DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2019, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `4.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Rajnath gets manifesto, Jaitley publicity duty in BJP’s collective front for LS polls LIZ MATHEW Party shows has sabka saath, senior leaders get signal NEW DELHI, JANUARY 6 Ready for CBI probe, people will teach BJP a lesson: Akhilesh MAULSHREE SETH LUCKNOW, JANUARY 6 A DAY after the CBI searched more than a dozen locations across Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in connection with an illegal mining case that allegedly involves Samajwadi Party leaders, former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav Sunday said the BJP has shown its “true colours” and that the CBI can never help anyone win elections. Targeting the BJP, Akhilesh said that the CBI is being used to the thwart the SP-BSP alliance in the state. “It is a question of just 100 days. After 100 days, all of us will be before the public. The CBI is not going to win an election for anyone. The CBI is going to ask us questions and we will answer but the public is going to decide and they are ready to teach them (BJP) lessons,” he said. Amid reports of an alliance without the Congress, Akhilesh said that the BJP was using the CBI just like the Congress did it in the past. “I am happy that the BJP has shown its true colours. I will get the chance to meet the CBI again. One chance was given by the Congress and now another chance has been given by the BJP,” he said. He said that an announcement on seat-sharing with the BSP will be made in about a week’s time. “What do we have? All we can do is enter an alliance and go before the public. But those who want to stop us, what do they have? They have the CBI?” he said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 STEPPING UPits preparations for the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP Sunday appointed Home Minister Rajnath Singh chairman of its manifesto committee and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was named the head of the publicity committee. Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari will lead a team to coordinate with social and non-governmental organisations. After giving senior leaders key election responsibilities in the states, the BJP also announced Sunday 17 groups ahead of the 2019 polls, with an emphasis on communication. Signalling that the crucial elections will be fought with cooperation from all leaders, party president Amit Shah has distrib- A Delhi BJP Dalit outreach, with “5,000-kg samrasta khichdi”, in the Capital on Sunday. Prem Nath Pandey team, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will oversee the activities of the media group. The social media committee will be headed by party secretary Shyam Jaju, GUWAHATI, JANUARY 6 SENIOR ASSAM minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday that if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which is opposed in the state by large sections, is not passed, Assam will go to the “Jinnahs”. “People are concerned that we are trying to bring somebody (outsiders), which is false. Without that Bill, we are surrendering ourselves to the philosophy of Jinnah... This is a fight between Jinnah’s legacy and India’s legacy,” Sarma, the BJP’s Northeast face, said at a press conference here. The Bill essentially proposes to make minority (or nonMuslim) immigrants from three neighbouring countries, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citi- zenship. The Centre is set to bring the Bill before Parliament, and speaking in Silchar on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it “atonement” of the mistakes of Partition. The Bill is seen to be violating the 1985 Assam Accord that, simply put, says that any immigrant who came into the state after the midnight of March 24, 1971, would be identified as a foreigner. Asked about this on Sunday, Sarma said, “Let the Assam Accord be violated, but let us not go to Jinnah. You have to determine between the Assam Accord and Jinnah. Which way will you go?” When a reporter asked if he meant Muslims by “Jinnah”, he replied that he had said “Jinnah” and not named any community. Sarma added, “The Bill itself will strengthen us, but rumours are being spread about it. If the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BY UNNY Accidental PM: Firm tied to director faces UK tax fraud charges PAGE 1 ANCHOR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani flies a kite to inaugurate the annual kite festival at Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Over 500 kite enthusiasts from nearly 45 countries, including the US, the UK, Cambodia and Nepal, are taking part in it. Javed Raja A still from the film. It is slated to release on January 11 Kingdom, according to court filings seen by The Indian Express. The British Film Institute is the principal agency for certification of a film as British. Under the UK Creative Industry Tax CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In UP, Maharashtra, sugar mill owners fail to pay farmers govt-fixed prices PARTHA SARATHI BISWAS & HARISH DAMODARAN EXPRESS NETWORK AS THEtenure ofthe NDA government at the Centre nears completion, there is no progress on negotiations for a peace accord with Naga armed groups, with talks stuck for almost a year due to an intransigent position taken by the Naga side on ‘symbolic’ issues, such as a separate flag. As reported by The Indian Express on April 26, 2018, ‘substantive’ issues had been re- solved between the two sides and a draft agreement was ‘almost ready’ by then. But a change in Naga position has led to apprehensions that any gains made since 2014 will be lost with a change in political dispensation at the Centre. Contacted by The Indian Express, the Centre’s interlocutor and Deputy National Security Advisor, R N Ravi, said: “I would not like to comment on it as we are engaged with the peace process.” Ravi has been closely associ- ated with negotiations with Naga groups for decades, first in various capacities as an Intelligence Bureau officer and later as the Centre’s interlocutor in July 2014. He signed the framework agreement with the NSCN-IM in August 2015. Sources said the current logjam is largely due to the Church, which has taken a lead role in articulating the Naga political position in the past year. The Church has argued that symbols are integral to the identity of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In Pak jail, Ansari’s pipeline of hope included a few good men, some oil skimmed off food SAGAR RAJPUT & TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA MUMBAI, JANUARY 6 HAMID ANSARI has two handmade velvet paper boxes as reminders of his time in Pakistan. Now kept in a show-case in his suburban Mumbai home, the boxes contain bracelets, a rosary, a pen and a keychain, that he fashioned out of beads during his prison term. “I learnt it, just like cooking, in prison,” says Hamid, 33. Three HARDLY TWO months into the start of crushing operations for the new sugar season, mills in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have piled up almost Rs 11,000 crore in payment dues to farmers. The arrears could peak towards April, just when voting for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections takes place. The two states account for almost 75 per cent of the sugarcane grown in the country. According to the latest data from the Maharashtra government’s Commissionerate of Sugar, mills in the state, as on December 31, were to have paid growers Rs 7,450.90 crore for cane at the “fair and remunerative price” or FRP of about Rs 245 per quintal declared by the Centre for the 2018-19 season (average rate, after deducting harvesting and transport charges from field). But they had only managed to pay Rs 2,875.37 crore, which translates into arrears of Rs 4,575.53 crore. It is worse in Uttar Pradesh, where mills are still to pay Rs 1,770.18 crore out of the total Rs 35,463.68 crore value of cane supplied by farmers in the 201718 season (October-September). For the current season, they PAWAR WARNS OF ‘MASS REVOLT’ PAGE 7 BITTER HARVEST MAHARASHTRA ■ Mills were to pay Rs 7,450 crore by Dec 31 ■ Managed to pay Rs 2,875 cr UTTAR PRADESH ■ Till Jan 4, mills bought cane worth Rs 10,000 cr ■ Arrears so far at Rs 6,123 cr have, till January 4, bought cane worth Rs 10,051.02 crore at the state government’s average state “advised” price or SAP of around Rs 320 per quintal. Out of this, they were to pay Rs 7,210.11 crore within the stipulated 14day period from the date of cane CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Clock ticking, Naga talks stuck for long over issue of symbols NEW DELHI, JANUARY 6 A protest against BJP over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, in Guwahati Sunday. PTI CENTRE NOTIFIES PANEL 7 VRG DIGITAL Corporation Pvt Ltd, a company linked to Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the director of the film The Accidental Prime Minister, is not only facing charges of violating Indian tax laws but also allegedly indulged in “circuitous transactions” with a few domestic firms to “defraud” the British Film Institute and claim tax rebates in the United Sitharaman, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, K J Alphons, Kiren Rijiju, LET THE KITES FLY SUSHANT SINGH MUMBAI, JANUARY 6 who also leads the group for publicity material distribution. The Rajnath Singh-led manifesto committee has Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Get citizenship Bill or Assam goes to Jinnahs: BJP’s Sarma ABHISHEK SAHA Cane arrears up to Rs 11,000 cr, set to mount before polls PUNE, NEW DELHI, JANUARY 6 uted responsibility to almost all senior and key leaders. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been given charge of the content generation BUSINESS AS USUAL KHUSHBOO NARAYAN WHILE UNDERSCORING that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has touched various sections of society with its welfare schemes and programmes, the new appointments have signalled that the BJP now wants its senior leaders to fully engage in communicating this to the electorate in the run-up to the LS polls. The BJP leadership has also tried to ensure that a wide cross-section of society is represented in the committees for the elections to emphasise its campaign slogan of sabka saath, sabka vikas. FARMER DISTRESS Hamid Ansari with his family in Mumbai. File weeks since returning to India after six years in jail for illegally entering Pakistan, he is just back after meeting friends. His oiled hair has thinned, his complexion darker than when he was 27, but he smiles easily. “A few days ago, I went to a friend’s place in Andheri. My mother kept calling to check on me,” he grins. Fauzia Ansari, 59, straightens in her chair. “I get restless every time he leaves the house,” she admits. In November 2012, the IT engineer and MBA graduate had left home saying he was going to Kabul for a job interview. A week later, he had entered Pakistan through Torkham, in the hope of rescuing a 25-year-old Khattak tribal girl he had befriended via Facebook. Over virtual chats, she had narrated that her parents were forcibly marrying her off, as part of a tribal punishment for a crime by her male relatives. On November 14, 2012, Hamid was arrested, and handed over to Military Intelligence and the ISI. His first stint was in a military jail in Peshawar for threeand-a-half years, where he was kept in solitary confinement on charges of espionage. “They would make me stand for a week CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 At a skill training workshop. Express In Odisha, how a jobs revolution is giving rural poor a fresh start SAMPAD PATNAIK BHUBANESWAR, JANUARY 6 IT TOOK Poonam Kumari three months to turn her life around from an unemployed high school graduate to an internationally awarded coffee ‘brewmaster’. And it started when her father, a truck driver, decided to move his family to Odisha from Bokaro in Jharkhand. In Khordha district’s Jatni, she heard about the state government’s skill programme under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushal Yojana (DDUGKY). She trained for three months in 2015 in coffee making and currently earns Rs 20,000 a month at a Café Coffee Day in Thane. Mother to a ten-monthold baby, she plans to enrol all TRACKING CHANGE» EVERY MONDAY For all Change stories, log on to www.indianexpress.com/change Witness Change? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org her four siblings in Odisha’s skill development centres under DDU-GKY. A 2014 rural youth employment scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), the DDU-GKY has been spearheading a quiet revolution in Odisha. Poonam is one example among thousands whose skill development has helped the state win the best performer under DDU-GKY for two years in a row. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Near Ahmedabad, Livelihoods Dry Up With A Dried Wetland SOHINI GHOSH AHMEDABAD, JANUARY 6 NEW YEAR used to bring hordes of tourists to Nalsarovar, a natural wetland located 64 km west of Ahmedabad, as lakhs of migratory birds made the marshy area their winter home. From white tailed lapwing to rosy pelicans, from lesser and greater flamingos to herons and white storks, over 200 species of bitterns and grebes travelled from their northern breeding areas, some from as far as Siberia, to the bird sanctuary every October and left only as the days became warmer in March. But this January, there is none — neither the colony of birds, nor the swarming tourists. Nearly 300 boatmen, who ferried tourists from one side of the lake meandering through flocks of brahminy ducks and purple moorhen, are sitting idle. The lake has dried up completely, revealing its cracked and blackened bed. The last time, the lake and the adjoining marshes had witnessed a drought like this was in 2002, according to the people in the area. Satellite images of the wetland from the US government agency, United States Geological Survey (USGS), show how in the last three years, the watery areas of the wetland has severely shrunk. (See satellite images on page 2) According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), until August, Gujarat recorded the second highest rainfall deficit in the country — at 46 per cent. Surendranagar and Ahmedabad districts witnessed a deficit in the range of Boats on the dry bed of Nalsarovar which teemed with migratory birds during winter every year. Javed Raja 70-90 per cent. According to a senior forest official, the wetland received only 40 per cent of the normal rainfall this year. At present, according to a senior forest official, only one to two inches of water is available over an area of one square km of the bird sanctuary, which is spread over an area of 120 sq km and has 36 islands that are no more islands. “We pushed our boats for 45 days this season, along a narrow stretch of water, until that dried up, too. We have been sitting idle for the past one and half months,” said Multani Abdul Usman, a boatman who also doubles up as a bird-counter. “During the tourist season, we usually earn Rs 600-700 on a weekday, and nearly Rs 1,0001,500 on weekends. But right now, we are earning absolutely nothing,” said Qurbanbhai, another boatman. His family is among the 50 odd boatmen families who have not yet moved to the city to work as daily wage labourers. Others too, who rely on the Nalsarovar ecosystem for their livelihoods, have been left without any income, this season. They include some 60-70 women who run food stalls for tourists, and some 30-40 horse riders. Although the tourist season last for four to six months, the income generated during the period used to be enough for them to partially supplement their annual income with farming and cattle-herding. But the dried-up wetland has made them worried. “Without water, we can’t even farm, and have nothing to feed our cattle,” said Qurbanbhai. Residents of the area have tried to draw the attention of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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