TheIndian EXPRESS LATE CITY, 18 + 4 (NEWSLINE) PAGES, PUNE, `4.00 ● TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FARMERS CALL OFF PROTEST AFTER STATE GIVES IN 10 THE EDITORIAL PAGE A claim for dignity BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Maharashtra says yes to farmer demand for right to forest land, waiver of loans Loan waiver no solution, make farming viable: Swaminathan State sensitive and positive to demands of farmers, Fadnavis tells Assembly RAVISH TIWARI SHUBHANGI KHAPRE NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 MUMBAI, MARCH 12 MAHARASHTRA ● WHAT IS THE FOREST LAND ISSUE & WHAT FARMERS WERE DEMANDING P 3 ● ‘THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE GOT SOMETHING ON PAPER’ P 3 WITH A sea of agitating farmers swamping Mumbai and pressure mounting, the BJP-led Maharashtra government Monday accepted almost all demands of the farmers, including their right to till forest land and extension of farm loan waiver to those who had borrowed between 2001 and 2008. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, even before he met a delegation of the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) that ledanestimated40,000farmers on a 180-km march from Nashik to Mumbai, told the Vidhan Sabhathatthestategovernment was “sensitive and positive” to the demands of the farmers, many of them tribals. The announcement that the agitation had ended was made afterathree-hourmeetingof the AIKS with Fadnavis at Vidhan Bhavan, in the presence of Special trains were arranged to send the farmers back to their homes. Prashant Nadkar Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and NCP leaders Dhananjay Munde and Ajit Pawar. In April 2017, a few months before announcing a waiver expected to cost Rs 34,000 crore, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FULL COVERAGE PAGE 3, 5 WHAT HAS BEEN AGREED UPON ■ MSP for farm produce in line with Swaminathan formula ■ Nar-Par, Daman Ganga and Girnar river-linking projects ■ Right of farmers, tribals to till forest land ■ Waiver to include loans outstanding since 2008 ■ 31 water conservation projects in state’s tribal north ■ Financial aid to tribals with serious health problems FROM MANDSAUR to Mumbai, farmer agitations have repeatedly invoked recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission to press their demands, including waiver of loans. Political leadership across states — Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab — have come out with their versions of farm loan waivers to stop unrest among farmers from turning into an electoral backlash. Yet Professor M S Swaminathan, authorof therecommendations of the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) which is better known as his panel, does not see farm loan waiver as a solution to challenges being faced by farmers. “Thedemandforloanwaiver is indicative of non-viability of farm economics. Every step shouldbetakentomakefarming CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Agrawal leaves BJP red-faced on Day 1: lost out to ‘dance karnewali’ LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 49 KILLED IN NEPAL CRASH A US-Bangla Airlines aircraft crashed while landing at the Kathmandu airport on Monday, killing at least 49 people. The Dhaka-Kathmandu flight had 71 on board. AP REPORT, PAGE 12 Regulator grounds 11 GoAir, IndiGo aircraft with faulty engines PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 THE DIRECTORATE General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the grounding of 11 AirbusA320neoaircraftoperated by budget carriers IndiGo and GoAir that are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engineswithcertainserialnumbers. The aviation regulator’s directive came hours after an IndiGo aircraft with the affected engine, on the AhmedabadLucknowroute,developedamidair snag shortly after take-off, forcing it to return to Ahmedabad. DGCA said it has not got a “firm commitment” from the US engine manufacturer on addressingfreshsafetyconcerns, whichforcedittogroundthefleet. The problem with the PW1100G engines was first red-flagged by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last month, followingwhichcertainrestrictions were imposed on flying such aircraft. “EASAhasinformedthatthey areevaluatingsomeinterimproposals and will be revising the emergency airworthiness directive in due course, as soon as the current affected engines will be modifiedwithasaferinterimdesign.P&W,intheirlatestcommunication, has also not given any firmcommitmentastowhenthe issue on the engine... will be resolved, and informed that all the affected engines will be replaced CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NETWORK ● NO END TO IMPASSE, BJP ISSUES WHIP FOR THREE DAYS PAGE 6 MINUTES AFTER he joined the BJP, Rajya Sabha MP Naresh AgrawalMondaywasatthecentre of a storm after saying he joined the party because he was bypassed for “somebody who danced and worked in films”, referring to actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan. Agrawal drew sharp criticism from the BJP, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who saidhisremarkswere“improper Piyush Goyal welcomes Agrawal to BJP. Tashi Tobgyal and unacceptable”. Agrawal quit the Samajwadi PartyandformallyjoinedtheBJP in New Delhi after he lost out his Dalai Lama to skip Science Congress EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE FIRE TOLL NOW 10, PROBE ORDERED PAGE 7 12 WORLD ‘CLEARED PLAN TO SHOOT DOWN PLANE WITH 110 ON BOARD’ WHILE THE Dalai Lama was listed as one of the chief guests for the 105th edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) thatbeginsinManipuronFriday, he will not attend the event. This comes weeks after the government sent a note asking senior leaders and government functionaries to stay away from events planned to mark 60 years in exile of the Dalai Lama. As reported by The Indian Express, the note underlined that this is a “very sensitive time” for bilateral relations with China. Achyuta Samanta, general president of the Indian Science Congress Association, told PTI that the Dalai Lama had been invited to the conference, but said CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 Was listed as a chief guest he would not be able to attend it. “We were also told that he had visited Manipur two months ago,” Samanta was quoted as saying. The ISC’s website, however, still lists the Dalai Lama as one of the three Nobel laureates — Muhammad Yunus and Hiroshi Amano are the other two — who will participate as chief guests. This was also tweeted by Manipur University, which is the venue for the event. A member of the ISC’s organising committee told The Indian Express CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Key communication channel with partner snapped, say BJP leaders MIR EHSAN & LIZ MATHEW SRINAGAR, NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 J&K CHIEF Minister Mehbooba Mufti Monday sacked her Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu, for his remarks that Kashmir is “notapoliticalissue”but“asociety which has social issues right now”. Speaking on ‘Kashmir: The Way Forward’ in New Delhi on March 9, Drabu set off a political storm in J&K when he said: “Don’t see J&K as a conflict state andapoliticalissue.Itisasociety which has social issues right now. We are trying to find our own space and we are going through a process which many other countries are also going through.” “It(J&K)isnotapoliticalissue asfarasIcansee.Theyhavebeen barkingupthewrongtreeforthe last 50 or 70 years by talking Haseeb Drabu about the politics of it, that the political situation has never improved.Weseriouslyneedtolook at in terms of how it is a society that is in search of itself,” he said. The ruling PDP, which asked Drabu to retract his statement, later initiated disciplinary proceedingsagainsthimandsought an explanation. “The party (PDP) recognises Jammu and Kashmir as a politicalissueandeversinceitsemergence, the party has relentlessly been pursuing its resolution through reconciliation and dialogue,bothatinternalandexternal levels,” PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni said. “It is unfortunate that the problem is seen, by CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 3 militants killed in Valley encounter, one of them an ‘IS recruit’ BASHAARAT MASOOD SRINAGAR, MARCH 12 A MILITANT ‘commander’, who is reported to be the Islamic State’s (IS) first recruit in the Valley,waskilledwithtwoother militants in an encounter in Anantnag, South Kashmir, on Sunday night. Whilepolicesaidtheydidnot know if Mohammad Eisa Fazili (22) had joined the IS, they confirmed his involvement in the killingof apolicemaninSoura,in Srinagar, on February 25. The IS had claimed credit for the attack the next day, through its news agency Amaq. “Assassinated an element of police in firing near city of Srinagar in Kashmir At the funeral of Eisa Fazili in Srinagar on Monday. PTI yesterday,” it had said. According to sources, police cordoned off Hakoora village in Anantnag on Sunday night,after CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 2 yrs after Cabinet OK, 4 rail lines for China border await funding SUSHANT SINGH NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 ● THENI FOREST Rajya Sabha re-nomination to Bachchan. Agrawal’s term as Rajya Sabha member ends on April 2. Addressing a press conference in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Agrawal said: “Aur filmon mein kaam karnewali se meri haisiyatkardigayi.Yefilmonmein dance karte, apna role karte, unke naamparhamaraticketkatagaya, mein ne isko bahut uchit nahin samjha.Kisinebhiiskouchitnahin samjha. (My status has been Mufti sacks Drabu for saying Kashmir not a political issue THE GOVERNMENT is unable to find an estimated Rs 2.1 lakh crore that is needed to construct four ‘priority’ strategic railway lines on the China border. The final location survey (FLS) for these four railway lines is currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Railways after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave its approval in December 2015. GovernmentsourcestoldThe Indian Express that the matter has been discussed repeatedly by the Empowered Committee on Border Infrastructure (ECBI), chairedbytheCabinetSecretary, but no conclusive decision on the funding could be arrived at. The Ministry of Defence has also raised the issue in the CentralPermanentCoordination Framework, which has representatives of the Ministry of Railways. The preliminary estimate of Rs2.1lakhcroreforconstruction of the four strategic railway lines was provided by the Railways, andaSteeringCommitteeunder Secretary (Expenditure) in the Ministry of Finance was formed to look for ways to finance the construction. As per government sources, Railways have declined to fund construction of these four lines, calling them commercially unviable, both in projected passenger and freight traffic. The Ministry of Defence had allocated Rs 344.84 crore in FY 2016-17fortheFLSof fourstrategic lines — the 378-km Missamari-Tenga-Tawang line, the 498-km Bilaspur-ManaliLeh line, the 227-km Pasighat- Tezu-Rupailine,andthe249-km North Lakhimpur-BameSilapathar line — after the CCS decided to take them up for construction on priority. Each of these lines will pass through high-altitude terrain of the Himalayas, with issues pertaining to stability, geology, construction, maintenance and repairwhichneedadetailedstudy. Once constructed, the BilaspurManali-Leh corridor will be the highestrailwaylineintheworld, surpassingChina’sQinghai-Tibet railway. The construction costs are going to be very high because of theverydifficultterraininwhich these lines will be constructed. Government sources fear that the estimated costs will further shoot up after the FLS is completed in a couple of years, and a detailed project report CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR ‘IMPRESSED’ BY ROLE IN LANKESH KILLING, ACCUSED GIVEN NEXT TARGET: POLICE JOHNSON T A BENGALURU, MARCH 12 IMPRESSED WITH the logistical support he provided before the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh,theconspiratorsbehind her killing tasked Hindu Yuva Sena leader K T Naveen Kumar, who was arrested for his alleged involvementinhermurder,tokill outspoken writer-rationalist K S Bhagwan in Mysuru, investigations have found. Kumar was in the process of procuring a gun to kill Bhagwan at the behest of co-conspirators when he was arrested on February 18, by the Bengaluru police for illegal possession of bullets, sources said. He is suspected to have surveyed and pointed out Gauri Lankesh’s house to a group of killers who came from outside Karnataka to murder her. Gauri was killed outside her house in BengaluruonSeptember5,2017. Kumar will also undergo a narco-analysis test to understand the depth of his knowledge about the conspiracy to kill Gauri Lankesh and to corroborate statements given so far. He consented to undergo narcoanalysiswhenproducedbeforea magistrate’s court in Bengaluru Monday. Kumar, in court last week, had refused to undergo the test despite giving his consent in police custody before witnesses. Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) M N Anucheth, who is also the investigating officer in the SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case, said that the alleged murder plot to kill writerrationalist K S Bhagwan would now be pursued under sections of the Indian Penal Code for attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy case and not just an illegal arms case. Theadditionof thesesections will implicate Kumar in the attempt to murder Bhagwan — a strident critic of practices and beliefsintheHindureligioussystem. Though Kumar has been grantedbailintheArmsActcase, Naveen Kumar at a Hindu Yuva Sena event in Maddur police will file a revision petition to consider the serious, new charges and reject bail, said Anucheth. A magistrate before whom Kumar was presented on March 2 in connection with Gauri Lankesh murder case was given a sealed copy of a voluntary statement provided by Kumar abouthisroleinthetwoconspiracies. Sources claimed that a delay of one week in arresting Kumar last month would have resulted in a murder attempt on Bhagwan. Investigations conducted so far in the Arms Act caseagainstKumar—whoisalso affiliated with the radical rightwing Hindu group, Sanatan Sanstha — have revealed that he was tasked with organising a support group to carry out surveillance at the writer’s home, procure a weapon and facilitate a shooting operation by a team that had already visited Karnataka and was scheduled to return when the gun was in hand. Some close associates who Kumar had involved in the plot to provide support for the Bhagwan operation have pro- videdevidenceduringtheprobe to indicate the stage of planning of the operation — including a visit by some outsiders speaking a different language. In Mysuru, where Bhagwan lives, security for the writer-rationalist was enhanced recently. “Hewasbeingprovidedsecurity, which has now been increased to the highest possible level after another investigation revealed that his life is under serious threat,’’ Mysuru Police Commissioner Subramanyeshwar Rao said. While Kumar initially claimed during investigations that he was to obtain a weapon from outside Karnataka, subsequent investigations have re- vealed that a weapon was to be delivered to him in the state through an arms and ammunition network that he had used for a few years, police sources said. When he was arrested in February, Kumar was found in possession of 15 rounds of .32 calibre live cartridges which are the equivalent of 7.65 mm cartridges. Investigators are of the view thattheplottomurderBhagwan with a new weapon was probably an attempt by the conspirators to divert attention from the Gauri Lankesh case, where investigations had indicated that she was shot with a 7.65 mm CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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