Saturday 4.9% 13 Growth in consumer durables. It was -5.6% in Dec 2019 February, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard Congress Kharge will be the LoP in RS Gandhi family loyalist bags the post bypassing Anand Sharma who is deputy leader Page 7 Case against ISRO chief for bending rules for son recruitment N i r a d M u d ur a n d B a l a C h a u h a n @Bengaluru The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has registered a complaint against Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and Secretary Dr K Sivan, over allega, tions of irregularities in the recruitment of his son to ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) in Valiamala, Trivandrum. The complaint, dated January 25, also names LPSC Director Dr V Narayanan, and alleges that the recruitment of Dr Sivan’s son Sidharth S was not just a conflict of interest, but also a case of “favouritism and conspiracy”. Dr Narayanan, the complaint alleged, was in a hurry to recruit Sidharth before his anticipated transfer to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) came through. The process of general recruitment through ISRO’s Central Recruitment Board (ICRB), comprising a screening, written test and interview, was not followed, as Sidharth had appeared only for an interview, the agency said. The agency alleged that the qualifications for the post advertised in November 2020 (number 738 of Scientist Engineer ‘SC’, Level 10) were tailor-made for Sidharth. Dr Sivan refused to comment on the issue, but his office in Bengaluru said that due process was followed in Sidharth’s recruitment. “Being an MTech, Sidhar th’s application was screened by a competent committee, after which he attended the interview,” the ISRO chairman’s office said. However, Dr Narayanan did not respond to repeated calls by this paper. A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS l New Delhi l J8.00 l PAGES 12 at 1.89%, food basket price rise too The overall rate of price rise in the food basket was 1.89% in January, down from 3.41% in December, 2020. Retail inflation has cooled down significantly Retail inflation down to 4.06% in January Dip from 4.59% in Dec, 2020, attributed to declining veggie prices in the National Statistical Office data Industrial production up by 1% in December ■ Indicating continuing recovery, industrial production entered positive territory after a month. The manufacturing sector posted a growth of 1.6% but mining output declined by 4.8% ■ Power generation grew by a healthy 5.1%, taking the overall growth of eight core sectors of the economy to 1% Lake formed by rubble on Rishiganga river sparks concerns of another flood V i n e e t U pa d h yay @ Tapovan (Uttarakhand) A video grab of Chinese PLA tanks withdrawing in Ladakh | express Disengagement at Pangong to take more time Duration is longer than expected because of additional verification measures taken M AYAN K S IN G H @ New Delhi Full bilateral military disengagement in the Pangong lake area in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) could take more time than thought, as the wary Army is using multiple modes to verify China’s reciprocal withdrawal. “We are not taking any chances this time. Additional verification mechanisms have been introduced. Apart from satellite and drone images, videography of the disengagement is also being done,” a senior Army officer said. The distrust stems from the problems the Chinese side had created both at Galwan and Hot Spring-Gogra in June last. Indian soldiers on their verification mission found partial disengagement at both sites, which snowballed into the major Galwan violence. “We have differences in perception about the position of the LAC on the north bank of the Pangong lake. But on the ground, there is no confusion about it in the south bank.” Chinese troops coming to Finger 4 were actually present inside our claim line, but in the south bank, both sides are Welcome step: US “We’re closely following reports of initial troop disengagement. We welcome the ongoing efforts to de-escalate,” a US State Dept spokesperson said sitting in areas of their claim lines. As per the agreements, PLA will relocate to the east of Finger 8 and the Indian Army will be based at Dhan Singh Thapa post close to Finger 4 on the north bank of the lake. As of now, withdrawal of armoured vehicles has been completed from around five locations. “The tanks were as close as 50 metres apart at some points. Now they have moved back to their administrative bases into the rear,” another Army officer said. Meanwhile, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the agreement to disengage at Pangong was reached after several round of talks. “The two sides have also agreed to convene 10th round of senior commanders meeting within 48 hours after complete disengagement in Pangong lake area, to address the remaining issues,” Srivastava said. Amid ongoing rescue efforts at the Tapovan tunnel, the detection of a new lake formed by boulders that rolled on to the Rishiganga and blocked it about 8 km upstream from Raini village, added to the worry as it could cause more havoc than Sunday flash floods if it were to burst. However, scientists said water from the lake started draining on Friday, reducing the chances of a calamity . Y P Sundariyal, head of the department of geology at the Hemvanti Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, said, “The lake is around 250-300 metres long, 80-100 metres wide and of about 25-30 metres deep. As the volume of water is huge, hypothetically if it bursts, it could cause more damages than earlier. But since the water is slowly draining, it will not burst. Authorities should drain it without trying to burst it, using skilled manpower.” A similar but bigger lake was formed in 1998 in the Madkakini river in Madmeshwar valley, which safely drained. “There was panic but the lake drained and the danger was averted. We hope it will happen at this lake too,” he added. The Chamoli district administration has issued an alert asking people to avoid going to the banks of the river. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “We need not panic but must stay alert.” A team of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, scientists from DRDO and the Uttarakhand Space Application Centre conducted and aerial survey but could not reach it by land. According to the report by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the assessment of the actual magnitude of risk requires a detailed survey . Glaciologist D P Dobhal, who worked at Dehradun’s Wadia Institute, said, “The rubble holding the water is huge. If loose material holding it is pushed away by water, it will be a big threat.” On whether the forecast by India Meteorological Department of rain up to 1 cm and snowfall up to 10 cm over the northern parts of Uttarakhand early next week could amplify the threat, Dobhal said, “The threat will depend on the magnitude of snowfall. If it’s 10 cm then it will add 1cm of water, which won’t be a major threat. But again, we need to stay alert as situation is volatile.” The new lake formed upstream of the Rishiganga that is adding to the rescuers’ worry; (Left) Relative of a victim breaks down in front of the recovered body near Tapovan tunnel on Friday | Special arrangement/ shekhar yadav Kin of those trapped in tunnel losing hope Dozens of local residents gathered near Tapovan Hydel Plant on Friday afternoon and protested the delay in rescue of those trapped in a tunnel. They were stopped 200 meters from the tunnel by police | P7 Two more bodies found METRO Two more bodies were recovered from the flash flood-hit areas of Chamoli district on Friday, taking the toll in the calamity to 38, as rescue teams battled on against the odds for the sixth day to get to 25-35 people trapped in a sludge-choked tunnel BACK TO FuLL CAPACITY? Delhi Metro Rail Corporation requests the government to allow it to operate trains with full seating to make up for revenue shortfall | P5 Centre spends `8 cr on busting farm laws ‘myths’ K um a r V i kr a m @ New Delhi THE protests over the farm laws refuse to end even as the government has spent nearly `8 crore in the ‘myth-busting’ campaign on the three legislations. The amount was spent by different government departments between September 2020 and January 2021. The Centre has left no stone untur ned in clearing the ‘myths’ surrounding the three farm laws amid the ongoing agitation. Apart from press conferences and information dissemination by ministers and government functionaries, a substantial amount has been spent on advertisements through different media platforms in the last four-five months. The maximum amount of over `7.25 crore was spent on advertisements by the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC), I&B Ministry, according to a written reply by Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar in Parliament on Friday . Print advertisements have been published through BOC in Hindi, English and regional language newspapers for clarifications related to the farm laws for creating awareness among the farmers and other stakeholders, the government said. The Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has incur red an amount of nearly `68 lakh on production of three promotional and two educational films on farm laws for publicity through electronic and social media and webinars. “Besides, miscellaneous expenditure of `1,50,568 was incurred on development of creatives for print advertisement,” the reply said. The MEA’s expenditure on ‘myth busting’ was nil but India’s missions abroad shared the latest developments, the government’s stand and useful information on the laws in their outreach to the diaspora. Express read Quake of 6.3 intensity jolts Delhi, north India New Delhi: An earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hit Tajikistan on Friday night, tremors of which were felt in Delhi-NCR and other parts of north India. The seismology department first erroneously gave the epicentre as Amritsar and put the quake’s depth at 19 km. It later sent a revised statement to confirm the quake was in Tajikistan. It ascribed the error to a software mistake. There were no reports of any loss of life or damage. Delhi CM tweeted his concern. Soaring high Karnataka girl becomes Oxford Univ student union prez E X P R E S S NE W S S E R V I C E @ Udupi Rashmi Samant, an alumna of Manipal Institute of Technology created history by win, ning the Oxford Student Union presidency on Thursday . Samant is the first Indian woman to occupy the prestigious position. She bagged more than the combined votes of the other three contestants. Samant is a student of MSc in energy systems at Linacre College, Oxford University She . ran for the post with four main priorities: decolonisation and inclusivity Covid interventions , for all, access to quality mental health resources and decarbonising the university . Samant said she intends to lobby for the removal of all statues proven to be imperialist, including Christopher Codrington’s. She further said she would also push for residency requirements to be waived off until the World Health Organisation declares the end of the pandemic, lobby to increase funding for the mental health strategy and work to convince , the Conference of Colleges to divest from fossil fuels as soon as possible. Rashmi, daughter of Vathsala Samant and Dinesh Samant, hails from Manipal. She had early education in Manipal and Udupi. She completed her graduation in Mechanical Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT). She was known for her leadership skills and spirited nature at the institute. She was the Technical Secretary of the Student Council at MIT, and was instrumental in initiating a number of constructive activities at the institute. ‘suffocated’ TMC MP resigns on rajya sabha floor E X P R E S S NE W S S E R V I C E @New Delhi Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi on Friday created a flutter by announcing his decision to prematurely end his Rajya Sabha membership on the floor of the House. He attributed rampant violence in West Bengal and suffocation in the party that is “no longer under Mamata Banerjee’s control” as reasons for his decision to resign, leaving the party managers flustered. Soon after getting up to speak during the debate on the Budget, Trivedi said: “There are limitations here. My party has sent me here, so I am grateful. But now I can’t take what is happening any more. I am feeling suffocated. That’s why I want to resign from here. I want to work for my Bengal,” the former railway minister said. Criticising the violence in the state, Trivedi said: “The kind of violence that is happening in Bengal, it is a threat to democracy I am feeling un. easy sitting here. I am from the land of Subhash Chandra Bose, Khudiram, Rabindranath Tagore. My soul is saying ‘I sit here and say nothing’; what is the point?” The BJP was quick to welcome him, if he wanted to make the switch. BJP’s state president Dilip Ghosh said, “No good politician can continue in a party like TMC. He was there for a long period. If wants to join the BJP, we are ready to welcome him.” The Trinamool was clearly taken aback by Trivedi’s move ahead of state elections. Party MP Saugata Roy said: “It was unexpected. We flew to Delhi a few days ago together and he didn’t hint anything related to his discontent. Before election, his decision is unfortunate. Now it appears he was unhappy for a long time which he didn’t express.”
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