25022019-TT-01.qxd 24-02-2019 22:51 Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | vol.139 no.55 | 16 pages | ~4.50 | regd.no.chd/0006/2018-2020 established in 1881 | monday, february25,2019 LS poll dates anytimesoon EC announcement likely in March first week I 7-8 phases possible Tribune News Service New Delhi, February 24 The Election Commission is readying to announce dates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which, according to sources, is likely in the first week of March. Sources said the announcement would be timed keeping in view Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled interaction with the chief secretaries of all states on March 6, the day on which he would also hold the last Cabinet meeting of his term. The “Pragati” meeting, aimed at reviewing the progress of several mega government schemes, is likely to take place the same day. All preparatory exercises on part of the Election Commission, including meetings with officials from states, are almost complete. “Even a missive has been sent to the chief secretaries and chief electoral officers of all states and Union Territories as regards transfers and postings of officers associated IN BRIEF Risk allowance up for paramilitary troops in J&K New Delhi: Paramilitary troops deployed in J&K will get enhanced risk and hardship allowance with the special benefit for lower ranks up by Rs 7,600 and officers by Rs 8,100. The allowance for Central Armed Police Forces has been hiked from Rs 9,700 to Rs 17,300 per month up to rank of Inspector and from Rs 16,900 to Rs 25,000 for officers. It will be applicable to Naxal-hit areas too. PTI Sonakshi Sinha booked for cheating event organiser Moradabad (UP): Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha and four others have been booked for allegedly cheating an event organiser here, police officials said on Sunday. However, Sinha’s management agency said despite repeated reminders, the organiser failed to make payments to the actress before the event. PTI ‘MANN KI BAAT’ IN MAY Elections are the biggest celebration of democracy. In the next two months, we will be busy in hurly-burly of General Election. I myself will also be a candidate. Respecting healthy democratic traditions, the next episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ will be broadcast on the last Sunday of May. ❝ Narendra Modi, PRIME MINISTER INSIDE PM Narendra Modi takes a holy dip at Sangam during Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj (Allahabad). PTI CROSS-CHECKING 50% EVM RESULTS ‘NOT FEASIBLE’ ■ Notwithstanding Opposition parties’ demand to crosscheck 50 per cent of EVM results before declaring the final Lok Sabha poll results, sources in the Election Commission indicated the panel would not be in a position to meet the demand ■ Sources claimed the EVMs used by the EC were “credible even without VVPAT” and it would not be “immediately” possible to accept the demand of the Opposition ■ Sources, however, indicated that the panel would make efforts to increase VVPAT verification gradually, depending upon the availability of machines with the poll process. We have told them to complete the process of transfers and postings before February 28,” an EC official said. Sources said the poll panel was contemplating to hold the elections in seven to eight phases. Barring Jammu and Kashmir, currently under President’s rule, a decision has already been arrived at to conduct Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim simultaneously, as their terms expire on June 18, June 1, June 11 and May 27, respectively. The term of the 16th Lok Sabha would end on June 3, officials said. According to the Election Commission, 22.3 lakh ballot units, 16.3 lakh control units and around 17.3 lakh VVPATs (or paper-trail machines) will be used for the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The number of machines includes the buffer stock for training as well as replacements. more on page 7 haryana DSP, Armyman, 3 Jaish militants killed in gunfight Officer was awarded for exemplary service only last month Suhail A Shah Anantnag, February 24 Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Aman Thakur, posted with the Special Operations Group, non-commissioned officer Havildar Sombir and three Jaish (JeM) militants were killed in a gunfight in Yaripora area of Kulgam district in South Kashmir today. A Major and a soldier were injured. As men and women gathered at the encounter site, the security forces fired bullets, tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse the surging crowd, leaving at least seven injured. “We have shifted four of the injured to Srinagar — three with bullet wounds and one with a pellet injury in the eye,” a health official said. The gunfight erupted at 2.15 pm in Tudigam village, minutes after a cordon and search operation was launched by a joint team of the security DGP Dilbag Singh and brother of martyr DSP Aman Thakur (inset) carry the coffin. AMIN WAR forces. The militants, hiding in a house, opened fire. A 2011-batch J&K Police Service officer, DSP Thakur was hit in the neck. He died while being flown to the Army hospital in Srinagar. He hailed from Gogla district of Doda and is survived by his parents, wife and a six-year-old son. Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbag Singh said: “We have lost a brave officer. A fighter, he led Sunday’s operation.” Thakur was posted as the DSP (Operation) in Kulgam, a terrorist-infested area, two years ago. He was awarded the DGP’s Commendation Medal and Certificate for exemplary service only last month. Art 35A: J&K Govt wants case adjourned Jammu, February 24 Amid a growing controversy over Article 35A hearing and tension in the state, the Jammu and Kashmir Government today said it wanted the case to be adjourned in the Supreme Court. The clarification comes at a time when there is buzz across the state that Article 35A may be scrapped. “It is already in the public domain that the J&K Government had sought adjournment of hearing on February 11 till an elected government is in place. We stand by that today as well,” said Rohit Kansal, government spokesman. After the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, unusual events have gripped the state. The government has inducted 100 companies of Central paramilitary forces, ordered stocking up of essential commodities and asked health institutions to remain prepared for any eventuality. The government said forces had been inducted in view of polls and stocking was being done as the NH remained closed for several days. — TNS GST relief for housing sector 6-yr-old twins kidnapped, Tax cut to 5% on ~45 lakh+ under-construction houses killed in MP New Delhi, February 24 In a relief to the realty sector and home-buyers, the GST Council on Sunday lowered tax on under-construction properties to 5 per cent from 12 per cent, and affordable housing projects to 1 per cent from 8 per cent. The council also made changes in the definition of “affordable housing”. The new rates will be applicable from April 1. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “The expanded definition of affordable housing is to encourage aspiring people buy bigger flats. We will have to see how new rates can be passed on to incentivise people to buy under-construction flats. However, developers won’t be able to claim input tax credit (ITC).” The council also decided that properties costing up to Rs 45 lakh would be considered continued on page 7 Mixed reaction over move Sushil Manav Tribune News Service Chandigarh, January 24 Home-buyers may be happy at slashing of tax rates on under-construction houses to 5 per cent without input tax credit (ITC), and 1 per cent on affordable housing, but there is a mixed reaction in the real estate industry. National Real Estate Development Council, a body of real estate developers, said the GST should have been with ITC. Signature Global, one of the big players in Haryana, said though the announcement is buyerfriendly, its impact on the real estate industry will be known once the notification comes. Currently, GST is levied at 12 per cent on payments made continued on page 7 AFFORDABLE HOUSING ■ Cap on price of affordable property is ~45 lakh for metro and non-metro projects to avail of 1% tax rate ■ But they have to meet different carpet area requirements. Those with carpet area of 60 sq metre in metros and 90 sq metre in non-metros falling under the cap are eligible ■ Builders will not be able to adjust the taxes paid on raw material against the final tax liability on under-construction properties, as was earlier ■ The composition scheme comprises a flat tax rate without input tax credit Lucknow, February 24 Six persons have been arrested for kidnapping and killing six-year-old twin brothers, whose bodies were found in the Yamuna in Banda, Bundelkhand, on Sunday, despite a ransom of Rs 25 lakh having been paid by the victims’ family. The bodies were tied with stones. Shreyansh and Priyansh were sons of an oil trader and were studying in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh. They were kidnapped at gunpoint on February 12 after they had boarded their school bus. The bus CCTV footage showed two masked men with guns dragging the twins. The MP police have arrested Padam Shukla, the mastermind, who is said to be close to Banda BJP legislator Prakash Dwividi. The other arrested persons too have links with the party. — TNS Arunachal backtracks after Pakistan stations 2 arson, Dy CM house torched officers at JeM HQ No permanent residency for tribes along Assam border Itanagar, February 24 The Arunachal Pradesh Government on Sunday froze its decision on the controversial permanent residence certificate (PRC) that triggered widespread violence for the third day, leading to the torching of the Deputy Chief Minister’s house. A worried Chief Minister Pema Khandu convened an all-party meeting on Sunday, which Home Minster Kumar Waii described as “very tense and uncontrollable”. The government climbed down in the face of the violent protests and declared that it will not implement the report granting PRC to six ! communities living along the Assam-Arunachal border. Chief Secretary Satya Gopal said: “Considering the present situation in respect of the matter pertaining to grant of PRC to nonArunachal Scheduled Tribe residents of Namsai and Changlang districts, the government has decided that no further action shall be taken in respect of grant of PRC.” On Sunday, a mob set fire to the house of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein. Security forces resorted to blank firing as the the unruly protesters defied curfew and marched towards the Chief Minister’s residence. The protesters also set fire to and vandalised two police stations in Itanagar and adjoining Naharlagun, while a Superintendent of Police officer was reportedly injured. Car showrooms were vandalised. Four Army columns were deployed while authorities suspended Internet services across the state. The mobs alleged that a committee led by Environment Minister Nabam Rebia had submitted its report on PRC without proper verification of facts. The indigenous communities in Arunachal believe they will suffer if the PRC is extended to other communities. — IANS Lahore, February 24 The Pakistani authorities have appointed two administrators to supervise a seminary and a mosque believed to be the headquarters of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the terror outfit which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama suicide attack. Pakistan’s Punjab Government appointed the administrators two days after it announced taking over the control of Madrassatul Sabir and Jamia-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, over 400 km from Lahore. The seminary and mosque are believed to be JeM headquarters. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said these had been taken over in line with the SETS UP CRISIS CELL POST BORDER TENSION Islamabad: Pakistan has set up a crisis management cell in the wake of heightened tension with India. “It will keep all stakeholders updated over the border situation and diplomatic contacts,” foreign office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal was quoted as saying. The cell has been set up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. PTI decisions taken at the National Security Council meeting. Rejecting the announcement that the complex was JeM headquarters, he said, “This is a seminary and India is doing propaganda that it is the headquarters.”— PTI Final touches being given to a wall carrying the names of soldiers who have laid down their lives since Independence at the National War Memorial near India Gate on Sunday. PHOTOS: MANAS RANJAN BHUI Nation gets war memorial Spread over 40 acres, located right behind India Gate New Delhi, February 24 The country will get its first National War Memorial, the first such monument at the national level, on Monday. India Gate was built by the British in 1914 as a mark of respect for the soldiers lost in various wars. In 1972, the eternal flame or ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ was added to mark victory in the 1971 war. The war memorial comprises graphic panels and stone murals. Above all, busts of the 21 awardees of Param Vir Chakra have been installed. It has a layout with four concentric circles — ‘Amar Chakra’ or Circle of Immortality, ‘Veerta Chakra’ or Circle of Bravery, ‘Tyag Chakra’ or Circle of Sacrifice, and ‘Rakshak Chakra’ or Circle of Protection. The memorial complex includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame and six murals depicting famous battles fought by the Army, IAF and Navy in a covered gallery (Veerta Chakra). The bust of Subedar Joginder Singh, PVC, at Param Yodha Sthal. Likewise, 16 walls have been constructed in Tyag Chakra for paying homage to the 25,942 battle casualties. The names of soldiers have been inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets arranged in a circular pattern which symbolises the ancient Indian war formation ‘Chakravyuh’. The outermost circle — Rakshak Chakra — comprises rows of more than 600 dense trees, with each tree representing many soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation. — TNS
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).