FRIDAY NUMBER OF ROAD ACCIDENTS DECLINES SINCE 2016: REPORT 27 There were 4,80,652 accidents in 2016 as against 3,66,138 in 2020, according to a report by the Ministry of Road Transport MAY, 2022 ONLY 12% FALL IN ACCIDENT DEATHS epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard RS POLL JAYANT CHAUDHARY JOINT CANDIDATE SP, RLD relationship cemented with announcement A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 Centre calls off BPCL privatisation process as most bidders back off E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre on Thursday withdrew its offer to sell its 52.9% stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) after most of the bidders expressed their inability to go ahead citing the volatile conditions in the global energy market. “The multiple Covid-19 waves and geo-political conditions affected multiple industries globally, particularly oil and gas industry. Owing to prevailing conditions in the global energy market, the majority of Qualified Institutional Investors (QIP) have expressed their inability to continue in the current process of disinvestment of BPCL,” said a notification by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management. A decision on re-initiating the strategic disinvestment process will be taken in due course based on how the situation evolves, it added. The government had issued the expression of interest (EoI) for strategic disinvestment of BPCL in March 2020. However, due to global pandemic and other geopolitical tensions, it had to extend the EoI submission date multiple times. According to reports, only three bidders - Vedanta group, Apollo Global Management Inc. and I Squared Capital Advisors - have shown interest in buying BPCL. Among these, only Anil Agarwal-led-Vedanta was in the race as the other bidders reportedly walked out over lack of clarity in fuel pricing. It may be recalled that Vedanta Group’s chairman, in one of his interviews had said that his company was willing to spend $12 billion for the deal. BPCL’s current market value is around $11.4 billion. It owns 19,000 petrol pumps, 6,166 LPG distributor agencies and 61 out of the 260 aviation fuel stations in the country It . has 26 assets in Russia, Brazil, Mozambique, the UAE, Indonesia, Australia, East Timor, Israel and India. The buyer will get 35.3 million tonnes of refining capacity -- 12 million tonne Mumbai unit, 15.5 million tonne Kochi refinery and 7.8 million tonne Bina unit. EXPRESS READ 2 LeT militants shot dead in Valley Srinagar: Two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, involved in the killing of a female TV artiste on Wednesday, have been trapped in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Thursday. “Both killers (LeT #terrorists) of late Amreen Bhat, an artist, trapped in #Awantipora #encounter. Further details shall follow,” Inspector General of Police (Kashmir zone) Vijay Kumar said in a tweet. Amreen Bhat, who worked as a TV artiste besides being an emerging social media starlet, was shot dead and her 10-year-old nephew injured by ultras on Wednesday. Assam flood situation remains grim Guwahati: The flood situation in Assam remained critical on Thursday with two more persons, including a child, losing their lives and over 5.61 lakh people still suffering in the deluge across seven districts, as per an official bulletin. According to the daily flood report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), one person each died in Kampur and Nagaon. Total number of people losing their lives in this year’s flood and landslides has reached 30. More than 5,61,100 persons are hit by the flood in Cachar, Dima Hasao, Hailakandi, Hojai, Karbi Anglong West, Morigaon and Nagaon Gyanvapi hearing posted to May 30 Varanasi: The district court here Thursday heard arguments on the maintainability of a plea by five Hindu women seeking permission for daily worship of the Shringar Gauri Sthal in the Gyanvapi complex, and posted the matter for May 30. “The Muslim side’s arguments on the maintainability of the case remained incomplete today, which they will continue on May 30— the date fixed by the court for the next hearing,” Government Counsel Rana Sanjeev Singh said. The court had on Tuesday fixed May 26 for the hearing of arguments on the maintainability of the plea by the five Hindu women. P8 NEW DELHI J8.00 FACING massive funds crunch ahead of the big fight for 2024, the Congress is looking at the Left’s Kerala model of fundraising where bulk of the party funds are collected from the masses through door-to-door campaign with slips issued against donations. The idea, suggested by former KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala, was discussed in detail at the recently held Udaipur Chintan Shivir. “It is being considered seriously. There are some issues, such as how it can be implemented, how to ensure funds management and transparency etc. It Despite fewer accidents being recorded, their severity has been on a rise. Twenty-one deaths were reported per 100 accidents in 2005, which jumped to 36 deaths per 100 accidents in 2020. Accident deaths blamed on red-signal jumping increased by a whopping 79% from 266 deaths in 2019 to 476 in 2020 PM says Telangana CM is superstitious; despite being a seer, UP CM Yogi Adityanath doesn’t believe in such things E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad/Bengaluru PRIME Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday took swipes at each other, with the TRS leader choosing to fly out to Bengaluru during the PM’s official visit to the southern state. The PM also took the opportunity to commend Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s work in the same breath. Without naming TRS, Modi slammed the parties practising family politics, and said, “Parivaarvad is democracy’s ‘greatest enemy’.” Rao, on the other hand, responded by stressing on the crashing econo m y, a n d s a y i n g t h a t ‘bhaashanbaazi’ (rhetoric) will n o t s o l ve t h e c o u n t r y ’s problems. Taking a potshot at Rao’s belief in Vaastu and numerology , and participation in extravagant rituals, Modi said, “Superstitious people can never do justice to Telangana’s potential.” He added, “We believe in science and technology. I also congratulate Yogi Adityanath, who is a saint but does not believe in superstition. We have to save Telangana from such superstitious people.” Meanwhile, Rao, who is on a national tour to form a strategic alliance with regional parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, travelled to Kar nataka to meet for mer prime minister Deve Gowda, PM Narendra Modi addresses public in Hyderabad on Friday | PTI getting closed, the GDP is crashing, and inflation is spiralling. Never in history has the rupee fell to such a low level compared to the US dollar.” Modi later arrived in Tamil Nadu, where he launched welfare and development projects worth over `31,400 crores, including the Bangalore-Chennai Expressway He also met Chief . Minister MK Stalin. Addressing the ongoing debate over ‘Hindi impostion’ he said, “The Tamil language is eternal and the Tamil culture is global. From Chennai to Canada, from Madurai to Malaysia, from Namakkal to New York and from Salem to South Africa, the occasions of Pongal and Puthandu a r e m a rk e d w i t h g r e a t fervour.” Workers carry a sofa during the oath-taking ceremony of new L-G; confusion prevailed at the venue due to lack of enough seating arrangement | PTI and his son and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy. This was the second time this year that he avoided meeting Modi. He had earlier cited ill-health, when the PM had visited Hyderabad to inaugurate the ‘Stat- ue of Equality’ of saint Ramanujacharya. Speaking to the media in Bengaluru, Rao said, “Today no one is happy, be it farmers, Dalits, tribals. What is the reality other than rhetoric (bhaashanbazi)? Industries are Several VIPs, netas left without chair Bengal proposes to make CM chancellor of varsities The front row had to be re-arranged. “Initially, we were told to make front-row seating arrangement for 12 family members. The number grew to 29,” an official said. Many eminent guests, including top police officials, BJP leaders and ministers, were seen looking for a seat. North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari and West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma sat at the back while some leaders had to squeeze themselves on two-seater sofas. Lt Governor’s swearing-in sees seat-sharing of a different kind E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi HIGH drama unfolded on Thursday, as former union minister and senior BJP leader Dr Harsh Vardhan walked out of the venue of the swearing-in ceremony of Delhi’s new lieutenant governor, Vinai Kumar Saxena. Harsh Vardhan complained that he was not given a seat even after being asked to wait for it. The seating arrangem e n t a t t h e eve n t w a s inadequate, and left many dignitaries seemingly upset. A video clip showing Harsh Vardhan on his way out even before the ceremony had start- NATIONWIDE MAY 25 MAY 26 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 2,124 1,977 31 2,628 2,167 18 MAY 25 MAY 26 424 499 04 403 503 01 ed has gone viral. Later, the MP from Chandni Chowk tweeted that it was being wrongly reported that he left the ceremony because of not getting the desired seat. “I sat where one officer seated me; another officer got me to vacate that seat saying it was reserved. I waited for 15 minutes, that seat will be provided anywhere, left when it was not given,” he wrote. In another tweet, he expressed “regret” that despite being an MP , he could not participate in the ceremony, and congratulated Saxena. The event took place at Raj Niwas, which falls under the Chandni Chowk constituency . JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT MAY 25 11,30,219 doses MAY 26 12,62,771 doses TOTAL DOSES 1,92,95,87,987 Cong to take a leaf out of Left’s ‘bucket collection’ will be discussed at the Task Force 2024 meetings,” party sources said. According to an audit report submitted to the Election Commission, the Congress party’s income plunged 58% in FY21 to `285.7 crore, f ro m ` 6 8 2 . 2 crore in the previous fiscal. In FY19, the par ty’s income was `918 crore. The Congress is facing acute pressure on the money front, es- PAGES 12 MORE DEATHS PER 100 MISHAPS Modi slams KCR, praises Yogi & hails Tamil KERALA MODEL R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi The number of accidents rose every year between 2005 and 2016. But between 2016 and 2020, the number has come down every year, except for a 0.46% rise in 2018, according to ‘Road Accidents in India - 2020’ report. The number of accidents dropped 23% between 2016 and 2020, but the number deaths fell only 12% to 1,31,714 from 1,50,785 ACCIDENT DEATHS WERE IN THE 18-45 AGE GROUP IN 2020 pecially after the demise of party treasurer Ahmed Patel, who used to handle party funds through his corporate and other contacts. Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath has been also handling funds generation but earnings have nosedived in the Modi regime. Most of the C P I ( M ) ’s f u n d s come from its Kerala unit and there is a joke in party circles that the central party survives on funds from the southern state. The SOUMYADIP SINHA general rule for the party is that 70% of funding must be from door-to-door mass-contact funding drive, known as ‘bucket collection’. However, critics have questioned the credibility of such fund-raising drive and even the party itself has called for proper maintenance of funds. In 2013, the Kerala unit of CPI(M) collected `8 crore in just two days for establishing the Harkishan Singh Surjeet Bhawan and the EMS Research Centre. Of the `8 crore, as much as `5 crore was raised through bucket collection with the rest coming from direct contribution from par ty members. The ceremony began late as seating arrangements were still being made. The front row had a sofa, which according to officers, was meant for the LG’s family . But it came to be occupied by other guests, who were asked to vacate it and were made to sit elsewhere. Also, the front row had to be re-arranged with more seats. “Initially we were told to make , front-row seating arrangement fo r 1 2 f a m i ly m e m b e r s. The number grew to 29,” an official said.Many eminent guests, including top police officials, BJP leaders and ministers, were seen looking P3 for a seat. E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Kolkata THE West Bengal cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to appoint Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the chancellor of all state government universities “Today, the state cabinet gave its consent to the proposal to make the chief minister the chancellor of all staterun universities in place of the governor. This proposal will soon be introduced as a bill in the assembly ,” State education minister Bratya Basu, who tabled the proposal before the state cabinet, said. A member of the cabinet said a bill would be introduced in the Assembly to change the chancellor of state universities. “Once the bill is passed, it will be sent to the governor’s office for his approval to amend the change as an act. If there is no nod from the governor, an ordinance will be promulgated to amend the change replacing the governor from the key post.’’ West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Mamata have been at loggerheads over a range of issues. Last year, a row erupted over suggestions that the governor be replaced from the titular post of Chancellor of staterun universities in West Bengal. Dhankar alle ged that the state government was making appointments to the vice-chancellor post in various universities without consulting him, and he is being forced to take a strong view of such developments. Tamil Nadu last month adopted two bills to curb the governor’s power to appoint VCs to 13 State universities. LANDMARK SEX WORK RECOGNISED AS PROFESSION Supreme Court has directed police in all states and UTs not to initiate criminal action against adult and consenting sex workers World’s largest, Aravalli safari park in 10K acres to boost wildlife & tourism H A R P R E E T BA J WA @ Chandigarh THE world’s largest “curated” wildlife safari will cover 10,000 acres in the Aravalli Hills in Gurugram and Nuh districts of Haryana adjoining Delhi. The state government and Union Environment Ministry are considering setting up the ambitious project to restore and replenish the ecosystem of the mountain range, besides stopping illegal construction and mining in the area. Sources said the project spread across more than a dozen villages has a huge potential to generate employment. The largest safari project is located in Sharjah covering 2,000 acres. Sources said that Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday met in Delhi and discussed the modalities of the project. Khattar said the government has identified a site and land for the park. “Top companies will be invited to design the safari, helping Haryana in becoming a tourism hub,” said Khattar. TWITTER It has a captive population of animals that dwell in that area only. The Sharjah safari has 120 spices and was inaugurated in February this year. This Aravalli project will be much larger and in tune with the natural ecosystem —MD Sinha, Haryana’s principal secretary (tourism) Haryana’s principal secretary (tourism) MD Sinha said the curated safari is like a mix of a wildlife park and zoo. “It has a captive population of animals that dwell in that area only The Sharjah safari has 120 . spices and was inaugurated in February this year. This Aravalli project will be much larger and in tune with the natural ecosystem,” said Sinha. “We have called for expression of interest from interna- tional firms. We’ll shortlist top design companies. Already, 25 global companies have shown their interest in the project. Since the project is in the design stage, an international design competition will be organised soon,’’ he said. Sources said the local landscape would not be altered and only trees grown locally would be planted. Only treated wastewater will be utilized for horticulture.
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