10092018-TTC-01.qxd 10-09-2018 01:22 Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | vol.2 no.250 | 16 pages | ~4.50 | regd.no.chd/0006/2018-2020 established in 1881 | monday, september 10,2018 WORLD ECONOMY SLUGGISH, ALL EYES ON INDIA, SAYS NAIDU PAGE 11 ANTI-IMMIGRATION PARTY MAKES GAINS AS SWEDEN SWINGS RIGHT PAGE 13 /thetribunechd THE TRIBUNE RELIEF FUND FOR KERALA ARPINDER FIRST INDIAN TO WIN IAAF CONTINENTAL CUP MEDAL PAGE 14 /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com Modi says no challenge, Shah talks of50-yr rule Meltdown, boos, tears and then a smile ❝MODISPEAK as a Those who were failure Vibha Sharma Tribune News Service The flood fury of the Western Ghats has drowned the beautiful coastal state of Kerala in a sea of sorrow. The Tribune readers have always shown their magnanimity during such calamities in the past. The Tribune Trust, which has decided to contribute ~20 lakh, appeals to its readers to donate generously. Your donation will make a difference to the families of those who have lost their lives and homes. The names of all those who donate ~500 and above will be published. All such donations are eligible for deduction under Section 80-G of the Income Tax Act. Donations should be in the form of crossed cheques or demand drafts in favour of the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and sent to The Tribune Trust, Sector 29-C, Chandigarh – 160030 or to The Tribune offices in various cities. All donations will be duly sent to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. While making the donation, please clearly mention your name, address and PAN number. — The Tribune Trust New Delhi, September 9 Setting the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha General Election with slogans “Ajaye Bharat” and “Atal BJP”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today targeted the Opposition for its “opportunistic” efforts to build an “ideology-less mahagathbandhan”. Attacking the Congress and the “family”, but without naming anyone, he also said that many within the party were not ready to accept the leadership, let alone the people of the country. “No one is ready to accept the leadership of Congress. Many think it is not capable of giving leadership,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, quoting the PM’s address at the valedictory session of the BJP’s twoday national executive. He slammed the “mahagathbandhan” — the antiBJP formation that Opposition parties are trying to put together for these elections — as a “clueless, leaderless and ideology-less formation”. “Mahagathbandhan — netritva ka pata nahi, neeti aspasht, neeyat bhrasht. Those who cannot see eye to eye, government are also a failure as an Opposition Those asking us questions should answer about work done during 48 years of family (Nehru-Gandhi) rule Badal dares CM to prove charges, prosecute him We can fight on principles, but we don’t know how to fight their lies PM Narendra Modi addresses BJP national executive meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Gujarat was Cong bastion. We’ve been in power for many years not because of arrogance, but our work have no political or logical understanding of working with each other are thinking of a ‘mahagathbandhan’. This is the biggest victory of the BJP , it means people have accepted us and our programmes,” the PM said. He asked BJP leaders to counter Congress’ “lies and falsehood” with “facts and figures”. While the PM declared that he saw no challenge to his party from anyone, party chief Amit Shah told the top leader- ship at the executive that “once the BJP wins 2019 (elections), it will remain unvanquished for the next 50 years”. “We have to contact 22 crore families, in other words the entire population of the country. We have a corpus of nine crore members and the capability to directly contact 36 crore Indians through them. “After we win 2019, no one can remove us for the next 50 years. continued on page 7 Ahead of Cong bandh, R’sthan slashes VAT on petrol, diesel Jaipur: On the eve of the Congress call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ against the escalating fuel prices, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje on Sunday evening announced a 4 per cent VAT cut on petrol and diesel. Addressing ‘Gaurav Yatra’ at Rawatsar in Hanumangarh, she said fuel prices in the state would be reduced by ~2-2.50 per litre. Finance Secretary Praveen Gupta said a notification would be issued rightaway. PCC vice-president Dr Archna Sharma said the relief was a drop in the ocean. OC Party coins two slogans — ‘Ajaye Bharat’ and ‘Atal BJP’ An Appeal to Readers IN BRIEF Naomi Osaka, 20, became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion after she thumped 36-year-old Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in a controversial US Open final, with the American suffering a mesmerising meltdown after being handed a code violation. Standing on the podium, Osaka heard only boos as the crowd took out their frustration on Portuguese umpire Carlos Ramos. AFP PAGE 15 Dragged by SUV, two cops die Abohar: Under fire after tabling of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report in the Vidhan Sabha, the SAD on Sunday held a rally at PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar's home turf Abohar. Former CM Parkash Singh Badal accused CM Capt Amarinder Singh of "returning to his old agenda of vendetta and confrontation that he pursued during his last stint in 2002-07". He dared the CM to demonstrate the courage to prosecute him. PAGE 2 PM to inaugurate Sardar Patel's statue on Oct 31 The SUV (PB-46-S-7770) belonged to the brother of a notorious drug smuggler against whom many cases have been registered. Coming from the Mehmudpur village side, the vehicle reportedly dragged the victims for over 200 m before coming to a halt. The Valtoha police have registered a case under Sec- tion 302 of the IPC against SUV driver Karanbir Singh, who managed to escape. SSP Darshan Singh Mann said the vehicle driver might have dozed off while driving. Asked about any drug smuggling attempt, he said it was yet to be ascertained. Further investigations were on, he added. — OC TN decides to free all seven Rajiv killers Cong’s ‘Bharat Bandh’ over fuel prices today Chennai, September 9 The Tamil Nadu Government on Sunday recommended to Governor Banwarilal Purohit the release of all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a move hailed by most political parties in the state, barring the Congress. A resolution to this effect was adopted by the Cabinet, which met here under Chief Minister K Palaniswami, said Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, adding the Governor had to accept the decision by virtue of being the executive head of the state. The Cabinet decided to release convicts V Sriharan, alias Murugan; T Suthanthiraraja, alias Santhan; AG Perarivalan, alias Arivu; Jayakumar; Robert Payas and Nalini under Article 161 of the Constitution, which relates to the power of the Governor to grant pardons and to suspend, remit and commute sentences in certain cases. The seven are serving life sentence for their role in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber on May 21, 1991, in Sriperumbudur. — PTI New Delhi, September 9 The Congress has asked its workers to observe a peaceful “Bharat Bandh” from 9 am to 2.30 pm on Monday in protest against the rising fuel prices. Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken on Sunday said: “I urge all workers to ensure the bandh is observed peacefully and efforts are made to send across the message. We will protest the Gandhian way.” Maken said 21 political outfits had extended support to the bandh. The Trinamool Congress and the BSP are not supporting the bandh. A section of Opposition leaders will, however, stage a symbolic sit-in at the Rajghat to demand a cut in fuel prices. The Congress alleges that the government has pocketed Rs 11 lakh crore by way of excise duty collections on petrol and diesel. “It has not passed on the benefits of reduced global fuel prices to the customers. It has also turned a blind eye to the Congress demand to put petrol in the GST regime,” Maken said. —TNS Nuns’ protest enters Day 2, take on MLA Tarn Taran, September 9 Two policemen were killed after being hit by a speeding SUV at a check-point near Amarkot village late last evening. Those killed were identified as Head Constable Inderjit Singh (35), a resident of Theh Sarhali, and Kuldeep Singh (50), a Home Guard jawan from Khemkaran. Water leakage inside the Nandini tunnel on the Jammu-Udhampur highway (left) and only one light is functional. INDERJEET SINGH 45 months on, tunnels develop leaks 1.4 km long, scary drive through 4 tunnels on Jammu-Udhampur highway Amit Khajuria Tribune News Service Nandani, September 9 All four tunnels on the Jammu-Udhampur national highway have developed leaks within 45 months of opening. The project is part of a multi-crore national highway expansion plan. The four tunnels, located beneath the Nandini wildlife sanctuary over a combined length of 1.4 km, were opened to vehicular traffic on January 3, 2015, sparing passengers of 6.8-km journey involving sharp curves, hair- ‘SAFE FOR TRAVELLERS’ ❝ These are not dry tunnels like Chenani- Nashri… It is totally safe for travellers. Whenever repair is undertaken, traffic is diverted. As far as lighting is concerned, I will look into the matter. Ajay Kumar, NHAI PROJECT DIRECTOR pin bends and steep grades via the old route. The tunnels started developing leaks last year. Though repairs were undertaken, the problem has resurfaced. The leakage poses a threat to connectivity via the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, which also connects Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra and Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur with the rest of country. Dripping water and darkness inside the tunnels have made the drive scary. “Earlier we used to stop inside to take pictures, but not any more as water keeps dripping from the top,” said Sidharth Arora, a frequent traveller. “A sufficient number of electric lamps are installed inside the tunnels, but these are hardly switched on. This makes driving tough, especially for bikers,” he added. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had given contract for the construction and maintenance of these tunnels to SP Jammu-Udhampur Highway Private Limited for 20 years (three years for construction and 17 for maintenance), but the company has allegedly failed to fix the leakage inside the tunnels. New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate a statue of Sardar Patel, described by the Gujarat Government as the world's tallest, on the birth anniversary of India's first Home Minister on October 31, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Sunday. PTI In Kollam, body of 55-yr-old nun found Kochi, September 9 The protest by Catholic reformation organisations against the “laxity” in the probe into the rape complaint by a nun against a Roman Catholic Bishop in Jalandhar entered the second day here on Sunday. In Kollam, meanwhile, a 55-year-old nun was found dead under strange circumstances. The body was found floating in the well of Mount Tabor Dayara Convent in Pathanapuram. The nun belonged to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. Bloodstains were found near the well and the nun’s room. In Kochi, a group of five nuns from a convent in Kottayam, to which the “rape” survivor belonged, slammed the reported move to hand over the probe against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar Diocese to the crime branch. The latter is accused of rape and unnatural sex with the complainant between 2014-2016. NCW LASHES OUT AT MLA, SEEKS ACTION New Delhi: Lashing out at Independent Kerala MLA PC George for using “abusive language” against a Kerala nun, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma on Sunday said the commission would write to the Kerala DGP to initiate action against such lawmakers. PTI The nuns said they would initiate legal action against an Independent MLA who had “used abusive language” for the complainant. Retired Justice B Kemal Pasha accused the police of not following the code laid down by law while probing rape cases. — PTI 6 deaths in 3 yrs, parents rattled Meter tampering loss ~250 cr, PSPCLsits on scam BAREILLY SRMSSC issues notice amid reports of ragging Free run for officers as power corpn losses mount, CMD will ask police to expedite investigation Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service New Delhi, September 9 It was not Ananya Dixit’s time to die. She was 17 and was just starting on her dream journey to be a doctor. Within 10 days of joining Sri Ram Murti Smarak (SRMS) Institute of Medical Sciences, Bareilly, on August 27 last year, Ananya was dead. Her parents were told she had committed suicide by hanging herself from the hostel ceiling fan. Like many other parents whose wards died mysteri- ously at the SRMS in the past, the Dixits never believed the suicide theory. Over the past three years alone, six students have died on the SRMS campus. Five were alleged to have committed suicide though no suicide note was found in four cases. One was found dead in his hostel room, head on the table. Starting 2002, there have been nine student deaths at this medical institute from where there is evidence of MBBS aspirants pulling out due to fear of “brutal ragging”. It’s only now that Uttar Pradesh Police, SRMS management, Medical Council of India and UP medical council are beginning to face some questions on what’s going on at the college. The Supreme Court recently put state administration, SRMS authorities and UP DGP on notice in a petition filed by the Dixits who are demanding a CBI probe into all nine student deaths at this college. continued on page 7 Aman Sood Tribune News Service Patiala, September 9 In 2016, more than 12 officers of the Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) in Nabha were found tampering with meter readings of 40 consumers. An FIR was lodged only in July 2017. The investigation is incomplete. In May this year, a billing scam was detected in Bathinda. No FIR was filed, only an employee was suspended. And two months later, the PSPCL team unearthed a billing scam in Ludhiana. An FIR was lodged. During the same period, a head cashier and cashier were suspended in another scam. Only last month, the Nabha police booked a head cashier and SDO for defrauding PSPCL of Rs 55 lakh. The loss as a result of meter manipulation has been pegged at Rs 250 crore in the past five years,. Choosing to pass the buck to junior or contractual staff, PSPCL has held several departmental inquiries, invariably sparing BILLING SCANDAL ■ Select consumers are asked not to deposit bimonthly power bills for a year ■ Password is misused and original meter reading is tampered with on the server, showing it to be much less than actual units consumed ■ Power meters are later shown damaged or burnt and replaced with new ones senior officers of the rank of SDO and above. Seldom has a criminal case been filed and when filed, it has been seldom pursued. Baldev Singh Sran, PSPCL CMD, says he will approach the police top brass to expedite investigations into all such billing scams and unmask senior officers who have caused huge losses in connivance with juniors. “After computerised billing was introduced in 2013, officials began tampering with meter readings, striking a deal directly with consumers. We have recommended action against some senior officials. But full-time directors alone have the authority to initiate action against them,” sources in the PSPCL say. Aware of the enormity of the problem, the PSPCL has updated its software. “Officers can no longer change readings of the previous month and do not have access to old readings. We have tried to make the system foolproof,” claims CMD Sran.
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