02082018-TT-01.qxd 01-08-2018 22:53 Page 1 13 established in 1881 thursday,august 2, 2018 ! himachal pradesh chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 138 no. 212 | 16 pages | ~4.50 | regd. no. chd/0006/2018-2020 /thetribunechd IN BRIEF Birla, Deveshwar non-official directors in Air India Bill to restore SC Act okayed Delicate touch Govt bows to pressure, but Dalit groups firm on Aug 9 ‘Bharat bandh’ New Delhi: Top industrialists Kumar Mangalam Birla and YC Deveshwar have been appointed as non-official independent directors in Air India. It is perhaps for the first time that big industrialists like them have been named on the board of a public sector enterprise, officials said. Birla heads the $44.3 billion multinational Aditya Birla Group, while Deveshwar is the chairman of India Tobacco Company (ITC). PTI Vibha Sharma England’s Keaton Jennings and Joe Root try to distract a pigeon on the first day of the first Test against India at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Wednesday. England skipper Joe Root scored his 41st Test half-century to guide the hosts to 163 for three at tea. REUTERS PAGE 14 Mohali: A local court on Wednesday acquitted former Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh, but awarded three-year sentence to the other four accused in the 17-year-old Punjab School Education Board clerk recruitment scam. Those convicted include Paviterpal Kaur, the former deputy director of PSEB, and Jora Singh, former member of the board’s recruitment committee. TNS New Delhi, August 1 Bowing to pressure from allies and its own Dalit MPs in the election year, the BJPled government on Wednesday approved amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, to restore its status as it was prior to the March 20 Supreme Court ruling, under which safeguards were introduced, including anticipatory bail, to check “abuse” of the Act. However, Dalit groups who have given a call for a “Bharat bandh” on August 9 said they will go ahead with it Police complaint against TMC chief; drama over BJP president’s Kolkata rally VibhaSharma& Ravi S Singh ‘WB GOVT CAN GET ME ARRESTED’ It doesn’t matter whether I get permission (to hold a rally on Aug 11) or not, I will definitely go to Kolkata. If the state government wants, it can get me arrested. Amit Shah, BJP CHIEF New Delhi, August 1 On a day a police complaint was lodged against TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee over her alleged provocative remarks on Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, the ongoing war of words between BJP chief Amit Shah and Banerjee on the contentious issue intensified on Wednesday. A youth leader filed the complaint at Assam’s North Lakhimpur Sadar police station over Banerjee’s remarks that the NRC could lead to a “bloodbath and a civil war” in the country. No FIR had yet been registered. Vociferous scenes were witnessed in Parliament as dis- ❝ ‘CAN’T ASK THEM TO GET OUT’ Names missing from NRC include those from Bengal, Bihar, UP, TN, Gujarat and Rajasthan... Some have been living in Assam for 100 years. How can you ask them to get out? Mamata Banerjee, TMC SUPREMO ❝ cussion on the NRC remained incomplete with TMC members backed by Congress MPs refusing to allow Shah to speak. The Opposition members stood in a formation in the well of the Rajya Sabha, virtually blocking Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh from the view of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. As Opposition members tried to corner Shah over his “Congress lacked courage” remark in Parliament, the BJP chief hit back outside, saying he was determined to hold a rally in Kolkata on August 11 whether or not he was granted permission by the Banerjee-led West Bengal Government. Shah dared Banerjee to have him arrested amid buzz that the state government had denied permission for the meeting, a charge the TMC denied, wishing him “happy journey to the land of peace and harmony”. Interestingly, while the TMC claimed permission to Shah’s mega rally was never an issue, the BJP insisted it was. Banerjee met BJP veteran LK Advani on continued on page 7 2 months after Beas spill, PPCB Drug overdose killed yet to collect fine from sugar mill 45, confirm forensics Vishav Bharti No time-frame for recovery of ~4 crore, say officials Aman Sood Tribune News Service Patiala, August 1 More than two months after the molasses’ spill into the Beas, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) is yet to collect the entire penalty from the errant Chadha Sugar Mill. Sealed and fined Rs 5 crore, the mill at Kiri Afghana in Gurdaspur has so far paid Rs 1 crore, whereas more than Rs 3 crore is required to revive Beas’ ecology destroyed by the spillage. The PPCB, it is learnt, is yet to work out the time-frame to collect the remaining fine even though Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh had warned against any laxity. “None of the company pro- FIVE-YEAR PLAN TO REVIVE BEAS ■ Departments of Forest and Wildlife Preservation and WWF have submitted 5-year action plan to revive Beas ■ ~3.6 crore will be needed to replenish the prey base by releasing fish seedlings into the river at ~250 per kg moters, including Jasdeep Kaur Chadha, have been named in the notice sent to the management of the mill, owned by a relative of CM’s confidant Paramjit Singh Sarna,” said a top officer. The PPCB had on May 24 ordered that the mill be sealed and a fine of Rs 5 crore imposed, which, it claimed, was the highest ever in Pun- jab. The money was to be used “for the conservation and restoration of Beas’ ecology”. A case too was filed. “We are in the process of finalising the time-frame for collecting the pending fine. The management needn’t pay it in one go,” PPCB chairman Satwinder Singh Marwaha said, adding that a Beas revival plan had been drafted. Tribune News Service Chandigarh, August 1 Drug overdose led to the recent spate of deaths of addicts in Punjab, forensic reports have confirmed. According to reports of 45 viscera samples, morphine overdose has been identified as the killer in 80 per cent of the cases. All deaths related to opioids are classified under morphine. Overdose of pain relievers and de-addiction medicines also proved fatal. During the last two months, Punjab has been rattled by reports of deaths of drug addicts. The Tribune had reported last month that, on an average, one person had died everyday due to drug overdose. As per the new standard procedure, the district police Youngsters the victims AGE 15 to 20 21-30 30-50 PERCENTAGE 10 73 17 and health authorities have to send viscera sample in each suspected drug overdose death to the State Chemical Testing Laboratory in Kharar. The spurt in deaths forced the laboratory to investigate the pending samples as well. Reports of 65 samples are still awaited. continued on page 7 No refund, SC admissions in Punjab decline Centre’s decision to credit reimbursed sum in student’s account blamed by colleges Deepkamal Kaur Tribune News Service Jalandhar, August 1 A four-year-long delay in reimbursement of grant to colleges under the “SC Post Matric Scholarship” scheme — a whopping Rs 1,600 crore — has hit enrolment of Scheduled Caste students in colleges across Punjab. Any SC student whose parental income is less than Rs 2.5 lakh a year is eligible for the scholarship. Owing to monetary restraints, Monu, who has taken admission in BA, has opted to work in a restaurant after college hours. Another SC held on March 20 that before registering FIR in SC/ST Act cases, preliminary inquiry will be held by DSPlevel officer and prior permission of an officer at the level of SP will be required before arresting the accused till the time the government agrees to all their demands. The amended Bill will be tabled in the ongoing session of Parliament, two Union ministers confirmed, includ- THREE AMENDMENTS ■ Section 438 of CrPC will not be applicable on SC/ST Act ■ No preliminary probe required before FIR ■ No prior permission will be required to arrest accused ing LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who has been at the forefront of the demand for reversal of “dilution” of the law by the apex court. The development follows the violent April 2 protests and mounting pressure from several quarters. Several ruling party MPs belonging to Dalit and tribal communities, including BJP’s Udit Raj, had flagged concern on the issue. With less than a year to go for the Lok Sabha elections, the ruling BJP had little option but to agree. However, All India Ambedkar Mahasabha leader Ashok Bharti, who welcomed restoration of the Act, said the bandh call stands unless retired Justice AK Goel is removed as NGT chairman and cases registered post April 2 violence are withdrawn. Shah, Mamata slug it out on NRC RBI hikes rate, loans to go up Tribune News Service Tota Singh acquitted in clerk recruitment scam APEX COURT RULING Tribune News Service Pak SC asks how 2 top ex-generals allowed jobs Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court has asked the government how it allowed former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ex-ISI boss Lt Gen Shuja Pasha to take up jobs abroad despite a law barring officers from accepting employment for two years post-retirement. Gen Sharif left for Riyadh to head a military alliance of Muslim countries led by Saudi Arabia. PTI /thetribunechd TREND WORRYING ■ The Tribune contacted 40 colleges in two days to know about SC admissions. Only two colleges said the enrolment was the same as in previous years. Twelve colleges refused to share data. The rest reported a 25-50% decline ■ Joint Action Committee representing 1,550 colleges & polytechnics claimed 25-50% drop ■ DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology reported more than 50% fall in BTech admissions ■ Quest Infosys Foundation Institutions, Kharar, saw 20% decline in admissions ■ Beant College of Engg, Gurdaspur, claimed 20% decline local student Gurjant Singh works as a plumber after classes. “Keeping up with the rest in studies is not easy since we often work till late in the evening,” they say. The Joint Action Committee (JAC), representing 1,550 colleges and polytechnics in the state, claims a 25-50 per cent drop in SC admissions this academic session, with the figure more dismal for technical and management colleges. The JAC blames the Centre’s decision to credit the reimbursed amount in the student’s account, not that of the college, for it. College managements argue there is no way of knowing if the money has been transferred into a student’s account. “We are yet to receive a grant of Rs 9.5 crore for SC students. Ten days ago, we had orders from the state as well as Guru Nanak Dev University to allow ‘free’ admissions. As of now, we are taking Rs 3,000 from all SC students. Their eligibility under the scheme will be known only after the Department of Welfare opens its official portal,” said GS Samra, Principal of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar. continued on page 7 Mumbai, August 1 For the second time in two months, the six-member Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points (bps) on inflationary concerns, a move that will make home, auto and other loans expensive. The MPC, headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel, at its third bi-monthly monetary policy review meeting raised the repo rate (at which it lends to other banks) to 6.5 per cent, but kept its policy stance as “neutral”. Consequently, the reverse repo rate (at which it borrows from banks) stands adjusted to 6.25 per cent. The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate stand at 6.75 per cent. GST refund plan for langar New Delhi, August 1 The government on Wednesday launched a scheme under which the Centre’s share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) on food, prasad, langar and bhandara would be reimbursed to the charitable institutions and gurdwaras. The Ministry of Culture came out with the scheme, Seva Bhoj Yojana, that has a total outlay of ~325 crore for 2018-19 and 201920. The move follows protests, especially by Sikhs, over GST on langar. — TNS HOME, AUTO LOANS LIKELY TO BE DEARER ■ A hike in repo rate will have a direct impact on the EMI of home and auto loans as banks are likely to hike interest rates on loans ■ There has been a total of 50 bps hike in the repo rate over the past two monetary policy reviews ■ For example, if at a current rate of 8.5%, an EMI per lakh for a home loan of 20 years costs ~867, then after a hike of 0.25% in interest rate, it will cost ~883, thereby costing ~16 per lakh more for the entire tenure The Central bank began raising rates with a 25 bps hike at its last meeting on June 6 after a gap of fourand-a-half years — on January 28, 2014, when rates were hiked by a similar proportion to 8 per cent. In subsequent years, the RBI cut the interest rate on six occasions. In its last revision, on August 2, 2017, rates were cut by 25 basis points to 6 per cent. Following the latest hike, analysts feel banks are expected to raise interest rates on home and car loans by 0.25 per cent. The RBI cited various concerns as regards inflation like volatile crude prices, uncertainty in the global financial markets, hardening of input prices for corporates, uneven distribution of rainfall and rise in MSP of foodgrains. — TNS Imran invites Aamir, Kapil; Sidhu accepts Islamabad/Chandigarh, Aug 1 Pakistan’s Prime Minister-inwaiting Imran Khan has invited Bollywood star Aamir Khan and former cricketers Kapil Dev, Navjot Sidhu and Sunil Gavaskar to his oathtaking ceremony on August 11, the Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf (PTI) said on Wednesday. The development came after PTI leaders met Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua to discuss which foreign dignitaries could be invited to the PTI chief's ceremony, leading daily Dawn reported. Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “It is a great honour, I accept the invitation." He said, “Men of genius are admired. Men of power are feared. But men of character are trusted.” “Khan Sahab is a man of character. He can be trusted,” he said. — TNS/Agencies Expressway service road caves in; SUV falls, all safe Lucknow, August 1 An SUV plunged 20 feet after a service road caved in along the Agra-Lucknow expressway following heavy rain on Wednesday. The four car occupants escaped unhurt. An auto-rickshaw driver had bought the secondhand vehicle from Mumbai a few days ago. Since it was their first time on the 302km expressway, the occupants were using a navigation app and ended up on the service road, unaware of the fact that a portion of the road had caved in. A third-party probe has been ordered into the caving-in of the side road by RITES Limited. The ~15,000-crore expressway was completed in a record time of 23 months. It was inaugurated in 2016 by the erstwhile Samajwadi Party government. — Agencies
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).