eye PUNE, LATECITY 16PAGES,`5.00 Month before standoff, China blocked 5 patrol points in Depsang ` 86 per kilo ` 114 per kilo ` 140 per kilo Indian access to PPs inside LAC cut off in April, Chinese still at Bottleneck PP10 DSDBO RakiNala BURTSE Under the Covid shadow, the Indian Premier League opened to empty stands at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday. Chennai Super Kings defeated Mumbai Indians by 5 wickets. BCCI SRINAGAR, SEPTEMBER 19 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Social distancing, digital cheerleaders, canned applause, few lapses: IPL is on SRIRAM VEERA MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 19 IT WAS befitting that the first IPL game in the pandemic age was kickstarted by a cricketer who has just recovered from Covid19. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pacer Deepak Chahar, who bowled the first ball this season, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus within days of landingintheUAEearlierthismonth. Near the end of the Mumbai Indiansinnings,Chaharwasseen cramping. Australian commentatorDeanJonessaidthephysios will have to monitor the player. The heat at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi was taking a toll on the players, playing the IPL in front of empty stands. NIA arrests nine in Bengal & Kerala, claims al-Qaeda attacks foiled DEEPTIMAN TIWARY, SWEETY KUMARI & SHAJU PHILIP PAGE 8 BUBBLE GAME How 75 days of staying locked up, monitored by CCTVs and Bluetooth wristbands, is impacting the game’s superstars Firms with up to 300 workers can hire and fire without Govt nod: Bill in LS NEWDELHI,SEPTEMBER19 AbuSufiyan,MurshidHassan andMosaref Hossenwere amongthosearrested. PTI FIRwasregisteredonSeptember 11. All nine belong to Murshidabad district. Seven are either daily wage labourers or in menialjobs,whiletwoaredoing their graduation at a Murshidabad college. Perumbavoor in Ernakulam, from where two of the men were held, is a major migrant hub in Kerala. Six of those held from Murshidabad district belong to its areas bordering Bangladesh, such as Jalangi, Domkol and Raninagar, and were known to be religious. Sources said their families were not aware of their alleged involvement in terror activities. The three held from Ernakulam had been coming to Kerala to work as labourers for years. At the end of the match, which it lost to CSK by five wickets, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said, "We are used to people cheering for us but we knew that this was on the cards. Anyway, this is the new normal andIhopethingsgetbettersoon." TheCovidshadowenveloped the tournament starter in other ways as well. CSK’s England allrounder Sam Curran wore a headband to hold back floppy hair. The England cricket board has advised their bowlers to wear headbands in the training sessions to avoid flicking sweat onto the ball. Though the InternationalCricketCouncilhas allowed sweat on the ball, England and Curran were not taking any chances. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AANCHALMAGAZINE NEW DELHI, KOLKATA, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, SEPTEMBER 19 THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA) Saturday claimed to have foiled plans for terror strikes in various parts of the country with the arrest of nine alleged al-Qaeda operatives reportedly acting at the behest of handlers from Pakistan. The agency arrested the nine in early morning raids at Murshidabad in West Bengal and Ernakulam in Kerala, and claimedtohaverecoveredcountrymade pistols, a rudimentary body armour, batteries, switches, firecrackers, literature on home-made IEDs and other “incriminating material” from them,apartfromamapmarking out vital installations in Delhi which were reportedly among their targets. Sources said the nine had been under surveillance for a fewmonthsandthearrestswere made based on inputs that they were preparing for an attack. An SUNDAY STORY THEGOVERNMENThasproposed to introduce more conditions restricting the rights of workers to strike,alongsideanincreaseinthe thresholdrelatingtolayoffsandretrenchmentinindustrialestablishmentswith300workers,from100 workers or more at present — steps that are likely to provide moreflexibilitytoemployersfor hiringandfiringworkerswithout governmentpermission. CONTINUEDONPAGE2 EXPLAINED JAMMU AND Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Saturday announced a Rs 1,350 crore relief and rehabilitation package for the business community in Jammu and Kashmir, in light of the Covid-19 economic slowdown. The main component of the package is 5% interest subvention(agrantbythegovernment) to all borrowers “irrespective of size”, which would cost the administration Rs 950 crore, and would be available for six months in the current financial year, the LG said, terming the move unprecedented. “There are special circumstances here. For the last several years, people involved in business, trade, industry or artisans have faced a lot of difficulties. I am happy to announce that the administration has approved a Rs 1,350 crore package for the business sector which has been battling an economic crisis,” Sinha said, E Dilutes rightsof ● workers WORKERS IN small establishments (with up to 300 workers) will have their rights watered down with no protection of unions, labour laws. Moreover, there's a provision that makes a legal strike wellnigh iimpossible. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BOTTLENECK (Y-junction) PAGES 13, 14, 15 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA NAVEED IQBAL A Life More Ordinary Six months ago, India enforced its first lockdown. What do you remember of the last normal day before the pandemic turned lives upside down? SEPTEMBER20,2020 Rs 1,350-cr J&K package, 5% interest grant for all borrowers THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE 11 11A 12 Limitof Patrolling 13 JivanNala DHARTI NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN & KRISHN KAUSHIK MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 19 DEFENCE MINISTER Rajnath Singh, making a statement in RajyaSabhaThursdayonthesituation along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, said “patrolling patterns are traditional and well-defined… no force on earth can stop our soldiers from patrolling” and “there will be no changeinthepatrollingpattern”. But the situation on the ground, especially in the DepsangPlainsinthefarnorthof Ladakh,isverydifferent.Because more than a month before the standoff began in May on the north bank of Pangong Tso whereIndiansoldiersarenotbeing allowed to move beyond Finger4totheLACpointatFinger 8, Chinese troops cut off Indian access to five “traditional” pa- Ladakh DepsangPlains DBO HotSprings Galwan Darbuk Leh Pangong Chushul Tso BUSINESS ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING CutHouseshort butdon’tuse Covidtoduck debate:Opp Debate slowdown, pandemic: Cong; TMC for discussion on GST payment INDIA LIZMATHEW&MANOJCG LAC NEWDELHI,SEPTEMBER19 trolling points (PPs) in the Depsang Plains. Confirming this, a top source in the government told The Sunday Express earlier this week that the Chinese blocked access to PPs 10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13 in March-April this year. Located east of the strategic Sub-Sector North road or the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road, the five PPs are close to the LAC, but not at the LAC itself – in short, they are located well inside the line that marksIndianterritory.Whilethe governmentsourceplayeddown the extent of the area where Indian troops are being denied access,estimatingittobearound 50 sq km or thereabouts, a former member of the China Study Group, the government’s main advisory body that also decides onthelocationofthesepatrolling points, said “it is a material change” due to the “tactical and strategicsignificance”of thearea. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 DEEPENING CONCERNS over Covid in the premises of Parliament forced political leaders in Lok Sabha to agree on cutting short the monsoon session but there was disagreement over whattheunfinishedbusinesswas and how to address it. While the Government is insistent on pushing a slew of Bills, the Opposition is pressing for debates on crucial issues. This emerged at a meeting of theBusinessAdvisoryCommittee ofLokSabhaconvenedbySpeaker Om Birla Saturday. Themonsoonsessionthat beganSeptember15—withseveral firsts and unprecedented protocolsforCovidspread—wasscheduled to end on October 1. In the BAC meeting, the government insisted that it wants to clear all the Bills it has listed. The Congress asserted that it wanted detaileddiscussionsoncrucialissuesincludingthepandemic,economic slowdown and National Education Policy. The Trinamool Congresssaiditwantedtodiscuss the stalled GST compensation. With more than 30 MPs including Union Ministers Nitin GadkariandPrahladPatelandseveral Parliament staff testing positive over the last week, there has been a palpable sense of concern and apprehension in Parliament over the spread of Covid. The Indian Express on Friday had reported that the apprehensionsoverCovidcouldpromptan early winding up of the session. Parties like the TMC and the DMK argued the session should becutshortinviewofthefactthat over 30 MPs have tested positive over the last week. SourcessaidtheCongress,too, left the decision to the Government and Speaker but its leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury saidtheGovernmentcan’tusethis as an alibi for passing Bills withoutanydebate.“Aapkekehnepar aaye hain aur aapke kehne par jayenge,” Chowdhury is learnt to have said. He added that the Governmentcancallanothersessionafteramonthandpasssome of the Bills then. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Covid-hit Maharashtra’s revenue falls 19% in Aug amid reopenings, case surge SANDEEP ASHAR MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 19 REFLECTING A tepid recovery in the overall economy amid the easing of lockdown restrictions and a new flare-up of Covid-19 cases, Maharashtra’s monthly collectionsintaxesandleviesfell by 19 per cent to Rs 15,470 crore in August as against Rs 19,334 crore collected a month earlier. Official statistics further show that amid further reopening of the virus-hit economy, state’s own tax and non-tax revenue plunged from Rs 12,218 crore in July to Rs 10,891 crore THE FINANCIAL YEAR SO FAR All figures in Rs crore Earnings April May 2020 2020 MajorTaxes 4059 6147 NonTaxRevenue 276 332 Grant-in-Aid 4734 1281 ShareinCentral 2824 2824 Taxes TotalRevenue 11894 10584 (20-21) TotalRevenue 20399 23969 (19-20) June 2020 10928 310 5531 2575 July 2020 11840 378 4542 2575 August 2020 10710 181 2275 2575 Total 43683 1477 18364 13373 19344 19334 15740 76896 19171 22657 29657 115853 IF WE CAN HOLD TALKS WITH CHINA, WHY NOT WITH PAKISTAN: FAROOQ Data: Maharashtra government last month, which is a near 12 per cent decline. Worsening matters further, August also saw a50percentdropingrant-in-aid receipts from the Centre — from PUNE,SEPTEMBER19 AGGRIEVED BY the central government’ssuddenbanontheexport of onions, the Maharashtra governmentisexpectedtotakeup the matter through official channels. The state government is going to highlight the “injustice” done to onion growers in Maharashtraandseekrevocation The country has seen bumper onion crop this year. IN PARLIAMENT, PAGE 6 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 State to write to Centre against onion export ban: ‘caused great distress’ PARTHASARATHIBISWAS National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Hasnain Masoodi at Parliament on Saturday. PTI of the ban in a formal letter to the Centre, said sources. Attheendofthesummerharvest season, onion growers in Maharashtra had stored up around 27 lakh tonne of the bulb, of which 60 per cent stock remains. The country has seen a bumperonioncropthisyear,with cultivationareaofthebulbincreasing to over 9 lakh hectares comparedto7lakhhectareslastyear. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Tomar stresses MSP, farm Bills set for RS today amid logjam MANOJCG &HARIKISHANSHARMA NEWDELHI,SEPTEMBER19 AMID PROTEST against the three farm Bills which are expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha Sunday, Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar Saturday tried to allay farmers’apprehensionsbyunderliningthattheMinimumSupport Price (MSP) regime will continue as before. The MSP for rabi crops will be announced in the coming week andTomarsaidprocurementwill continue at the MSP. The new provisions under the proposed law stipulate payment within CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD INS Viraat, world’s oldest aircraft carrier, sets sail the last time PAGE 1 ANCHOR EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 19 U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE GINSBURG DIES, UPENDING PRESIDENTIAL RACE CDC REVERSES GUIDELINES ON TESTING PEOPLE WHO WERE EXPOSED PAGE 10 ENDING A nearly six-decade service across two Navies, INS Viraat, the world's oldest aircraft carrier, set sail for the final time on Saturday. After efforts by Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra governments to convert the Viraat into a maritime museum failed, the vessel wasboundfortheship-breaking yard in Alang, Gujarat, where it will cease to exist within a year. The Defence PRO Mumbai tweeted, “#Viraat Callsign “Romeo Two Two” – End of an era, a glorious chapter in the historyof @indiannavy.Shedeparts #Mumbai today for her final journey. Old ships never die, their spirit lives on.” The decommissioned aircraft carrier was auctioned off last month by the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation and purchased by scrapping and recycling firm Shree Ram Group for Rs 38.54 crore. The process is expected to take between nine and 12 months.SoonafterthevesseldepartedMumbaiat11.30am,both common citizens and retired Indian Navy officers expressed anguish at the fact that the ves- The vessel is bound for the ship-breaking yard in Alang, Gujarat. Ganesh Shirsekar sel could not be preserved. In 2014, INS Vikrant, India's first aircraft carrier, was sold to a scrapping firm in Darukhana. Metal from its hull was purchasedbyBajajAutomobilesand used to manufacture a muchpublicised range of motorbikes. The government had purchased the Viraat from the UK in 1987. HMS Hermes, as the vessel was then known, was commissioned into UK's Royal Navy in 1959,servedduringtheFalklands Warin1982,andwasdecommissioned two years later. CommanderRPGupta(retd), who was part of the Viraat's commissioning crew, compared the year spent bringing the vessel to life with giving birth to a child. The crew spent the year in Plymouth port, refitting and modifying and adding air-tosurface missiles to the vessel. “The crew went to the UK in batches. I went there in late May 1986. Though other members of the crew were already at work, the first day you go inside the vessel like an alien,” he recalled. The young Gunnery Officer and his colleagues had to adjust not only continental food and sunsets at 3 pm but also the novel experience of contract workers at the privatised port. “We worked day and night. The bondof thecommissioningcrew lasts throughout your life. Those are not bonds that break even CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pune
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