MONDAY NINTH ROUND OF TALKS OVER LAC STAND-OFF UNDERWAY 25 INDIA FIRM ON DEMANDING STATUS QUO ANTE JANUARY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in While India is demanding that China pull back its troops from all stand-off points and restore status quo ante along the Line of Actual Control, the latter wants India to first withdraw its soldiers deployed on strategic heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso lake. Indian jawans continue to hold their positions despite the merciless Himalayan winter facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard SARADHA SCAM TMC TARGETS SUVENDU ADHIKARI Mamata’s nephew digs out ‘letter’ by Sudipta Sen to accuse him of extortion A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 The Corps Commander-level talks to address the situation in Eastern Ladakh began at Moldo on Chinese side on Sunday OF BILATERAL TALKS HAD TAKEN PLACE ON NOVEMBER 6 WORRY OVER PROPOSAL TO TIE FOREST TO WPI INDEX WHY CONCERN OVER HIGH NPV RATES Farmers from Nashik district walk to attend the protest march in Mumbai; farmers from Punjab with their tractors near Patiala on their way to Delhi on Sunday | PTI Delhi Chalo: Men, machines march to capital for R-Day show of strength UP Police beats hasty retreat after flak over attempts to stop agitating farmers moving on tractors E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE stage is set for one of biggest rallies to be held in India. Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are on their way to the national capital to take out their tractor parade on Republic Day in protest against the new agricul, ture laws. Routes have been finalised after heated discussions between farmers and police officials, who are on high alert. Numbers are difficult to estimate, but thousands are set to march on Delhi and NCR Roads after the official Republic Day parade. While the Delhi Police finally announced the route of the rally its Uttar Pradesh counterpart , tied itself in knots by issuing a circular advising fuel pump owners not to tank up tractors ahead of the kisan parade. “You must be aware that high alert has been sounded in the state and Section 144 clamped in view of the Republic Day Farmers have also . announced to take out (their) tractor march. Therefore, you are advised not sell diesel to any tractor or in a can...,” an order issued by the SHO of Sohawal police station said. As the order, a copy of which went viral, came in for criticism from netizens, the UP Police hastily withdrew the circular. Ghazipur SP Om Prakash Singh, though, said the order was issued two days ago and has been withdrawn. “It was just to advise pump owners that they should give fuel only to tractors which have full fitness to minimise accidents on the highway he said. ,” The UP Police also held a meeting on Sunday evening to chalk out a strategy to tackle the issue, a day after they foiled an attempt by hundreds of farmers to reach Raj Bhavan in Lucknow. Over 100 farmer leaders were put under house arrest in western UP, while police conducted checking of vehicles at district borders and stopped tractors from proceeding to Delhi. There were hectic discussions between police officials and farmer leaders at UP Gate to finalise security, traffic and other arrangements. Sources said security was beefed up at the UP Gate protest site. However, IG (Meerut Range) Praveen Kumar said farmers would not be stopped from entering Delhi if Delhi Police allow them. “There will be no use of force. Police personnel have been roped in from different districts in western UP, besides deployment of Rapid Action Force and other security personnel. At UP Gate, we are working with volunteers of farmer unions to ensure there is no movement of CONTINUED ON P7 outsiders,” he said. ROUTES FOR KISAN PARADE 63-64 km TIKRI BORDER 62-63 km Auchandi border Bawana Kanjhawala KMP Expressway Apsara Sanjay Gandhi border Transport Nagar DELHI Najafgarh Hapur Road KMP Expressway E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Guwahati 46 km GHAZIPUR BORDER Large numbers As of now, about 12,00013,000 tractors are parked at various border points — 7,000-8,000 at Tikri, 5,000 at Singhu and 1,000 at Ghazipur — police said DOs & DON’Ts Women are to be treated with respect. Don’t quarrel with policemen — these are among the Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s guidelines for farmers participating in the event. It also advised farmers not to misbehave with journalists. Neither weapons nor any provocative slogans are allowed. Trolleys, other than those showcasing special tableaux, will not be allowed. Amit Shah addressing a political rally at Nalbari in Assam on Sunday | PTI Tractor rally can enter from three border points: Police E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE official word on farmers’ tractor parade finally came on Sunday when the Delhi Police said permission had been granted to hold the rally from three border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — with the entire route covering a total of 170 km, of which 100 km will be in Delhi. Addressing a press conference, Deependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence), said the rally would be conducted after the Republic Day Parade ends. There will be no disturbance of the Republic Day celebration and security ar rangements, INSIDE Pathak added. Police said barricades would be removed to allow the farmers to enter the national capital. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, umbrella body of the farmer organisations, had assured that the protesters would later return to their respective destinations, police said. The participating tractors should be distributed in a way that the rally is concluded in a peaceful and disciplined way, police said, adding that adequate security will be provided to the parade. “We have spoken to Haryana and UP Police officers about how it will be conducted in a convenient way Pathak said. ,” INVISIBLE FORCES NOT ALLOWING AGITATION TO BE RESOLVED: TOMAR IN what is being seen as a severe threat to the country’s green cover, the Union environment ministry has proposed that forests be treated as tradable commodity having value as per the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), to cut down the cost of diversion of pristine forests for infrastructure projects. In a draft note on the revision of the Net Present Value (NPV) of forest land diverted for non-forest purposes sent to a Committee of Secretaries (CoS), the ministry on January 22 suggested the interim arrangement of aligning the rates with the WPI till the information sought for revision in NPV rates as proposed by experts of the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, are compiled. “Keeping in view that more than three years had elapsed since the NPV came into force, the MoEF&CC proposed to revise the NPV based on the WPI,” said the ministry in the draft note, a copy of which is with this newspaper. The sticking point was articulated in clause 1.30 of the note. It said the IIFM had proposed scaling up NPV rates by as much as four times the existing figures, and warned that the higher tariff could impact ongoing power and other infrastructure sector projects. To soften the blow, the ministry is seeking to align the rates with the WPI, as the escalation that way would not be as steep. However, experts expressed concern over the proposed new system because high NPV rates are meant to be a deterrent, but WPI is a facilitator. Kanchi Kohli, Legal Research Director at CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program, said: “This new proposal further embeds forests as a commodity to be traded through instruments such as the ‘Wholesale Price Index’. It is not focused at protecting forests or forest rights. Ironically the success of this exercise is only dependent on more forests being lost.” Cong, AIDUF will open gates to infiltrators: Shah SINGHU BORDER Nangloi Jharoda If it was only timber and/or minor forest produce, it is acceptable but dense forest as commodity is the most inappropriate index. NPV is to dissuade people to look for forest land; but WPI will encourage them Manoj Misra, former Indian Forest Service officer Police will keep the tractor rally under strict watch, saying there chances of disturbances at the event Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway The note says high NPV rates could lead to a surge in the Centre’s import bills and render smaller projects unviable. It pointed out that the ministries of steel, coal and power as also the NITI Aayog had flagged reservations about the proposed abrupt jump in the rates R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi P7 FUTURE LEADER All these divisions — Assamese and non-Assamese, Bodos and nonBodos — are all created by sections with vested interests to fulfill political interests and not for people’s welfare Amit Shah, Home Minister LISTING out the achievements of the BJP-led government in Assam, Union Home Minister Amit Shah pitched for another term to ‘safeguard’ the state’s interests. Shah on Sunday said the Congress-AIUDF combine would open ‘all gates’ to infiltrators if voted to power. Addressing his first political rally in the poll-bound state, Shah took a swipe at the Congress for calling the BJP communal by questioning its alliance with Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front, which draws support mainly from Muslims. At the Vijay Sankalp Samaroh, Shah asserted that an era of peace and development has been ushered in Assam by the BJP. Appealing to the people to vote for BJP, Shah said Assam has become ‘bullet-free and agitation-free’ and the next BJP dispensation will make it ‘floodfree’, calling floods its biggest problem. EXPRESS READ RISKY MANY BRIDGES NOT USABLE Several bridges, FOBs are either dirty, encroached or poorly lit PAGE 5 Shah projected his party as the only alternative capable of safeguarding and promoting the regional culture. He also took a dig at the Assam Jatiya Parishad, a party floated by former AASU leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi, which is tipped to ally with Akhil Gogoi-led Raijor Dal, without naming them, saying they are in the poll arena to help the Congress by trying to cut into votes of the BJP . These two parties are stridently opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and have alleged the CAA is a ‘threat’ to Assam’s culture and identity The . All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which has led mass agitations over the issue of regional identity in the past, has backed Assam Jatiya Parishad. Hitting out at the Congress, the Home Minister said the party had adopted the British Empire’s policy of ‘divide and rule’ by pitting different groups of people against one another, leading to bloodshed and loss of lives of thousands of youth. Prachanda faction expels PM Oli from party KATHMANDU: Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was expelled from the general membership of the Nepal Communist Party by the splinter faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Sunday for alleged anti-party activities, further intensifying the infighting within the ruling party. A Standing Committee meeting of the Prachanda-Madhav Kumar Nepal faction decided to expel Oli from the party. The dissident faction alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party chairman. P9 GREEN CARPET CM praise for teen who took his seat Chepauk pitch to have ‘English’ look for Tests V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun HARIDWAR teenager Shrishti Goswami, who took charge as chief minister of Uttarakhand for a day on Sunday, received words of praise from Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Lauding 19-year-old Goswami, Rawat said: “Such opportunities provide our future leaders insight and experience of what goes on in building the nation. She did very well as Child CM of the Children’s Vidhan Sabha. Our daughters are more than capable of bringing in transforma- tion in family, society, nation and the world.” The resident of Daulatpur village and student of BSc agriculture reviewed various state government-run schemes like Atal Ayushman Scheme, Smart City Project, Home Stay Scheme of the tourism department and other developmental projects. “I am thankful to the honourable chief minister for this opportunity. I tried to give my best and will do the same in future as a responsible citizen of the country,” she said. Goswami became CM of Bal Vidhan Sabha in 2018. On her one-day stint, she worked from noon to 3 pm, during which officials of around 12 departments including PWD, education, women and child development, tourism and others made detailed presentations. Earlier in the day Dhan Singh , Rawat, protocol minister, welcomed her in Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly building in Gairsain, Chamoli district. Srishti’s mother Sudha is a housewife and her father Praveen Puri runs a grocery shop. “Our family as well as the village and the neighbourhood are proud of her. We are thankful to the CM and others for this,” said Shrishti’s father. V E N K ATA K R I S H N A B @ Chennai V RAMESH KUMAR has an MBA in international business. Growing up in India’s textile hub Tiruppur, he wanted to be an athlete. He even represented Tamil Nadu in 100m hurdles in Open Nationals. An entrepreneur who runs a garment and dyeing factory these , days he is camped in Chennai for some other reason — to make a dramatic overhaul of the MA Chidambaram pitch which will host the first two Tests against England starting from February 5. If Ramesh is to be believed, there will be grass on the pitch, which cricket fans are used to seeing more in England than in the Indian subcontinent. The 43-year-old might be young for a curator but, in TN cricket, he already has a reputation for making sporting wickets. Ramesh was the one who laid turf wickets at Salem, Tiruppur and Coimbatore: all BCCI approved venues to host firstclass cricket. It was this trait that made TNCA give him this responsibility. The Chepauk pitch over the couple of seasons had come under criticism, including from MS Dhoni for its slow nature. The last time Chennai hosted a Test in 2016, it provided a flat strip and a repeat of it would also affect India’s chances of making to the Word Test Championship final. “I was sur prised when I got the call. I have done a few agegroup tournaments and have assisted other curators for IPL. But this is the first time I’m making a pitch from scratch. I didn’t expect it this soon” Ramesh said. After getting the outfield ready, Ramesh’s eyes are now on the square, which has four pitches. “It is a challenging task because we are hosting back-to-back Tests with a threeday gap. It is unprecedented in India. It is hectic because preparations for both pitches are happening simultaneously .” Chepauk pitch has traditionally assisted spinners. Ramesh expects this to be the same, but with a googly “ Chepauk pitch . A with an English look is being made. I believe there should be an equal contest between bat and ball. Pacers, spinners and batsmen should have something on the pitch and that is what cricket is all about.” Teams will get similar pitches at the nets. “If the pitch is green, so should the practice turfs,”Ramesh said.
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