MONDAY Foreign plot brewing to defame Indian tea, says Modi 08 FEBRUARY, 2021 The prime minister says international forces are trying to attack India’s tea-based identity, but doesn’t name anyone epaper.morningstandard.in `584 crore facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard Given by Assam govt under a scheme for tea workers NAVY MAN’S DEATH FAMILY REJECTS KIDNAP ANGLE CENTRE REACHING OUT TO FARMERS A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI PAGES 12 J8.00 Assam’s happiness and progress are its tea gardens. Who knows the taste of Assam tea better than me? That’s why I always see the progress of tea workers with the progress of Assam, he said GLACIER BURST LEAVES AT LEAST 10 DEAD, 125 MISSING IN UTTARAKHAND’S CHAMOLI Five bridges washed away, 17 villages cut off after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier breaks off; flash floods destroy a couple of power plants in ecologically fragile Himalayan state V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun A glacier break at Dhauliganga river in the villages of Reni and Tapovan, 26km from Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, triggered a massive flood and claimed at least 10 lives on Sunday The number of casualties can . rise because nearly 125 labourers working at a power project in Tapovan-Reni are missing. Disaster struck at around 10 am. A total of 17 villages got totally cut off as five bridges were washed away Residents of seven of these moved . to lower places. People of the 10 other villages are being provided help, said officials. Damages were reported at Tapovan dam on Alaknanda river as well as the 13.2 megawatt Rishiganga hydropower project. Around 176 workers were working on these projects. Close to 250 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Indian Army I am requesting and Indian Air Force joined everyone not to spread panic by the rescue work, said Uttarasharing any old khand Chief Minister Trivenvideos. All dra Singh Rawat. necessary steps The state government has have been taken announced `4 lakh each for to deal with the the families of the deceased. situation. Please “All our efforts are focused on have patience reaching people and providing T S Rawat, relief. Our brave forces are doUttarakhand CM ing their job and we have support from the whole nation. Essential items, medicines, choppers of Indian Army, Air Force and state government are on standby the CM added. ,” The labourers missing are mostly from the state. Some are from Nepal and western UP ITBP . rescued 16 people trapped in a tunnel of a dam which is a part of the hydroproject. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Rawat and assured all help. “India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there,” he said In many places, rescue teams are having difficulties in moving the deposition of debris. They are using ropes to reach the spots. A tunnel is also being dug. Response teams are also evacuating people from danger zones. To prevent Alaknanda river from overflowing, the flow of Bhagirathi river has been stopped by closing the gates of GVK dam in Srinagar and Virbhadra dam in Rishikesh. Police issued an advisory stating that rivers will cross the danger level at Srinagar, Rishikesh and Haridwar. The CM visited Tapovan and P7 Raini villages to review the situation. Dhauliganga hydropower project in Chamoli district CHAMOLI CALAMITY 1 Part of Nanda Devi glacier breaks off Uttarakhand INDIA 2 Major natural disasters 1991 6.8 quake in undivided UP in October 1991 killed over 760 people, thousands of houses destroyed 1998 Malpa village in Pithoragarh district destroyed in landslide; 255 people, including 55 Kailash pilgrims, killed Rishiganga power plant in Reni swept away Bridge across the mountains destroyed Rishiganga merges with Dhauliganga river Rishiganga River 3 4 Dhauliganga River Record water level at 11 am in Joshimath area (Top) The NTPC hydel project at Tapovan was extensively damaged; (below) rescue work underway | PTI Rescuing of labourers from Tapovan tunnel 1999 6.8 quake hit Chamoli district killing over 100 people. Rudraprayag district, too, hit 2013 Cloudbursts in June 2013 caused massive floods and landslides. 5,700+ killed; over 3 lakh pilgrims trapped for weeks 2 Army Cheetah copters on site 4 Army columns to Mallari Axis 2 Columns on standby Global warming in focus, experts say govts didn’t learn from past tragedies E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ Dehradun IT was a glacial break alright, but the jury is still out on how and why it actually happened. However, the mismatch between the haste in commissioning projects in the ecologically-fragile zone and the need to fortify mitigation mechanism suggests it was a disaster waiting to happen. Experts blame it on the lessons not learnt by successive governments, given Uttarakhand’s history of natural disasters. A former glaciologist at De- hradun’s Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, D P Dobhal, called for a detailed probe. “Lake formation must have happened, which breached today and caused the floods,” Dobhal said, adding that heavy sediments in the floodwater indicate an avalanche or glacial debris could have triggered the burst. “It will take time to ascertain the reasons as had happened with the 2013 disaster in Kedarnath. After investigation it was confirmed to be a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF).” The possibility of the inci- dent being GLOF has rung alarm bells among the glaciologists. Given that it occurred in winter, it would signal that global warming was a major contributing factor. In 2014, a high-powered panel had recommended scrapping of 23 out of 24 hydel projects slated for construction above an altitude of 2,000 metres. “Altitude above it is para glacial region, where heavy constructions should be avoided.” But the recommendation was not acted upon, said activist Aakash Vashishta. Local says fears came true as officials did nothing to stop blasting EX P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ Dehradun Locals inspect the site near Dhauliganga hydropower project at Reni village | PTI AT Reni village that is at the epicentre of the tragedy Sand, eep Nautiyal was lazing around on a bright and sunny Sunday when he heard a big roar from the hills. He looked around and spotted the horrible avalanche menacingly approaching at least 5 km away . His first instinct was to rush out of his house and alert fellow villagers to flee, shouting ‘Bhago Bhago’. “Suddenly we heard a mix of a roar and a slight tremor. We saw this huge wave coming down the mountains washing off everything in its way said Nautiyal. ,” The village of 300-odd people located near the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve mostly has shepherds, farmers and workers. “Landslides during monsoon are common, but this avalanche in winter is shocking,” said Shankar Rana, another resident. At least five locals are feared missing and 180 sheep and goat were swept away by the flash floods. Locals in the vicinity of Dhauliganga river have been moved to secure locations. Sangram Singh, another resident of Reni village who had filed a PIL in Uttarakhand High Court in 2019 to stop the use of explosives, said: “We were fearing this would happen... The court had directed the government to stop using explosives and take necessary steps, but nothing happened.” Reaching out to the tea workers, he said the Centre has alloted I1,000 crore for the sector in the budget to uplift their lot RILED BY CHAI IN THUNBERG TOOLKIT? During his poll campaign rally in the tea producing state’s Dhekiajuli on Sunday, Modi was apparently referring to activist Greta Thunberg’s controversial ‘toolkit’, wherein one of the action points was to ‘disrupt yoga and chai image of India’. The other target perhaps was a Greenpeace study in 2014 that claimed Assam tea growers overused pesticides CONSPIRATORS WILL NOT TASTE SUCCESS: MODI EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Guwahati Raini Chak Lata 1,388 m PTI Seeks CBI probe even as Maha cops inquire call details of deceased IN poll-bound Assam, Prime Narendra Modi on Sunday warned the people of cosnpirators who are not only conspiring to defame India but also its soft power like tea. “As I talk about the tea workers, I want to tell you of a conspiracy hatched to defame the country. The conspirators have gone to such extent that they are not sparing even the Indian tea. They want the image of Indian tea to be tarnished worldwide, systematically Modi told a ,” crowd after remotely inaugurating and laying the foundation stones of some projects at a programme in Dhekiajuli. “The evidence that we have suggests the forces are seated abroad, ready to launch an attack on India’s tea-based identity .” The tea industry in Assam is about 172 years old. There are more than 100 tea estates in the Northeast state. Tea workers and everyone DELHI FUND FACTOR IN CIVIC WAR OUT IN OPEN who drinks tea will seek an answer from the political parties for maintaining silence on it, he said. “But I want to tell the conspirators that no matter how much you conspire, the country won’t allow you to succeed. The tea workers will win this battle. Those who are conspiring to launch an attack on the Indian tea, they are not strong enough to confront the strength of our tea workers.” T he PM underscored steps initiated to better the lives of tea workers. He spoke about the Cha Bagichhar Dhan Puraskar Mela scheme under which Assam has transferred `584 crore to the bank accounts of 7.5 lakh tea workers in three instalments. “Assam’s happiness and progress are in its tea gardens. The red tea of Sonitpur is known for its special flavour. Who knows the taste of Assam tea better than me? That’s why I always see the progress of tea workers with Assam’s progress.” Rivals BJP and AAP attack each other on allocation and utilisation of funds ahead of by-elections, slated to be held by February end, in five municipal wards in the national capital | P5 ‘Disinvestment policy not akin to selling family silver’ E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Mumbai The government’s latest disinvestment policy including the proposal to privatise two staterun banks is not akin to “selling the family silver” as alleged by the opposition, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday . The budget proposals to divest stakes, which includes the sale of the two banks and a general insurer, have come for criticism from the Opposition. Sitharaman said that the government’s focus is to strengthen the PSUs and make sure they professionally run themselves. “It should be looked at with the correct perspective. It is not as the opposition says as ‘selling the family silver’. Family silver should be strengthened. It should be your strength.” She reiterated that the government would have bare minimum presence in the strategic sectors where it is very important to stay . Despite reforms of the past, Sitharaman said, socialist aggage’ hindered businesses, and many state-run companies have been lacking professional expertise to grow or are present in sectors which are not strategically important. The idea is to ensure that there are a few state-run companies which achieve scale to deliver on the aspirations of India. Honesty declaration on residence wall Probe into suicide reveals girl trafficked six times mandatory for legislators in Bihar E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna PERHAPS in a first such move, legislators of Bihar will now declare in writing outside their houses that neither they nor their family members have anything to do with crime, child marriage and violation of prohibition norms. On the occasion of Bihar Assembly centenary celebrations, speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha said some new guidelines for MLAs are being issued. This self declaration of no involvement with crimes related to anti-prohibition and child marriages will have to be written outside the main entrance of the residences of the MLAs. There are 243 MLAs in Bihar, of which 125 belong to the ruling NDA alliance. Prior to this initiative, which will soon be implemented, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had made it mandatory to write on the walls of government schools, buildings and offices the seven sins, including wealth without work, pleasure with conscience, described by Mahatma Gandhi. After the Speaker’s announcement, Nitish praised the initiative and suggested that a set of two books of Gandhi’s ideologies should also be gifted to each MLA by the education department. The CM added that legislators represent the people and their aspirations. “We must know that MLAs are the representatives of the people and the people sitting in the government are the servants of the people,” he said. We must know that MLAs are the representatives of the people and the people sitting in the government are the servants of the people —Nitish Kumar, Bihar CM A horrific and tragic tale of injustice has shaken Madhya Pradesh. Brought from the tribal-dominated region by a couple in the name of a job last July, an 18-year-old girl from Chhattisgarh was allegedly sold six times in MP and UP in two months before committing suicide in September, 2020. The police has busted a human-trafficking racket run by a young couple, who not only sold the aforementioned girl, but also demanded money from her parents, saying their daughter would be killed if they didn’t pay up. The girl from Suji Bahar village of Kansabel area of Chhat- tisgarh’s Jashpur district was persuaded by Pancham Singh Rai and Savita (wife’s name changed) to come with them and promised a job. But they sold her to one Kallu Raikwar for `20,000. The horror tale didn’t end there. She was subsequently trafficked to five more persons, who have been identified as Harendra Singh Bundela, Rajpal Singh Parmar, Deshraj Kushwah, Munna Ku s h w a h a n d S a n t o s h Kushwah. They live in different villages in UP’s Lalitpur district. The sordid saga came to the fore after a Chhattisgarh Police team arrived at Chhatarpur in MP on February 4 in search of the girl. “We formed a team to assist the police in Chhattisgarh. A probe revealed the serial trafficking tale,” Chhatarpur SP Sachin Shar ma told this Investigation looking into other angles Eight people accused in the case, including the couple from Chhatarpur, have been arrested. Chhatarpur Police is now probing the possibility of more girls from the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh and MP being abducted and trafficked to MP, UP and other states. newspaper. The combined police team tracked the house of Santosh Kushwah, to whom the girl was sold last. Interrogations revealed that the girl was sold to him by Munna Kushwah for `70,000. Santosh subsequently got the girl married to his mentally challenged son. Shocked, the girl committed suicide on September 10 last year. Eight people accused in the case, including the couple from Chhatarpur, have been arrested. The son of Santosh is untraceable. Chhatarpur Police is now probing the possibility of more girls from the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh and MP being abducted and trafficked to MP, UP and other states.
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