DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SINCE 1932 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2018, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `4.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM CONG, RIVALS PDP & NC COME TOGETHER TO STAKE CLAIM IN J&K, BUT GOVERNOR SAYS NO Resolve, Dissolve Citing rival ideologies Centre stole mandate... of new allies, Governor BJP spending money to says polls best way out buy loyalty: Mehbooba EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE SRINAGAR, JAMMU, NOVEMBER 21 Satya Pal Malik CITING THE “impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies” and the “fragile security scenario in the state... where there is a need to have a stable and supportive environment for security forces”, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state Assembly Wednesday night. Expressing “serious doubts EXPLAINED E Opposition not called but has a reason to smile ● FOR ALL the talk of a stolen mandate, the Congress, Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference, each has a reason to be relieved. The PDP, wracked by rebellion, has kept its flock intact. The NC doesn’t have to work with rival PDP and yet has been able to position itself as standing up to safeguard J&K’s special status. The Congress, by agreeing to partner with NC and PDP, has made it harder for the BJP to find a partner in the state. Nationally, it has signalled flexibility in the anti-BJP camp. The loser, for now, is Sajad Lone. Backed by BJP, he was banking on weaning away PDP rebels but that’s off now. State is headed for polls, may be with Lok Sabha next year. EXPLAINED, PAGE 11 about the longevity of any such arrangement where there are competing claims of majority”, he said dissolution of the Assembly is “the best course of action... to provide stability and security to the state and hold elections at an appropriate time so that a government with a clear mandate is duly formed”. Malik moved shortly after PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government with the support of the National Conference and Congress — she cited a collective strength of 56 MLAs in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 21 BY HURRIEDLY dissolving the J&K Assembly with two years of its term left and hours after three parties had stated their plan to come together, the Centre has “stolen our mandate,” said former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday night. “We have 56 legislators together and the majority mark is 44. How can they dissolve the Assembly suddenly when we stake claim? They had kept it in suspended animation all this while. This shows that the intent wasn’t honourable from the beginning. Unfortunately, this is how things work now,” she told The Indian Express. Accusing the BJP of “spending money to buy loyalties” and EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 21 AS JAMMU and Kashmir Governor dissolved the Assembly hours after the Peoples Democratic Party staked claim saying it had the support of the National Conference and Congress, the BJP, in series of tweets, called the alliance a coming together of “terrorfriendly parties”. The party, a partner of PDP Gupta was with Mehbooba in PDP-BJP govt until a few months ago, supported the Governor’s decision and tweeted, “J&K needs a firm administration to deal with terrorism and not a combination of terror-friendly parties.” In another tweet it asked if “keeping the security scenario of EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, NOVEMBER 21 Always had faith that I will come clear: Johri MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 21 A THREE-MEMBER probe panel set up by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) cleared BCCI CEO Rahul Johri of sexual harassment charges on Wednesday. While Justice (retd) Rakesh Sharma, who headed the panel, and former Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh dismissed the allegations against Johri as “fabricated”, the third member, lawyer-activist Veena Gowda, advised him to undergo “gender-sensitivity counselling/ training”. The CoA was divided: Vinod Rai concluded that Johri could resume office, while Diana Edulji insisted that he should be sacked. Since Rai, as the CoA chairman, prevailed, Johri is set to resume office after a gap of three weeks. The BCCI statement quoted only a part of the report, but the CoA is expected to share the panel’s findings and recommendations with the Supreme Court in its status report. WORLD ME TOO “The allegations of sexual harassment in the office or elsewhere are false, baseless and have been fabricated and manufactured with an ulterior motive to harm Mr Rahul Johri,” Justice Sharma said in the report. “The complainants have failed to provide their cases as set up by them and we (me and Smt. Barkha Singh) are of the opinion that Mr Rahul Johri has not abused his powers,” he said. Stating that he found the allegations to be “manufactured with an ulterior motive to harm Mr Rahul Johri and throw him CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR NASHIK, SOLAPUR, NOV 21 PAGE 12 BY UNNY J&K in mind, can it afford horsetrading and instability?” Further, in one more tweet it commented, that “the best option in such a scenario is to go in for a fresh election at the earliest. This Assembly cannot produce a stable government.” In Jammu, the BJP unit saw Pakistan’s hand behind the Opposition’s moves to have an alliance. Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta said: “It had been on THE RO-PAX ferry that was launched between Dahej and Ghogha, across the Gulf of Khambhat, last month got stalled mid-sea with over 400 passengers and vehicles on board Wednesday afternoon. The passengers were stuck for about three hours before two tugs were called-in, and the vessel — Voyage Symphony of South Korean origin — was towed to THE EDITORIAL PAGE The Ro-Pax ferry being towed by a tug, Wednesday. Picture courtesy: @DGSeaconnect CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 8 EXPRESS NETWORK RAPE CASE FILED AGAINST ALOK NATH PAGE 7 NORTH SENTINEL ISLAND American killed on protected island, 7 held for taking him there KOLKATA, NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 21 INSIDE POLITICS VIA TWEETS AND WHATSAPP PAGE 6 GUJARAT GOVT BRACES FOR FODDER CRISIS, PLANS TO BUY FROM NORTH INDIA, PAGE 3 AMIT SHAH AMONG MAIN CONSPIRATORS IN TULSIRAM ENCOUNTER: OFFICER AN AMERICAN tourist has been allegedly killed by the protected Sentinelese tribe in the North Sentinel Island, a part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. While police said they had received information about the “body of a foreign national” being spotted on the island, the US consulate said he was missing and search efforts were on. The tourist has been identified as John Allen Chau (27). According to police, Chau rented a boat and hired some local fishermen to take him to the North Sentinel Island. Seven people, including five fishermen, have been arrested. Police sources said while a body had been spotted, it was yet to be recovered. “We have received information about a body of a foreign national at the re- John Allen Chau: US Consulate says missing mote Sentinel Island. The matter is under investigation,” said Udit Prakash Rai, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South Andaman. “On 19.11.2018, an email was received from the US Consulate General, Chennai, wherein it was stated that they have received a communication from the mother ofone Mr John Allen Chau... about her son’s visit to North Sentinel Island and attack by the tribesmen... A missing report was immediately registered,” DGP, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 4 Govt fast-tracks process to search and select board-level PSU officers AMITAV RANJAN CBI WAR: THREAT TO CREDIBILITY CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RAVIK BHATTACHARYA & RAHUL TRIPATHI CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 the Ghogha terminal in Bhavnagar district. “It was on its way from Dahej (in Bharuch district) to Ghogha when the incident happened. It was just three nautical miles away from the Ghogha terminal when the alarms on the vessel started ringing. So as per our standard operating procedure, we had to stop the engine,” Chetan Contractor, chairman and managing director of Indigo Seaways Pvt Ltd that manages and operates the ferry service told The Indian Express. AFTER RED-FLAGGING shrinking credit to Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME), the government is likely to underline — at the RBI’s Central Board meeting on December 14 — the stress in the real estate sector that threatens job losses. And make a strong pitch for providing liquidity to non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). Over the last 3-4 years, as banks exercised extreme caution in lending, it was NBFCs that stepped in to provide loans not just to retail home buyers but also housing firms. Several real estate companies have knocked on the government’s door with the RBI refusing to entertain any special dispensation for a particular sector. “The real estate sector is in a mess with developers finding it tough to raise funds and being forced to stall development and cut their workforce. RBI can always find ways beyond opening a special window, which it feels creates a moral hazard,” said a government official. The RBI data on sectoral deployment of funds shows that while the commercial real estate (CRE) witnessed significant slowdown in bank credit availability post-demonetisation, the credit outstanding for CRE witnessed a contraction for the first time in 13 months. In September, it contracted 0.8 per cent over the same period last year. CRE comprises loans extended to builders for construction of housing buildings, hotels, shopping malls, industrial parks, office blocks and hospitals — classified as commercial real estate by RBI. Getamber Anand, chairman, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) and CMD ATS Infrastructure, said that the key NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 21 IN A significant amendment to existing norms, a Ministry will no longer need to seek approval of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) or the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) if it wants to appoint a board-level officer in a PSU via the searchcum-selection route (which opens the door to private sector applicants as well). All it needs to do now is to get clearance of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). As per the current system, for a board-level officer — chairperson, MD or director — the concurrence of the DPE and the PESB, a committee of retired bureaucrats, was required for an exemption from the regular procedure which entailed an advertisement for the vacancy, followed by shortlisting of can- didates from among the applicants and an hour-long interview by PESB members. “Prior concurrence of the DPE and PESB in order to fill up a board level post by the Searchcum-Selection Procedure mode instead of the standard PESB route to be dispensed with,” says the November 14 office memorandum from the DPE. “Such proposals for exemption (from the PESB route) may AT CAMA HOSPITAL, 87 CCTVs, 70 GUARDS KEEP VIGIL PAGE 5 AN IDEAS SERIES PART 3 PAGE 9 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 East And West, Maharashtra Districts Fight Water Wars KAVITHA IYER & PARTHA SARATHI BISWAS TRUMP TEAM TURNS OVER ANSWERS TO MUELLER'S QUESTIONS $1.66 BN AID TO PAK SUSPENDED, SAYS PENTAGON BUSINESS AS USUAL Former Deputy CM sees Pak hand in Cong-PDP-NC move BCCI CEO cleared of Month after launch, Ro-Pax ferry gets stranded mid-sea, towed to Ghogha sexual harassment charge but panel split EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Mehbooba Mufti CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 New alliance is a combination of terror-friendly parties, says BJP SANDEEP SINGH & SUNNY VERMA NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 21 ‘J&K’s very existence was under threat, that’s why we came together’ MUZAMIL JALEEL After MSME, Govt will flag real-estate sector stress to RBI IN SOLAPUR’S Sangola taluka, residents of 14 villages are threatening a fast unto death if water is not released for them from the Tembhu lift irrigation project on the Krishna river. Villagers believe the water is legally theirs, but is not released from the upstream regions of Sangli and Satara owing to political pressure. Nearly 400 km away, on the other side of Maharashtra, Uttam Laxman Choudhari, 36, of Nalegaon in Nashik’s Dindori taluka seethes at the mention of his nearly 8 acres of black gram, finger millet, groundnut and paddy. From 10-12 quintals per acre of paddy, his yield this year is down to 15 kg from 5 acres, and he blames it similarly on “politically motivated” release of water of the east-flowing rivers from the western talukas of Nashik. The water was gone before the crop gained strength, he says. Further north, in Juni Bej village of Kalwan taluka in Nashik, residents joined a rally called by the All India Kisan Sabha last week with their specific demand that water from the Chankapur dam across the Girna river not be released towards Malegaon and UPSTREAM VS DOWN STREAM Jalgaon Tapi Nasik Girna Godavari Jayakwadi Dam Satara Solapur Sangli Uttam Laxman Choudhari on his parched field in Nalegaon, Nashik. Nirmal Harindran Chandwad, eastern talukas of Nashik, and further on towards the arid central Maharashtra region of Marathwada. Across Maharashtra, as farmers mull another season of DRY WAVE PART 2 severe losses, disputes over scarce water resources have begun to percolate down to village and taluka levels. Earlier this month, the Nashik district administration released water for Jayakwadi, Marathwada’s largest dam, after the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition against the release to water-scarce lower riparian areas. Even so, the release of water had to be done under the protective gaze of Riot Control Police teams. In Juni Bej village, the name reportedly a corruption of a colonial officer’s comment that the village’s jaggery production was “best”, sarpanch Ahilyabai Yendaith says 60 per cent or more of corn fields have dried up this year due to moisture stress. “Three quarters of the village is in the canal-irrigated area, and with the canals running dry as water is already diverted eastward, there is crop loss,” she says. Another villager, Ramesh Bacchav, complains that Juni Bej no longer has “Jai Swaraj”, or self-rule, in water, despite the dam built for their farm land. In times of acute water distress such as this, the idea that ownership of the dammed water should remain with locals alone is a popular one in drought-hit regions. “The release of the stored water, which is legally ours, to us is the only way for us to survive this year. Once our orchards go dry, it will take CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.