities. Embedded with-in these contradictions are tectonicshifts in the offing that can alter India’spolitical architecture. While Modiremains the front-runner candidate for2019, despite the loss of three saffronbastions, popularity ratings betweenhim and his closest rival are steadilynarrowing, establishing the Congress asa natural fulcrum for any anti-Modigrand alliance.

So, one can only expect moreattrition and exodus in mainstreamparties while alliance partners of theBJP can be expected to make moreupstartish demands. Also, expecta-tions are high about a huge shift andshuffle in the BJP’s voter base that wasat its optimal saturation point in 2014.This is the time to woo back the corevoter base through speedy redressal oflivelihood issues. While local anti-incumbency in the three heartlandStates is not necessarily reflective ofa trend reversal at the national level,there are some inferences to drawfrom the just-concluded State elec-tions. The lifeline the BJP needs toinfuse is some instant economic deliv-erables, even if it means that fiscaldeficit figures exceed the target in anelection year. The Government mustgo for enhanced spending over thenext two months; announce income-support schemes along with farmloan-waivers in the interim in a bid forcompetitive populism; announce sub-sidies on fuel; cut interest rates andprovide tax relief to the citizens,especially the middle class.

Because, should it be Modi 2.0, hewill have all of five years to rectify fis-cal profligacy. The Centre needs to boostcapital spending. Even if it is at a deficitof 4.5 per cent of the GDP, it’s fine when

the objective is to push the growth rate.Spending on roads, affordable housing,construction, irrigation, rural electrifi-cation, broadband, farm producegodowns and cold storages and massrapid transit systems will help boostlabour-intensive sectors that createemployment. This will help yield socialand political dividends. So, the Centreshould hope that a pliant RBI Governoragrees to transfer excess reserves to theGovernment — this is much-needed tospend on growth and to fund MSMEsin order to ease sectoral distress.

With the industry’s reluctance tospend on capex, who else will spend ifnot the Government? So, if theGovernment of India’s investmentsaugment growth, that translates intohigher revenues, deficits would takecare of themselves. Because despiteachieving optimal targets in affordablehousing, rural electrification andModicare schemes, investing in publicand household assets alone has nothelped the ruling party’s electoralcause. This assumption is validatedthrough recent losses in the heartlandStates which came from the rural vot-ers, who account for about 74 per centof the electorate. Farm distress is anobstinate problem that has persistedsince decades with no magic wand.

As time is running out, in orderto win back support among India’s 263million farmers, even if as much asfour trillion rupees ($56.5 billion) inloans are written off in a bid at com-petitive populism, it is not unusual inan election year to resort to suchquick-fixes. This was the eventualityresorted to even by the previousCongress-led UPA, which waivedloans worth nearly 720 billion rupeesin 2008 that helped it return to powerin 2009. While the BJP-led NDA suc-ceeded in keeping food inflation low,this came at the cost of compromisingon farmers’ remuneration. However,income-support schemes, enhancingnon-agricultural employment, gener-

ating gainful urbanisation and fund-ing more employment-intensive pro-jects should be long-term solutions.

If the BJP-led NDA was beset withlegacy issues of policy paralysis, reck-less lending and mounting NPAs, thesuccessive regime, which could well beanother Modi-led Government, wouldalso inherit the negative legacies of thepresent regime. The worst of them isthat institutional heads did not adhereto the dharma of bureaucratic disciplineby resolving conflicts within closeddoors but took an adversarial stancewith the Government. This sent out sig-nals of erosion of the central authori-ty like the open revolt in the SupremeCourt, the CBI and the RBI as also theembarrassment of successive econo-mists resigning “for personal reasons.”The other inherent problem for the nextregime, though not a ‘legacy’ one, willalso be that despite retaining the leadin being the fastest growing economyat 7.3 per cent, India will need to accel-erate growth to nine per cent in futurefor any elected Government to fulfill itscommitment in jobs for all, which willremain the biggest challenge.

However, the current dilemma isthat if a large section of the BJP’s corevoter base remains anti-incumbent,where will incremental votes comefrom? Aside from redressal of farmersissues, 100 million millennials who willbe first-time voters are unenthused ascompared to first-time voters of 2014because of under-employment. Anddespite Modi’s best intent, triple talaq isunlikely to make Muslim women polit-ically beholden to the BJP, even as theminorities will continue to stay with sec-ular parties. It is because the perceptionof intolerance has become synonymouswith the regime. Despite major stridestaken by this Government in financialinclusion, the success of many social ini-tiatives has not got prominence. Falsenarratives have obscured achievements.

The other vital question is to whatextent will the BJP infuse nationalist

issues and concerns of migrant infiltra-tion, as dictated by its ideological par-ent, the RSS, or attempt a revival of reli-gious issues of the 1990s? A recent sur-vey showed that reviving the mandirmudda holds only 11 per cent tractionas issues of livelihood have gained pri-macy. Supportive evidence of this is thefact that the BJP fared badly in areaswhere Yogi Adityanath campaigned. Hehijacked the development narrativewith a parochial one, which showed adisconnect and apathy to livelihoodissues. The party, in its re-strategisingbid, is unlikely to switch track complete-ly to issues of faith, as man cannot liveby prayer alone. Only economic deliv-erables will convert to votes.

The BJP will enter the kurukshetraof 2019 with five brahmastras inhand: Its mascot Modi; powerful mes-saging being planned to undo misin-formation spread by Opposition; someanticipated quick-wins with a pre-pollspending spree on welfarism andputting more money into the hands ofrural voters and urban middle class;splurging on campaign spend with itshuge financial war-chest; and thecombined manpower resources of sixcrore karyakartas of the BJP-RSScombine, so as to fire on all fronts.

Let’s not forget that the Modi-Shahduo lost the crucial States of Bihar andDelhi three years ago only to resurrectby course-correcting fast enough toexpand the BJP’s national footprint into19 States before the recent loss of threeStates. Sadly, Governments in poweronly heed the voice of their voter whenon edge. The prospects currently maynot be one of ‘India shining’, reminis-cent of the negative associations with2004, but it will surely be an ‘India dim-ming’, should a politically and ideolog-ically incoherent “coalition of rivals”come to power in 2019, which wouldbe more disastrous. So think twice whyit must be Modi once more.

(The writer is an author andcolumnist)

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Amaravati: Cyclone Phethaibarrelled through coastalAndhra Pradesh on Monday,triggering heavy rains, uproot-ing trees and electric poles, andclaiming one life, officials said.

Train and air services were also disrupted because ofthe cyclone.

East Godavari district borethe brunt of the storm as itmade landfall near Katrenikonain the afternoon, forcing evac-uation of 20,000 people, who have been sheltered inrelief camps.

Howling winds that gustedup to 85-90 kmph uprootedelectric poles and trees inKatrenikona, Tallarevu andMalkipuram in East Godavari,disrupting power supply. No casualties were, however,reported.

A man named R DurgaRao aged 28 was killed when aloosened soil hurtled down ahillock following heavy rains inVijayawada city, according tosources in the state’s DisasterManagement Authority.

Krishna district Collector BLakshmi Kantham announcedan immediate relief of �50,000to the deceased’s family.

Deputy Chief Minister(Home) N China Rajappa iscamping at Bhairavapalem vil-lage in East Godavari district to oversee relief and rescueoperations.

The Real-TimeGovernance Centre (RTGS) atthe state secretariat said‘Phethai’ weakened into acyclone after making landfall.It moved towards Kakinada,

hitting the town with down-pour, before rolling towardsVisakhapatnam district, offi-cials said.

Chief Executive Officer ofthe RTGS Babu Ahamed saidpracautionary steps taken bythe authorities had minimiseddamage to life and property.

He said trees were uproot-ed in some 20 places and res-cue teams had cleared the

debris in 15.Spare electric poles were

kept ready, he said.The South Central Railway

cancelled and rescheduled sev-eral trains, while air traffic toand from the port city ofVisakhapatnam was hit by tur-bulent weather conditions.Some flights had to be can-celled or diverted toHyderabad. PTI

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The authorities on Mondaysealed off all roads leading

to headquarters of XV Corps inSrinagar to thwart separatistsplan to stage a protest demon-stration in the garrison areaagainst the spree of civiliankillings. Police detained twomain separatist leaders MirwaizUmar Farooq and Yasin Malikto foil their march towards thelargest cantonment in summercapital Srinagar.

The separatists had calledfor a protest demonstration infront of the office of the XVCorps Commander who com-mands the military operationsin the entire Kashmir Valley.The army had counselled thepeople against paying heed tothe separatists’ call. The pro-posed protest was part of 3-dayshutdown called by the sepa-ratists against the killing ofseven civilians in Sirnoo villageof south Kashmir’s Pulwamadistrict on Saturday. ThreeHizbul Mujahideen terroristsand an Army soldier were also

killed in the encounter. Thelocals blamed the securityforces for “target killings.”

Senior separatist leaderMirwaiz Umar Farooq defiedpolice restrictions on his man-sion in Nigeen area of Srinagaroutskirts and led a group of hissupporters to march towardsthe cantonment area. However,he was intercepted by a largecontingent of police, mostlymasked personnel, who took

him into brief custody after about of slogan-shouting.Before being whisked to policestation, Mirwaiz was allowedto address his supporters. Heblamed the state authorities forunleashing a reign of terror bykilling what he called innocentcivilians.

“After indiscriminatekillings, civilians are branded asover ground workers and ter-rorists which is preposterous in

itself, but what is worse is thatthis propaganda is used as ameans of endorsing and justi-fying the civilian killings byarmed forces. Delhi has over-played the terrorist, Pak proxyand instigators card and no oneis buying this narrative exceptsome people in India at whomit is aimed for electoral gains,”Mirwaiz said adding the worldsees for itself the ever-growinggraph of atrocities and mas-sacres of Kashmiris who areseeking peaceful resolution ofthe Kashmir dispute.

Another separatist leaderand JKLF chairman YasinMalik also detained by policeafter he tried to march towardsBadami Bagh cantonment inSrinagar. Reports said Malikalong-with his supportersincluding several womenassembled at Gaw Kadal local-ity to begin their march.

Eyewitnesses said as soonas Malik reached near Budshahbridge a police party swung intoaction and detained him. Policefired tear gas smoke shells todisperse the crowd.

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In a major attack on theCongress, the BJP on

Monday sought the resignationof Congress president RahulGandhi over the court rulingon the anti-sikh riots. BJP’sspokesperson Sambit Patra ina press conference in Bengalurudemanded the resignation ofRahul Gandhi and asked himto expel Madhya Pradesh ChiefMinister Kamal Nath from theparty. He said Kamal Nath’sname has cropped up alongwith affidavit and evidencesubmitted in a report to theNanavati Commission, Patraalso demanded that RahulGandhi should step down asCongress president.

“Rahul Gandhi shouldresign as Congress’ chief.Kamal Nath ji’s name crops upalong with affidavit and evi-dence in a report submitted toNanavati Commission,” he said.

“A man involved in anti-Sikh riots has been made theMadhya Pradesh ChiefMinister. Rahul Gandhi mustexpel him from the party,”Patra demanded.

Earlier in the day, theDelhi High Court convicted

Sajjan Kumar in a case relatedto the 1984 anti-Sikh riotsand sentenced him to lifeimprisonment. A fine of �5lakh was also imposed on him.The court had asked Kumar tosurrender before December31.The High Court reversedthe trial court verdict of 2013and sentenced Sajjan Kumarand five others in a case relat-ed to the killing of five mem-bers of a Sikh family in Delhi’sCantonment area in November1984, following the assassina-tion of the then prime minis-ter Indira Gandhi.

After her assassination byher Sikh bodyguards in 1984,around 3,000 people werekilled in anti-Sikh riots whenmobs targeted innocent people.

Former Union Ministerand senior Congress leaderKapil Sibal said in Delhi thatneither Sajjan Kumar — con-vict in the 1984 anti-Sikh riotcase — was given a ticket by theCongress, nor he does nothold any office. Refuting alle-gations against the Congressparty for saving the accused ofSikh massacre, Sibal said,“Sajjan Kumar wasn’t givenany ticket by our party and hedoesn’t hold any office.”

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Even as the BJP moved theCalcutta High Court for the

second time on Monday seek-ing reversal of the StateGovernment order denyingpermission to its Rath Yatra theparty leadership said it wasconsidering an “alternative”padyatra or long march if theRath Yatra continues to getmired by legal procedures.

“The party is considering apadyatra in absence of theRath Yatra (as proposed earli-er),” State BJP president DilipGhosh who on Monday led oneof the protest marchesdenouncing the TrinamoolCongress Government’s “bru-tal murder of democracy inBengal,” said.

He said “we are keeping all

options open. The legal battlewill continue in the court buta parallel struggle will resumeand continue on streets toawaken and unite the peopleagainst TMC’s dictatorship.”

The BJP plans multiple longmarches throughout the Stateparticularly along the proposedRath Yatra routes to be led bybigger leaders. The long march-es would be interspersed bylarge rallies to be addressed byPrime Minister Narendra Modiand party president Amit Shah,BJP sources said.

The BJP’s petition filed atthe Court of Justice TapabrataChakrabarty would be taken upfor hearing on Tuesday. In thepetition the party has soughtpermission for Rath Yatraspreferably on December 22, 24and 26, sources said.

The same Court had earli-er deliberating on a petitionfrom the saffron outfit direct-ed the State Government to sitwith the BJP leaders and dis-cuss the possibilities of theYatra and record the reasons ofits decision. The State took anadverse decision denying theYatra on grounds of law andorder and communal tension.It however allowed the BJP toorganise mass meetings to beaddressed by Modi and Shah.

Denouncing theGovernment’s decision seniorBJP leader and Union MinisterSmriti Irani said “we had askedfor a permission to take out aYatra to save democracy but theState Government denied per-mission proving the real con-dition of the State’s law andorder situation and showing

how the democratic systemworks in this State.”

Reposing faith in theJudiciary she said “we believein judicial system and havesupreme faith in it. But havingsaid that our struggle will con-tinue against the TrinamoolCongress as institution ofdemocracy has gone to dogs inthis State.”

Reacting sharply to theBJP’s demand for a Rath Yatrapermission TrinamoolCongress MP and ChiefMinister Mamata Banerjee’snephew Abhishek Banerjee onMonday said “this is no RathYatra but an Asur Yatra (marchof the demons) in a seven starbus which has all the luxuriousamentias for those BJP leaderswho would ride it: often com-ing out of it o ignite commu-

nal tension and riots beforesleeping inside it to enjoy sevenstar luxury.”

Another senior TMCleader and Minister ParthoChatterjee said “this Yatrameans for nothing to the peo-ple of Bengal who will never beswayed by this communal exer-cise. It sounds attractive inspeeches but on ground the BJPand its Yatra will have noimpact in Bengal.”

The CPI(M) on the otherhand said much of the Yatrapolitics was a device of the twoparties to provide politicalmileage to each other. “Both ofthem rely on communal poli-tics and each one is comple-mentary to the other. ThisYatra politics is a part of it,” saidCPI(M) leader TanmoyBhattacharya.

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Thiruvananthapuram: Fourtransgenders, who were deniedpermission to visit theSabarimala temple a day ago,on Monday got the sanction topray at the temple, said one ofthem.

Speaking to the media onMonday evening, Ananya saidthey approached a Kerala HighCourt-appointed top policeofficial here in the morning andinsisted that they wanted tovisit the shrine wearing sarees.

After meeting DirectorGeneral of Police A.Hemachandran, Ananya toldthe media in the morning thatthey had placed their demandbefore the DGP, and wished topray in the dress of their choice-- a saree.

“He (Hemachandran) hassaid he will check with theother two committee membersand get back to us and he alsoasked us to meet IG of PoliceManoj Abraham. Now we havegot the permission to pray atthe temple and we will besoon going for the darshan,”said Ananya.

If required, they wouldalso be given police protectionfor the darshan.

Ananya said they were sohappy that their efforts hadpaid off and with this, trans-

genders from now on couldfreely go and pray at theSabarimala temple.

On Sunday, the four-mem-ber transgender team, whocame from Ernakulam, wasstopped by the police atErumely, the first base camp ofthe temple town.

The police first told themthat if they change into men’sattire, they would be allowed.However, later the policerefused them the permission tovisit the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Ananya said they were sub-jected to ridicules, threats andasked to return by the police.

From there, the team wentand complained to KottayamSuperintendent of Police, A.Harishankar.

On Monday, they arrived

in the state capital to meetHemachandran.

The Kerala High Court onNovember 27 had set up athree-member observer panelto oversee the Sabarimala pil-grimage season, after numer-ous complaints surfaced againstthe manner in which the policewere acting in the temple town.

Besides Hemachandran,the panel also consisted of P.R.Raman and S. Sirijagan, bothretired high court judges.

The temple town has wit-nessed protests by Hindugroups since the September 28Supreme Court verdict thatallowed women of all ages toenter the temple, includingthose hitherto banned girlsand women aged between 10and 50. PTI

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Chennai: Eighty fishing boatgroups were on Monday pro-vided with 200 ISRO developedsatellite enabled communica-tion devices by the Tamil NaduGovernment, that will providethem real-time alerts oncyclone and weather updates.

Chief Minister KPalaniswami distributed thegadgets to seven fishermenfrom Chennai, Nagapattinamand Kanyakumari engaged indeep sea fishing, marking theroll out of the devices, at theSecretariat here.

Touted as the Indian ver-sion of the American GPS(Global Positioning System),the NavIC (Navigation withIndian Constellation) enabledcommunication devices pro-vides fishermen with real-timeupdates.

The Indian RegionalNavigation Satellite Systemconstellation of eight satellites,named “NavIC”, provides posi-tion, navigation and timingservices over India and itsneighbourhood, according toISRO. A senior governmentofficial, when asked about the

features of the device, said thatthe gadgets are basically‘receivers’,which emit a beepsignal when alerts are received.

“The devices are the size ofa soap box and are Bluetoothenabled...The alerts can beaccessed by downloading theNavIC App in android

phones...The alerts will appearin Tamil,” he told PTI.

“These ISRO gadgets havebeen distributed free ofcost...There are also no recur-ring costs...These have to bemaintained properly,” he said,adding that the devices wouldcome in handy for those goingfor deep sea fishing.

During cyclone Ockhi lastyear, several fishermen wentmissing and the Tamil Nadu Government faced crit-icism that timely updates aboutthe storm was not communi-cated to them to enable themreturn home.

The State Government hadannounced in the 2018-19budget that the gadgets wouldbe provided to fishermenengaged in deep sea fishing. PTI

�$����������� %��2����� ���� ��������� �Jammu: The much-awaitedJammu ropeway project, aimedat boosting tourism in theState’s winter Capital, willundergo trial runs from onTuesday, officials said.

“The Jammu ropeway pro-ject is in full swing. The splic-ing of the main rope of Section-I (Mahamaya to Peer Kho) hasbeen completed by an interna-tional expert. The pre-com-missioning trial run of SectionI will start from December 18,”Managing Director (MD), J&K Cable Car Corporation,Shamim Ahmad Wani said on Monday.

Secretary, Tourism, RigzinSamphel visited the construc-tion site of the ropeway projectat Peer Kho here Monday andreviewed the progress of theongoing work.

He was briefed about theconstruction work in all thethree stations and informedthat landscaping work atMahamaya and Peer Kho wasunderway. The MD furthertold him that the engineeringwing has been asked to com-plete all pending works byDecember 31, officials said.

The secretary said the pro-

ject would go a long way inpromoting tourism in Jammuregion, giving a fillip to thelocal economy by creating jobs.

The 1.66-km-long cable carproject has two phases, firstfrom Bahu Fort to MahamayaPark and second fromMahamaya to Peer Kho over theTawi river, with a total length of1,118 metre, Wani said.

“The project is of greatimportance and is going to bethe biggest tourist attraction (inJammu) in coming days,” headded.

The cable car project wouldprovide people a high-qualitytourism experience with transportation facility, sight-seeing and entertainment, theMD said.

Planned in 1995, the pro-ject was to be operated fromBahu Fort to Mubarak MandiComplex initially. It was mod-ified and relocated later whenMubarak Mandi and Bahu Fort were declared as protect-ed monuments.

The Cable CarCorporation successfully conducted the trial run of thefirst phase of the project inApril. PTI

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The corridors of powerinside civil secretariat com-

plex in Jammu on Mondayreverberated with chants of‘Save Kashmir, stop killings ofinnocent kashmiris’ as group ofPDP lawmakers, along withtheir supporters, allegedly vio-lated Section 144 before storm-ing the seat of power.

The site of these PDP lead-ers roaming freely inside thebuilding and shouting slogansby standing outside the officesof advisors to the stateGovernor embarrassed seniorsecurity officers.

PDP lawmakers were also

heard shouting slogans againstthe Prime Minister NarendraModi, Home Minister RajnathSingh and Governor whileholding placards in their hands.

A large group of PDP lead-ers and their supporters hadearlier slipped inside the civilsecretariat complex before tak-ing out the protest march.

They were led by sittingPDP MLC Firduos Tak and for-mer MLA’s Aijaz Ahmed Mirand Yawar Mir. The PDP lead-ers were protesting against thekilling of protesters in Pulwamadistrict of south Kashmir dur-ing gunfight with terrorists.

The entire security gridpresent inside the civil secre-

tariat remained mute spectatorsand didn’t even prevented anyone from coming closer to theoffice premises of Advisors tothe Governor on first floor ofthe secretariat complex.

Slogan shouting PDP pro-testers moved across severalfloors without facing any resis-tance from security personnel.

After taking out the protestmarch Firduos Tak told mediapersons in front of the main civilsecretariat building, “I stronglybelieve the central Governmentis drawing a sadistic pleasure outof these killings in Kashmir andfulfilling the long desire of RSSand BJP”. “The desire andthirst of blood of Kashmiris”.

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First fielding candidatesagainst probable ally

Congress in recent Assemblypolls in three central States andthen being conspicuous withtheir absence at the oath-tak-ing ceremonies of CongressChief Ministers in MadhyaPradesh and Rajasthan, region-al satraps Samajwadi Party(SP)and Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP)have themselves weakened thepossibility of a grand alliancefor the 2019 general elections.

Interestingly, after not-so-encouraging results in therecent Assembly polls, both theSP and the BSP tried to dis-tance from the BJP and imme-diately announced support tothe Congress.

But by not attending theswearing-in ceremonies of twoCongress Chief Ministers onMonday, the two regional par-ties have probably given a clearmessage to the grand old partyto come on their terms for thegrand alliance or else theywould remain aloof.

While Mayawati has beensilent over not attending theswearing-in ceremonies in theHindi speaking States, Akhileshchose to send his lone MLA inMadhya Pradesh to representhim at the function.

“Mayawati has dreams of

becoming Prime Minister incase of a hung Parliament in2019. Hence, instead of joiningus to fight with the BJP in therecent Assembly polls, she pre-ferred to align with anotherparty — Janata Congress inChhattisgarh,” said UPCongress Committee generalsecretary Siddharth PriyaSrivastava.

“Akhilesh also wantsCongress to come under hisparty’s banner in the parlia-mentary poll akin to what wedid in 2017 Assembly poll inUP, as he planned to projectMulayam Singh Yadav as the prime ministerial can-didate. But now, by distancingthemselves from the Congressin the Assembly polls in threeStates, both have a slice of real-ity to analyse,” Srivastava point-ed out.

“In fact, the results of recentelections have upset both SPand BSP more in UP than theBJP as leaders of both partieshad targeted Congress freely,hoping that it would be at theirmercy in Uttar Pradesh. Even ata recent meeting of oppositionleaders over a grand alliance inDelhi, both Mayawati andAkhilesh chose to give it a miss.Hence their absence from theoath-taking ceremonies did notcome as a surprise,” theCongress leader said.

Srivastava said that statefunctionaries and leaders of theparty had conveyed toCongress chief Rahul Gandhithat like in the recent Assemblypolls in Hindi heartland, theparty should distance itselffrom both SP and BSP, even ifthey went for an alliance in theparliamentary polls.

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Six persons were killed and147 others injured late on

Monday afternoon after amajor fire broke out in the StateGovernment-run EmployeesState Insurance Corporation(ESIC) Kamghar Hospital at Andheri (East) in north-west Mumbai.

A majority of those injured,who have been admitted to thevarious hospitals in themetropolis, were patients and staffers.

Informed official sourcessaid that the toll might go upfurther as some of the injuredwere in a critical condition.

The fire was noticed nearthe operation theatre of thefive-storey hospital located atMarol locality of Andheri(East). Before long, the firespread to other floors strand-ing more 150 people in the fire-engulfed building.

As the fire spread in thebuilding, a few patients pan-icked and jumped out of thefourth floor window. They suf-fered fractures.

However, within minutesof the fire being reported, atleast 12 fire tenders, 15 watertankers and other specialisedequipment arrived on the sceneto battle with the blaze. The firebrigade used ladders to bringdown those trapped in thethird and fourth floors of thehospital building.

Leaping flames, coupledthick cloud of smoke, made therescue operation difficult for

the fire brigade personnel.After battling with the fire formore than three and a halfhours, the fire brigade extin-guished the blaze at 7.35 pm.

At around 8.30 pm, theofficials at the BMC’s disastercontrol room pegged the number of deaths at six andthose admitted to various hos-pitals at 147.

A majority of those rescuedhad suffered burn wounds. Ofthe injured, 19 were admittedto Cooper Hospital, Andheri(West), 39 to P ThakreyTrauma Hospital, Jogeshwari(East), 40 to Holi SpiritHospital, Andheri (East), 44 t0Seven Hills Hospital, Andheri

(East), three to HiranandaniHospital, Powai and two toSidhharth Hospital, Goregaon.

Initial reports said that thefire might have broken out inthe hospital building with aglass façade because of an elec-trical short circuit. The hospi-tal is located in the MIDC area,an industrial hub in north-westMumbai.

Mumbai MayorVishwanath Mahadeshwar,who visited the mishap sitealong with senior civic officials,that the BMC would investigatethe cause of fire and strictaction would be taken againstthose guilty of lapses.

Meanwhile, thick clouds of

smoke emanating from thefire-hit hospital travelled quitea bit, reducing the visibility inthe area and leading to peak-hour traffic jams in the areas ofthe neighbourhood.

The metropolis has wit-nessed nearly ten fire mishapsduring the current year. In thefirst such mishap that tookplace on June 1, the fire br9okeout in the third and fourth floorof the six-storey Scindia Houseat Ballard Estate in downtownsouth Mumbai.

Twenty four hours later,another fire broke out at aleather company in Reay Roadin south-central Mumbai. Noinjuries were reported in the

mishap. On June 9, a massivefire broke out at PatelChambers at Fort in southMumbai. Two firemen wereinjured after a part of thebuilding collapsed due to fire.

On June 13, a major firethat broke out in the top floorsof a 34-storey building“Beaumonde Towers” where B-town’s reigning actress DeepikaPadukone lives, spread.However, two hours later, thefire fighters controlled the blazeand rescued 90-odd residentssafely.

On August 5, a major fireswept through the RegionalTransport Office (RTO) atTardeo in south Mumbai herein the early hours of Sunday,gutting hundreds of docu-ments, licences, furniture,computers, printers and otheritems. There were no causali-ties or injuries in the mishap.

On December 3 this year,a massive fire had rippedthrough the thick forests ofAarey colony that falls insidethe Sanjay Gandhi NationalPark (SGNP) precincts atGoregaon (East) in north-Mumbai, gutting forest areameasuring nearly 4 km.

Earlier on December 29last year, 14 persons were killedand 55 others were injured inthe massive fire that rippedMojo’s Bistro lounge, neigh-bouring 1Above casual diningrestaurant and London TaxiGastro pub at Trade House inthe Kamala Mills compound atLower Parel in south-centralMumbai.

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As part of a busy scheduledrawn up for him during

his day-long visit toMaharashtra on Tuesday,Prime Minister NarendraModi will lay foundation stonefor upcoming first-ever MetroCorridors in Thane district. Hewill also launch a housingscheme of 90,000 homes andalso perform “bhoomi puja”for Pune Metro Rail Phase-3.

At Kalyan in the neigh-bouring Thane district, Modiwill lay foundation stone forthe Thane-Bhiwandi-KalyanMetro and the Dahisar-Mira-Bhayander Metro corridorprojects to ease the trans-portation problems in the twourban pockets located in theMumbai Metropolitan Region.He will also launch a housingscheme of 90,000 homes forthe poor sections of society atthe same venue, constructedunder the Pradhan MantriAwas Yojana (PMAY).

Modi will later head toPune, where he will performground breaking ceremony forthe Pune Metro Rail Phase 3and address a public meeting.

Earlier in the morning, thePrime Minister would speak atthe Republic Summit organ-ised by Republic TV, a privatenews channel.

Subsequently, Modi will hewill release a book entitled‘Timeless Laxman’ based on

the life and little known facetsof the legendary cartoonist,the late R K Laxman, at RajBhavan. The book has beenpenned by his daughter-in-law,Usha Srinivas Laxman.

It may be recalled thatLaxman — best known for hiscreation The Common Manfor his daily cartoon strip, “ You

Said it “You Said It” in TheTimes of India which started in1951—passed away at a Punehospital on January 26, 2015.

Modi, who will arrive inMumbai at 8 am on Tuesday,will wind up his day-long visitto Maharashtra after addressinga public rally at Pune late in theevening.

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Bengaluru: The HindustanAeronautics Limited’s LightUtility Helicopter project hasnotched another milestone as thethird prototype (PT3) made itsmaiden flight on December 14.

The helicopter was flownby test pilots, Wg Cdr (Retd)Anil Bhambhani and Gp Capt(Retd) M R Anand VM, theHindustan AeronauticsLimited (HAL) said in a release

here Monday. The flight wasflawless and the prototypewould augment developmentflight testing in conjunctionwith other two Prototypestowards Certification, it said.

Indigenously designed anddeveloped by the state-run avi-ation major HindustanAeronautics Limited, the LightUtility Helicopter (LUH)achieved an important mile-

stone of flying at a 6-km alti-tude here recently.

Based on the feedbackfrom flight testing of PT1 andPT2, PT3 is built to the stan-dard of deliverable configura-tion, the release said.

With this achievement,LUH is now close to produc-tion clearance and the unit isconfident of meeting require-ments of the armed forces,HAL CMD R Madhavan said.

The successful completionof the first flight of LUH’sthird prototype is a quantumleap and will soon replace theaging fleet of Cheetah andChetak helicopters, accordingto HAL Director (Engg andR&D) Arup Chatterjee.

The LUH is a 3-ton classnew generation single enginehelicopter indigenouslydesigned and developed bythe Rotary Wing Research and

Design Centre (RWR&DC) ofHAL, it said. The first flight ofLUH PT-1 was carried onSeptember 6, 2016 and thesecond Prototype flew on May

22, 2017. High altitude cold weath-

er trials of LUH are planned inJanuary 2019, the releaseadded. PTI

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Howrah (WB): Around 400people of several villages of ablock in Howrah district wereaffected by a skin disease sus-pected to have been caused bya fungus, officials said onMonday.

The state health depart-ment sent a medical team tofour villages of Shyampur-iblock during the day.

“The medical team wassent after we were informedthat around 400 of people ofthe area were affected by someskin disease,” Chief MedicalOfficer of Health Dr BhabaniDas said.

It appears that the infec-tion was caused by a type offungus, Das said and assuredthe affected people not topanic.

She said the report of theteam would be sent to thedepartment concerned andthe next course of action wouldbe decided after examining it.

The four villages where theteam visited areMalanchaberia, Kathilabar,Shibpur and Shyampur.

Health department sourcessaid how such a large numberof people have got infected isbeing examined. PTI

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Guwahati: Uttar Pradesh ChiefMinister Yogi Adityanath onMonday alleged that theCongress was involved in the1984 anti-Sikh riots and itshould accept the verdict of theDelhi High Court punishingparty leader Sajjan Kumar forhis role in it.

The Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) leader alleged that theCongress had a history of divid-ing people on religious andcaste lines.

“It is a known fact that theCongress was involved in 1984riots. It should accept the (ver-dict of the) Constitutional insti-tution,” Adityanath said at apress conference here.

The Delhi High Court onMonday convicted the seniorCongress leader for conspiracyto commit murder in the 1984anti-Sikh riots case and sen-tenced him to imprisonment forlife.

On the Bulandshahr vio-lence, the Chief Minister said allthose involved in the incidentwould be arrested and punishedas per law.

“Law is equal for all. Lawwill take its own course. TheGovernment acted very swiftlyin the matter. All those involvedwill be arrested and punished,”he said. There is no law andorder problem in Uttar Pradeshand other BJP-ruled states in thecountry, Adityanath claimed.

Violence broke out inBulandshahr town of UP onDecember 3 over alleged cattleslaughter, leaving a policeinspector and a youth dead asa mob went on a rampagetorching a police post and clash-ing with police, which had toopen fire to control the situa-tion. Adityanath also attackedthe Congress for not acceptingthe Supreme Court’s order onthe Rafale deal. PTI

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Ahmedabad: In the wake ofdrought in parts of Gujarat, theState Government on Mondaysought financial assistance of�1,725 crore from the Centre tocarry out various relief worksin the affected regions.

The demand was put for-ward before a central teamvisiting Gujarat since the lastthree days to assess the waterscarcity situation which hasarisen due to scanty rainfall thismonsoon, said AdditionalChief Secretary, revenue,Pankaj Kumar.

He said the nine-membercentral team, comprising offi-cials from various ministries,had visited Kutch, Morbi,Banaskantha, Patan andSurendranagar districts duringthe three-day tour.

The team Monday held ameeting with Chief Secretary JN Singh and other key officials of the GujaratGovernment at Gandhinagar

upon the completion of theirassessment tour.

Kumar told reporters theState Government’s estimatessuggests that a total of �2,902crore will be needed to carryout various relief works in thedrought-affected regions.

“We have so far declared3,367 villages of 51 taluka inthe state as drought affected.The central team had visitedfive affected districts during the last three days andheld a meeting with ChiefSecretary today,” Kumar toldreporters in Gandhinagar afterthe meeting.

“Our estimates suggeststhat we would need �2,902crore in total to carry out var-ious relief works in affectedregions. Looking at the fundsavailable with us under SDRF(State Disaster Relief Fund) andnorms governing it, we wouldneed additional �1,725 crore,”said Kumar.

He said the team had givena “positive response” on thedemand of central assistance of�1,725 crore put forward by theState Government.

“This fund will be utilisedin paying input subsidies tofarmers, providing drinkingwater to people, for openingcattle camps, providing assis-tance to cattle shelters and todistribute fodder in affectedregions,” the IAS officer said.

He said the StateGovernment is “confident” ofgetting central assistance soon.

Gujarat had received just73.87 per cent of the averagerainfall this monsoon.

Kutch had received just26.51 per cent of average rain-fall, while north Gujarat got42.93 per cent, central Gujarat66.83 per cent, Saurashtra 72.20per cent and south Gujarat gotthe highest of 94.79 per cent,according to Met departmentfigures. PTI

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The Executive Engineer (E), Division-I, CCW, AIR, 8th Floor Soochna Bhawan,New Delhi invites on behalf of President of India, online item rate/ bids for followingwork:-(i) NIT NO. 81/2018-19/EE(E)-I/CCW-AIR/Delhi. Name of work: - Maintenance of

Cultural Center at Sirifort Auditorium, New Delhi during 2018-19 (SH : Operationof 16/35 mm Film/video Projection equipments etc.) (i) Estimated cost Rs.828676/-, (ii) Earnest Money Rs.16574/- Period of completion: - 12 months, Lastdate & Time of submission of bid 3.00 P.M on 26/12/18.

(ii) NTT NO. 82/2018-19/EE(E)-I/CCW-AIR/Delhi. Name of Work: Maintenance ofSound System at Sirifort Auditorium, New Delhi. (SH : Operation of SoundSystem in Audi-I/H/III/IV) (i) Estimated cost of Rs.1157166/-, (ii) Earnest MoneyRs.23143/- Period of completion: - 12 months, Last date & Time of submission ofbid 3.00 P.M on 26/12/18.

(ii) NIT NO. 83/2018-19/EE(E)-I/CCW-AIR/ Delhi. Name of Work: R.M.O. Early FireAlarm & Fire Fighting System at Akashwani Bhawan, New Delhi during 2018 -2019 (SH: Round the clock operation and general maintenance of both systems),(i) Estimated cost Rs.1237812/-, (ii) Earnest Money Rs.24756/- Period ofcompletion: -12 months, Last date & Time of submission of bid 3.00 P.M on26/12/18.

Note: - The bid forms and other details can be obtained from the website: -www.tenderwizard.con/AIR.


davp 22433/11/0019/1819 Executive Engineer (E)-I



Page 10: ˘ˇ - The Pioneer...˘ˇ ˘ ˇ ˆ ˙ ˝˛˚ ˜ ˙ ! " # ˝ " ˇ ˇ $ %&’( ˜˝ ) ˆ ˚ ˇ˛ ˆ ˙

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Equity benchmark Sensexcontinued its winning

streak for a fifth straight sessionon Monday, surging over 307points with gains mainly inauto, metal and financial stocksas investors maintained theirbullish stance in view ofstrengthening rupee, narrow-ing trade deficit and sustainedforeign fund inflows.

Besides, market partici-pants took cues from strongerAsian markets.

The 30-share BSE Sensexclosed at 36,270, showing a riseof 0.85 per cent or 307 points.In the intra-day trade, thegauge hit a high of 36,312.

The Sensex had climbed1,003.21 points in the previousfour sessions.

Similarly, the broader NSENifty ended at 10,888, a gain of0.77 per cent or 83 points, aftershuttling between 10,900.35and 10,844.85.

On a net basis, foreignportfolio investors (FPIs)bought shares worth Rs 861.94crore Friday, while DIIs soldequities to the tune of Rs303.52 crore, provisional datashowed.

The Indian rupee was trad-ing 37 paise higher at 71.53against the US dollar, trackingpositive domestic macro-eco-nomic data.

India’s trade deficit stood atUSD 16.67 billion forNovember 2018 as against USD17.13 billion in the previousmonth.

Analysts attributed the

market per-formance tostabilisationof crude andrupee andalso high-l i g h t e di m p r o v e dd o m e s t i cm a c r o s ’importancein providinga positivemomentumto the market.

Among Sensex con-stituents, Tata Motors emergedas the best performer by surg-ing 4.10 per cent, followed byPowerGrid at 3.77 per cent.

Vedanta Ltd shares climbedas much as 2.21 per cent afterthe NGT set aside the TamilNadu government order forclosure of the company’s cop-per plant at Tuticorin, saying itwas “non sustainable” and“unjustified”.

Other index gainersinclude HDFC (2.89 per cent),Wipro (2.01 per cent), TataSteel (1.88 per cent), CoalIndia (1.88 per cent), HDFCBank (1.75 per cent), IndusIndBank (1.71 per cent), RIL (1.70per cent), ICICI Bank (1.68 percent), NTPC (1.67 per cent),ITC Ltd (1.61 per cent), ONGC(0.95 per cent), Maruti Suzuki(0.71 per cent) and Bajaj Auto(0.55 per cent).

Adani Ports, Yes Bank,M&M, TCS and Sun Pharmatoo were in fine shape and roseup to 0.50 per cent.

Bucking the overall trend,Kotak Bank, Infosys, Bharti

Airtel, Hero MotoCorp, HUL,Asian Paint, Axis bank, L&Tand SBI fell up to 2.50 percent.

Sectorally, the BSE metalindex moved up 2.03 per cent,followed by energy index 1.54per cent, oil and gas 1.34 percent, power 1.31 per cent,infrastrcuture 1.14 per cent,PSU 1.13 per cent, FMCG 0.93per cent and bankex 0.56 percent.

However, capital goods,consumer durables, realty andteck indices ended lower by upto 0.27 per cent.

Overseas, Asian marketsended higher with Japan’sNikkei rising 0.62 per cent, fol-lowed by Shanghai CompositeIndex 0.16 per cent, HongKong’s Hang Seng 0.02 percent, Taiwan index 0.14 percent and Korea KOSPI 0.08 percent.

However, European shareswere lower in late morningdeals. Paris CAC 40 fell 0.40per cent, Frankfurt DAX wasdown 0.03 per cent andLondon’s FTSE dropped 0.18per cent.

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The average of students get-ting campus placements

from management, technicaland engineering institutions isless than 60 per cent,Parliament was informed onMonday.

The information wasshared by Union Minister ofState for HRD Satya Pal Singhin response to a written ques-tion in Lok Sabha.

“As per the placement dataof students available with AllIndia Council for TechnicalEducation (AICTE), averagecampus placement of the grad-uates from management, tech-nical and engineering institu-tions has not reached up to 60per cent,” Singh said.

“To encourage 100 percent placements to the gradu-ates, AICTE has launched out-come-based model curricu-lum for UG and PG levelcourses in engineering andmanagement programmes tomake it industry oriented.Institutions have now beenmade responsible for arranginginternships of their students soas to enhance their employa-bility,” he added.

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Despite thee l e c t o r a l

reverses in keystates faced by theruling BJP, theU n i o nGovernment isunlikely toannounce any large farm loanwaiver or fiscal sops ahead ofgeneral elections, Credit Suissesaid on Monday.

The agricultural distressis impacting 200 million work-ers and can cause politicalchurn and policy experimen-tation, leading to uncertaintiesin times of the ongoing eco-nomic slowdown, the foreignbrokerage said in a report.

There has been speculationover steps the Governmenttakes for the agri sector in wakeof BJP losing assembly electionsin Madhya Pradesh,Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan,with some reports suggesting afarm loan waiver would bearound the corner before thegeneral elections next year.

“We do not expect anynew large farm-loan waivers orother fiscal sops in the run upto elections,” the report said.

The report comes daysafter a group of economistsincluding former RBI governorRaghuram Rajan, pitched fordoing away with farm loanwaivers.

The agri distress-induceduncertainties come at a time ofeconomic slowdown and therewill be cuts to GDP growth

estimates for FY20, which cur-rently stand at 7.5-7.8 per cent,it said.

On the upcoming elec-tions, it said in the last twodecades, there have not beenvisible impact on market direc-tion because of such exercises.

The brokerage said itprefers the industrial sector toperform better than consump-tion, which has been a main-stay for the last few years.

With the expectation ofindustrials doing better, it saidcorporate banks will also havea better showing.

It said industrials haveunderperformed the bench-marks by 48 per cent in the lastdecade, while the recent yearshave witnessed the sectorstocks lagging despite earningrecoveries.

The consumption stocksare “over-priced”, it said, addingthat it is underweight on thesector.

On the global develop-ments, it said they matter lessfor the domestic markets as theforeign portfolio investorsaccount only for a third of thetrading volumes and have notbeen net buyers for the lastthree years now.

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India’s biggest eco-friendlyElectric Vehicle Technology

Expo ‘8th EVEXPO 2018’ is setto begin from December 21 athall No. 7, Pragati Maidan, NewDelhi. The 3 day event shallshowcase the latest and tech-nologically advanced, pollutionfree 2, 3 & 4 wheeled e-vehicles,parts and accessories, chargingsolutions and technology frommore than 150 national andinternational companies.

The Expo shall be inaugu-

rated by Nitin Gadkari, Minister,Road Transport & Highways,Shipping and Water Resources at10:30 am on 21st December atHall No. 7, Pragati Maidan.

Spread over an area of1,10,000 Sq ft, EV EXPO 2018brings to the Electric Vehicleindustry the opportunity tolaunch and showcase, see andunderstand the latest in electricvehicles, components, batterytechnology, accessories andServices for convenient and envi-ronment friendly transportationof passengers and goods.

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Anew airport com-plex at Bamrauli

Airport in Prayagrajdistrict of UttarPradesh was inaugu-rated on Monday byPrime Minister ofIndia, Narendra Modi.The inauguration tookplace in the augustpresence of Ram Naik,Governor of UttarPradesh; YogiAdityanath, ChiefMinister of UttarPradesh, Suresh Prabhu, UnionMinister of Commerce andIndustry and Civil Aviation;Keshav Prasad Maurya, DeputyChief Minister, Uttar Pradesh,Sidharth Nath Singh, Ministerof Medical & Health,Government of Uttar Pradesh,Nand Gopal Gupta “Nandi”,Minister of Civil Aviation,Government of Uttar Pradesh,Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey,Member of Parliament (LokSabha), Shyama Charan Gupta,Member of Parliament (LokSabha), Nagendra Pratap SinghPatel, Member of Parliament(Lok Sabha). In his address, PMapplauded the efforts made byAirports Authority of India to

complete the project of NewAirport Complex in record 11months and congratulated Shri.Suresh Prabhu Minister of CivilAviation and team of AAI.

Airports Authority ofIndia, under the supervision ofthe Ministry of Civil Aviationis committed to provide airconnectivity and develop andupgrade airport infrastructureacross the country. Due to theproactive measures beingundertaken by the govern-ment, Indiais already one of thefastest growing civil aviationmarkets in the world.

The New Airport Complexof BamrauliAirport has beendeveloped by the Airports

Authority of India, at a cost of�164Crores. Bamrauli Airportbelongs to the Indian Air Forceand AAI maintains a CivilEnclave there. The previousCivil Enclave had an area of 0.8acres with constrained opera-tions through a small TerminalBuilding. There was no scopefor expansion of the terminalbuilding at the present location.Hence, a New AirportComplex withmodern terminalbuilding has been constructed.Government of Uttar Pradeshhasacquired and handed over50 acres of land to the AirportsAuthority of India for devel-opment of the New AirportComplex.


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In what has become the highlight of theVibrant Gujarat Global Summits held bienni-

ally, the Government of Gujarat is organising theVibrant Gujarat GlobalTrade Show 2019 (VGGTS2019), from 18-22 January 2019, at the ExhibitionGround, near Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar.With an area of nearly 2,00,000sq. mt, VGGTS2019 will have the largest exhibition area hous-ing 18 domes, showcasing nearly 25 sectors, over2000 stalls and as many companies. The VibrantGujarat Global Summit was conceptualized in2003 by Prime Minister of India and the thenChief Minister of Gujarat, NarendraModi, to rein-force the position of Gujarat as a preferred invest-ment destination within India.

From a modest exhibitionarea of 3000 sq.

mtr comprising 36 stalls in Vibrant Gujarat 2003to an area ofmore than 1,25,000 sq. meters com-prising over 1000 stalls in Vibrant Gujarat2017,the Trade Show over the years has become a sig-nificant platform for companies to exhibittheir products, services and showcase their suc-cess stories to delegatesfrom across the globe.

Nearly 1.5 million visitors and approxi-mately 3000 International Delegates from over100 countries are expected at the Exhibition. Areplica of Statue of Unity, Bullet Train simula-tor, Farm-to-Fabric Pavilion and Fashion Showwith a focus on ‘Make in India’ and Khadi aresome of the attractions at the Trade Show. TheFashion Show in association with GujaratChambers of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) willbe held at the Sabarmati Riverfront on theevening of 19th January.

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Shares of Jet Airways fell over3 per cent after the company’s

former CEO Nikos Kardassis,who made a comeback to thecarrier in an advisory role, hasonce again parted ways with it.

On the BSE, the scrip shed3.79 per cent to settle at �250.10.Intra-day, it lost 4.90 per cent to�247.20, its lowest during the day.

On the NSE, the stocksdeclined 3.44 per cent to close at�250.95. During the trading ses-sion, it had touched a high of�253.90 and a low of �247.10.

On the equity volume front,a combined of over 1.1 croreunits were traded on the stockexchanges during the day.

The Greek-American avi-ation veteran in his thirdcomeback to Naresh Goyal-controlled Jet Airways in Maywas roped in to revive the for-tunes of the full-service carri-er following its dismal financialperformance since January thisyear.

The former chief executiveofficer parted ways with the air-line after Goyal initiated dis-cussions with his investmentpartner Etihad Airways forfurther stake sale to garnerfunds, said another source.

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The board of automakerNissan failed on Monday

to agree a replacement for for-mer chairman Carlos Ghosnafter his arrest for financialmisconduct, as tensions growin the firm’s alliance withRenault.

The Japanese companyremoved Ghosn from his postlast month after he wasdetained on allegations ofunder-reporting his salary.

But it failed Monday to

name a replacement, with CEOHiroto Saikawa saying a com-mittee advising the board onthe decision needed more time.

“It was decided that thecommittee wishes to continuediscussions, we accepted that,”he told a press conferenceafter the board met inYokohama.

Media reports ahead ofthe meeting suggested theboard was unlikely to reach adecision soon, in part becauseof open discord with Frenchautomaker Renault.

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State-owned Oil and NaturalGas Corp (ONGC) and Oil

India Ltd (OIL) spent over�13,000 crore on 115 oil andgas discoveries which weretaken away from them by theGovernment for auctioning toprivate companies, Oil MinisterDharmendra Pradhan said onMonday.

The present BJP-led NDAgovernment took away so-called idle small and marginaldiscoveries of ONGC and OILand auctioned them to privatefirms under Discovered SmallField (DSF) bid rounds.

Under DSF bid round-1, 67discoveries, mostly of ONGC,were auctioned, while in thesecond round, bids for whichare due next month, another 48finds are being auctioned, hesaid in a written reply to a ques-tion in the Lok Sabha.

“As informed by ONGC, anamount of �12,826 crore hasbeen spent by ONGC on thediscoveries/fields identified inthe first and second round ofDiscovered Small Field Policy.An amount of �224.27 crorehas been spent by OIL in this

regard,” he said.ONGC and OIL are not

compensated for the amountthey had spent on discoveries ofthese oil and gas reserves.Unlike State-owned firms, theprivate players are allowed pric-ing and marketing freedom tomake these discoveries viable.ONGC and OIL have stated thatthey could not produce from thediscoveries as they are uneco-nomically at current cap prices.

“With a view to increasingdomestic production of oil andgas, the Government in May2016 launched DiscoveredSmall Field Bid Round-I underwhich 67 discoveries of ONGCand OIL, which had not beenput into production, wereoffered for auction throughinternational competitive bid-ding,” Pradhan said. “The pol-icy has now been extended toits second round to include 48un-monetised discoveries ofONGC and OIL under DSFBid Round-II.”

Under DSF-I, 47 compa-nies participated in the biddingprocess, he said. ONGC andOIL were also allowed to par-ticipate in the auction to getback their own discoveries.

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Despite the pace of highwaysprojects undertaken by

state-run National HighwaysAuthority of India (NHAI) pick-ing up in the last three years, itis likely to remain short by 33-37 per cent of its FY19 target ofcompleting 6,000 km, says Icra.

With a strong unexecutedpipeline and concerted effortson right of way, the NHAI is ona strong footing and is set towitness sustained growth inexecution in FY2019, the high-est ever over the last one decade(FY2010- FY2019), the agencysaid in a statement issued onMonday.

As on March 31, 2018,NHAI has around 15,000 km ofportion, which included pro-jects awarded over the last fiveyears, under completion.

However, pending appoint-ed date (AD) for the hybridannuity model (HAM) projectsshould not be seen as a concernwhen financial closure hasalready been achieved, thereport said.

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Australia were on course fora series-levelling win in thesecond Test after another

below-par batting performancefrom India undid the good workdone by their bowlers on day fouron Monday.

Chasing 287 on a testing sur-face, India were 112 for five atstumps with skipper Virat Kohli's(17) dismissal in the 20th over ofthe second innings dealing a mas-sive blow to the away team'shopes.

The last specialist pair ofHanuma Vihari (24) and RishabhPant (9) were in the middle whenstumps were drawn and they willhave to bat well in the first sessionon day five for India to have anychance of scoring the remaining175 runs.

The ordinary batting effort came aftera sensational performance from pacerMohammad Shami, who took a career bestsix for 56 in Australia's second innings tobring India back into the contest.

Shami removed the set Usman Khawaja(72) and Tim Paine (37) to trigger a battingcollapse that saw Australia being all out for243 after the duo batted out the entire morn-ing session.

At tea, India were reeling at 15 for two

and following the break it got worse for thevisitors as they lost wickets in a bunch.Murali Vijay (20) and Virat Kohli (17) added35 runs for the third wicket before thingswent into a downward spiral.

Kohli was the first to go, with Lyoninducing him forward and the batsmanedged it to slip as the Australian playersbroke into celebration.

Two overs later, Lyon (2-30) got an offbreak to jump off the rough and Vijay was

bowled going for a drive as India werereduced to 55-4.

Ajinkya Rahane (30) came outplaying his shots and took on the bowl-ing with two fours as well as a six. Heput on 43 runs for the fifth wicket withVihari as India started thinking of atleast taking the fight into day five.

But it was not to be, as Rahane hita drive straight to point off JoshHazlewood (2-24) and India plungedto 98-5.

Earlier before tea, KL Rahul (0)played another indecisive stroke andwas bowled off Starc on the fourth ballof the second innings. The biggermoment came when Hazlewood hadCheteshwar Pujara (4) caught behindoff a faint edge in the fourth over toleave India leaning on Kohli onceagain.

This was after a fiery spell fromShami brought India back into the

game. Post lunch, Australia collapsed ina heap as they lost five wickets for 15 runsin the space of eight overs.

Shami was the wrecker-in-chief, taking4-26 after lunch, as his express pace com-bined with short stuff bamboozled theAustralian lower order.

Skipper Paine was the first go, unableto negotiate sharp bounce and gloving toKohli at second slip.

Fit-to-bat Aaron Finch (25) came out tobat next, but lasted only one ball, clipping

down leg side and caught behind. Shami wason a hat trick for the second consecutive Test,but missed out.

An over later though, using the secondnew ball, he got rid of Khawaja with anoth-er sharp rising delivery to pick his fourthfive-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Eight balls later Jasprit Bumrah (3-39)got rid of Pat Cummins (1), bowled off adelivery keeping too low.

Lyon (5) hit out and took Australia past200, but Shami knocked him over in simi-lar fashion to the rest as he picked his bestfigures in Test cricket.

The last wicket pairing of Mitchell Starc(14) and Josh Hazlewood (17 not out) frus-trated the Indian team though, and added36 golden runs for the 10th wicket, takingthe lead past 280. In the morning session,Australia reached 190-4 at lunch.

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Former champions Mumbai claimedthree points against Baroda after

their four-day Elite Group A game endedin a tame draw at the Wankhede Stadiumon Monday.

The only interest left when play com-menced was whether Baroda, who con-ceded a 29-run lead on Sunday, couldskittle out the hosts and 41-time cham-pions cheaply in the second innings andgive themselves enough time to force anoutright victory.

But that was not to be as Mumbai,who resumed at 20 for two, lost the wick-et of captain Siddhesh Lad very earlybefore the remaining batsmen ensuredthat Baroda did not come back into thegame.

Although the other first inningscenturion other than Lad, Shreyas Iyer(30), too, departed before lunch, thelower middle order held fort and tookMumbai to 307 for seven, an overall leadof 336, before declaring the inningsclosed.

Play was then called off with Baroda

not commencing their second innings.In the Mumbai second essay,

Shubham Ranjane (64 in 105 balls)Eknath Kerkar (56 not out in 115 balls)and Shivam Dube, who struck a brisk 76in 60 balls studded with 7 sixes and threefours, got the major portion of the runs.

Baroda got one point from the drawnencounter.

Meanwhile, at Nashik, Saurashtradefeated hosts Maharashtra by 5 wickets.

For Saurashtra, slow-left armorthodox bowlers DharmendrasinhJadeja grabbed seven wickets inthe second innings as he wreakedhavoc on the Maharashtra bats-men.

While chasing, Saurashtra losthalf their side, but eventuallyromped home.

At the Karnail Singh stadium in NewDelhi, Vidarbha hammered Railways by118 runs with Aditya Sarvate taking sixwickets to bowl out Railways for 124 intheir second essay.

While Karnataka took three points astheir game ended in a tame draw againstGujarat on the basis of the first innings

lead at Surat.

��+ �?�� ���������% =�� ����Punjab gained three points as TamilNadu held firm for a draw on the final dayof the Elite Group 'B' match.

Faced with a massive deficit of 264 runs,the visitors saw skipper Baba Indrajith (93),Dinesh Karthik (74) and Vijay Shankar (51not out) get among the runs to defy thePunjab bowlers and finish the day at 383

for 6.The result meant Tamil Nadu,

now on 12 points, is almost out ofcontention for a berth in theknockout phase.

Punjab also has the samenumber of points, but has played

one game less.Five teams from Group 'A' and 'B' put

together will advance to the quarterfinals,based on the number of points accrued.

On a track that was easier to bat as thegame wore on, the Tamil Nadu batsmenmade sure the home side did not get theopening they were seeking in the quest fora win and also six points.

In other Group 'B' matches, Himachal

Pradesh outclassed Andhra Pradesh by aninnings and three runs in Atmar to gainseven points while the Bengal-Hyderabadencounter ended in a draw.

�%���% ��%������� � � %� � ��Tripura hammered Goa by 10wickets in their Elite Group C game.

Tripura were in command from the firstday and it took them less than an over tochase the 8-run target on the final day andadd seven points to their kitty.

Following on Goa batsmen, barringSuyash Prabhudessai (65), faltered againstHarmeet Singh (3-46) and M B Mura Singh(3-55).

Goa began from their overnight scoreof 113/3 but Prabhudessai ran out of part-ners and could not take the side to chal-lenging total.

The target was easily overhauled byTripura.

Meanwhile, at the Palam ground in thenational capital, Services grabbed 7 pointsas they overcame Assam by 10 wickets.

For Services, pacer Diwesh Pathania (5-56) picked his second five-wicket haul of thematch and ended the game with a 10-wick-

et haul.Chasing 72 for an outright win, Services

openers Nakul Verma (39 not out) andNavneet Singh (31 not out) took the sidehome with ease in 18.1 overs.

And at Lucknow, Jharkhand took threepoints after their match against UttarPradesh ended in a draw.

� � ��� �� ����% =+�%� ���Pacer Ishwar Chaudhary grabbeda six-wicket haul as Sikkim thrashedMizoram by 105 runs in their Plate Groupfixture.

In Dehradun, Nagaland's Arbar Kaziproduced a strong rearguard fightback with157 not out in an unbroken 137-run sev-enth wicket partnership with NiteshLohchab (44 not out) to salvage a drawagainst group leaders Uttarakhand.

This was Uttarakhand's first draw afterfive successive wins as they had to settle forthree points on basis of their first inningslead.

Needing two wickets to seal the win onthe final day, Sikkim bundled out Mizoramfor 236 in 74.5 overs to seal their third winwith two sessions to spare.


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The onfield verbal duel between rivalcaptains Virat Kohli and Tim Paine

has been one of the talking points of thesecond Test but Australia pacer JoshHazlewood Monday played it down, say-ing it was done in good spirits.

"I think it was all good fun, it's quitecompetitive out there as you know andthere's going to be words from time totime but it was all in good spirits,"Hazlewood said.

"I don't think we read too much intoit, we go about our work as we see fit andthe Indians can do what they like. Wecontrol what we control and our behav-iour is what we control. We'll worryabout that and let everything else takecare of itself."

It worked out well for Australia inthe end as Kohli was dismissed for 17in the second innings as India crashedto 55-4 in their chase. But, Hazlewoodsaid Australia was not targeting a sin-gle batsman.

"No definitely not. I probably see(Cheteshwar) Pujara as the big wicketas far as when I'm bowling, the glue thatholds them together I think. He's bat-ted the most balls this series and scorednearly the most runs.

"I see Pujara as a big wicket andAjinkya Rahane as well. So the Nos 3,4, 5 as the key wickets and we see it abit unstable in the other parts of theorder. Certainly not all the focus is onVirat Kohli," he said.

Australia were on course for aseries-levelling win after reducing Indiato 112-5 at stumps on day four, butHazlewood said there were still somework to do for them for another homevictory.

"I didn't go to the UAE, so it feels abit of a long time between wins, butthere's still a lot of work to do tomor-row. Anytime I'm playing in Australiawe feel pretty confident, especially thebowlers feel very confident in getting 20wickets and a result," he said.

"Last year, we got there four timesout of five, so we are feeling pretty con-fident. It's just putting that into practicemore often than not this summer," headded.

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Warring captains Virat Kohli andTim Paine on Monday resumed

their verbal duel, forcing on-field umpireChris Gaffaney to warn both the play-ers on the fourth morning of the secondTest between India and Australia.

During the 71st over bowled byJasprit Bumrah, the respective captainswere seen exchanging words after Kohlidecided to field close to the non-strik-er and Gaffaney had to step in.

"You're the one that lost it yesterday.Why are you trying to be cool today?"Paine told Kohli.

"That's enough, that's enough,"Gaffaney interrupted.

"Come on, play the game. You guysare the captains. Tim, you're the captain."

Paine replied: "We're just having aconversation. There's no swearing ...Keep your cool Virat."

Kohli said something which could-n't be picked up by the microphones.

A couple of balls later, the warringduo almost came close to chest bump-ing when the India skipper walked infront of Paine while he was completinga run.

Kohli later appeared to plead hiscase to square-leg umpire KumarDharmasena as Paine and UsmanKhawaja continued to extend Australia'ssecond-innings lead.

"I reckon it's a sign Kohli is startingto lose it," former Test bowler DamienFleming said on SEN radio.

India commentator SanjayManjrekar wasn't too pleased withKohli's behaviour but former Australianskippers Ricky Ponting and MichaelClarke said they had no issue with theverbal exchange between the two cap-tains and that no line has been crossedso far.

Tensions had flared-up towards theend of day three with Kohli and Paineexchanging verbal volleys as the gameheaded for a nail-biting finish.

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Injured Prithvi Shaw was on Monday ruledout of the entire Test series against

Australia with the BCCI replacing theyoung opener with Mayank Agarwal.

Shaw had suffered a left ankle injurywhile attempting a catch in a practicegame against Cricket Australia XI.

The 19 year old from Mumbai hadscored 66 in that game in Sydney.

"The All-India Senior SelectionCommittee has named MayankAgarwal as his replacement," saida BCCI release.

With KL Rahul failing terri-bly in two Tests, the team man-agement may hand Test debutto 27-year-old Agrawal, whoplays for Karnataka.

Rahul scored 2 and44 in Adelaide butmanaged 2 and 0 inPerth, where Indiaare staring at a

defeat on the final day.Agarwal who has played 46 first class games,

scored 25 and 53 for his Ranji side against Gujaratin his last match.

The selectors have also added all-rounder Hardik Pandya to India'ssquad for the third and fourth Test tobe played in Melbourne and Sydneyrespectively.

The third Test is scheduled tobegin in Melbourne from December26.

��� F���@� �Virat Kohli (captain), M Vijay,KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara,

Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain),Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma,Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper),Parthiv Patel, R Ashwin, RavindraJadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, MohammedShami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav,Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar,

Hardik Pandya and MayankAgarwal.

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Pacer Mohammed Shami onMonday said India missed a trick

in not playing a full-time spinner ona pitch where Australia tweakerNathan Lyon has already baggedseven wickets.

"The team management makesthese decisions. We can't do anythingabout it. We had one spinner whodidn't bowl badly. (But) If you ask me,I feel there should have been a spin-ner, but these things depend onyour management," said Shami.

"After such a long time we havean Indian pace attack where all thebowlers are fast and are bowling goodlines and lengths. Four years ago weweren't even this experienced. Youmust have seen the difference in ouraccuracy from four years ago."

India lead the four-match series1-0 after their 31-run win in theopening Test at Adelaide.

"It helps a lot to have a goodbowler at the other end, who has thesame mentality as you and is keep-ing things tight.

"This keeps the pressure up, andsometimes you don't even realisewhen the game turns your way. Thebowler at the other end is sometimesjust as important," he added, heap-ing praise on the fast-bowling unit.

Talking about his career-bestspell, the pacer said, "I always try tobowl a good line and length. Rest isup to your luck, how many wicketsyou get or not. Your approach has tobe good. If you are playing Test crick-et, you have to focus on your line andlength. You will get the wickets auto-matically.

"Sometimes when you have along partnership, you have to wait,especially on a wicket like this wherewe were beating them again andagain. It wasn't as if we were bowl-ing bad balls, but even on bowlinggood lengths we were not gettingwickets. As soon as we got a wicketthe momentum changed and weused it."

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Lionel Messi continued hissublime form by netting his

31st La Liga hat-trick asBarcelona thrashed Levante 5-0to regain their three-point leadat the top of the table.

The 31-year-oldArgentinian arrived in Valenciahaving scored two free-kicks inlast weekend's derby thumpingof Espanyol. He took his goalstally for the season to 20 after avirtuoso display, while also tee-ing up Luis Suarez's 35th-minuteopener and Gerard Pique's latefifth.

Barca were under pressureafter Atletico Madrid and sec-ond-placed Sevilla had bothmoved level on points with theCatalan giants.

But after resting his key starsfor their final ChampionsLeague group-stage matchagainst Tottenham in midweek,coach Ernesto Valverde saw hisrefreshed side cruise to a thirdstraight league win without con-ceding a goal.

"At the beginning it was dif-ficult, they squeezed us and hada chance that hit the woodwork,"said Valverde on Sunday.

Levante started the gamebrightly and visiting goalkeep-er Marc-Andre ter Stegen wasforced into an early save byGhanaian Emmanuel Boateng.

But Barca did not take longto start moving through thegears, with Messi curling widefrom long range before testingOier Olazabal in the Levantegoal with a free-kick.

Just seconds after Boatenghammered a left-footed strikeagainst the crossbar, the reign-ing Spanish champions brokethe deadlock as Messi jinkedthrough a mesmerised homedefence and picked out Suarezwho volleyed home.

But Levante, who had endedBarcelona's dreams of goingthrough last season's La Ligacampaign unbeaten with aremarkable 5-4 victory in thepenultimate game, came close toa quick response as Jose LuisMorales fired over.

The match was all but endedas a contest when Messi boredown on goal two minutesbefore half-time and drilled lowinto the net.

"I'm happy to have wonhere, because last year we cameand they put five goals past ushaving gone the whole seasonunbeaten, so we knew about thedanger of Levante and it was amatch we had marked out,"added Valverde.

He wasted little time afterthe restart to add his second inthe 47th minute, sweeping homeJordi Alba's clever cutback,before completing his treble

with a simple tap-in from ArturoVidal's square pass on the hourmark. Messi has scored fivegoals in two league games sincefinishing only fifth in the votingfor the Ballon d'Or earlier thismonth.

A bad evening for Levanteworsened with 14 minutes toplay, as left-back Erick Cabacowas sent off for a reckless lungeon Ousmane Dembele. Centre-back Pique added further glossto the scoreline in the 88thminute, rampaging forward tocollect Messi's pass, before keep-ing his cool and rolling the ballhome.

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Liverpool will take on fellow five-time winners Bayern Munich in thelast 16 of the Champions League,

while Jose Mourinho's strugglingManchester United face French giantsParis Saint-Germain.

Holders Real Madrid were pairedwith Ajax in Monday's draw in Nyon asthe Spaniards attempt to lift the trophyfor the fifth time in six seasons, whileLionel Messi and Barcelona will playLyon.

Both Liverpool and Bayern have arich tradition in the competition, eachwinning it five times and Liverpool werebeaten finalists last season.

Liverpool are the current form sideof the two and sit top of the PremierLeague while Bayern, under new coachNiko Kovac, have been far short of theirown high standards in the Bundesligathis season.

"That's the team ofthe hour, the leagueleaders in England, theyare playing really goodfootball, very physical,really stepping it up.We are looking forwardto it," Bayern sporting director HasanSalihamidzic said of the tie withLiverpool.

"A tough cookie, but that's some-thing to look forward to as a player."

%� ���� = ���Pep Guardiola's Manchester City

take on German side Schalke 04 whileAtletico Madrid, beaten finalists in 2014and 2016, come up against CristianoRonaldo and Italian heavyweightsJuventus.

"A very difficult match, with fewgoals," Juve vice-president Pavel Nedvedpredicted.

"No doubt Cristiano is the man ofthe Champions League, he has alwaysshown that, with goals and victories. Ourteam is very strong and we can be calmand confident."

Bundesliga leaders BorussiaDortmund will meet Tottenham Hotspurfor the second season in a row, havingfaced each other in last year's group stage,while Roma meet two-time formerchampions Porto.

"We've already met them(Tottenham) twice. A strong opponent,

the chances are at 50-50. The team hastop players. We are also strong, it will beinteresting," Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told Sky.

Meanwhile, United go into a firstever meeting with PSG trailing PremierLeague leaders Liverpool by 19 pointsfollowing Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Anfield,and face a formidable task against a sidefeaturing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe —the world's two most expensive players.

Lyon coach Bruno Genesio says histeam can draw on their group stage dis-plays against City — a 2-1 win and 2-2draw — ahead of their clash with five-time European champions Barca.

"We'll need to pull off two big per-formances, in the first leg and in thereturn, but we can do it. We did it againstCity," said Genesio.

"It's tough. They are a team that Lyonhas already played against but never beat-en. Barca are more experienced andstronger but over two matches anythingis possible," Gerard Houllier, who holdsan advisory role at the French club, toldRMC Sport.

Teams that finished in second placein the group stage will host the first legson February 12/13 and 19/20 with thereturn matches scheduled for March 5/6and 12/13.

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