DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 DAY AFTER: 26 BODIES FOUND, 170 MISSING, DAMAGE RS 1,500 CR REPLY ON DEBATE IN RAJYA SABHA Rescue ops centre on a 1.9-km tunnel PM says reforms here to with 35 trapped, families losing hope stay, can fix loose ends: ‘MSP was, is, will be’ ‘We are using excavators to remove debris but more keeps flowing in’ ‘Small farmers at heart of policy... Should we not care for them?’ MALLICA JOSHI, LALMANI VERMA & DEEPTIMAN TIWARY MANOJ C G TAPOVAN, RAINI (CHAMOLI), NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 OVER24hourssinceaflashflood struck Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, rescue operations continued well into the night on Mondayaspersonnelof theITBP, NDRF and Army worked to locate around 170 people, mostly labourers working at two power projects, who are still reported missing. According to the State Emergency Control Room, 26 bodies have been recovered so far from the project sites of NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad HydroPowerProjectandtheprivately owned Rishiganga power project. Officials said rescue operationsarecentredarounda1,900metre-long tunnel at NTPC’s Tapovan site, where at least 35 people are believed to be trapped. A barrage at the project site had been washed away in the flood that saw water rise up to 70 feet, leading to debris blockingthe20-feet-wideopening of the tunnel. The hope that rescue teams are clinging onto at this point is that the tunnel branches into two after 180 metres. ITBP spokespersonVivekPandey said the slush is expected to be less from there on. “Unless the victims drowned in the slush in the first few hundredmetres,thereiseverychance they are still alive deep inside the tunnel. Since it’s a long tunnel, thereislikelihoodofenoughoxygenbeingtrappedthere.Oncewe findevenasmallwaythroughthe slush, we will infuse oxygen into thetunnelthroughpipes,”anITBP officer said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 Rescue operations on at the Tapovan hydel project in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, Monday. Gajendra Yadav FULLCOVERAGE,P11 DEMARCATION OF SNOW AVALANCHE ZONE FOR FLASH FLOOD EVENT OF FEBRUARY 7 Alaknand a River Rishi Ganga nga Dhouli Ga DebrisPlume RAINI Fresh Snow FEB6,2021 Avalanche Zone (14sqkm area) MALLICA JOSHI JOSHIMATH, FEBRUARY 8 FEB7,2021 It is estimated this avalanche could have released 2.3 million cubic metres of water. Data source: Planet Labs May not be glacial lake outburst, images show snow fell off mountain ESHA ROY & AMITABH SINHA NEW DELHI, PUNE, FEBRUARY 8 WHILESCIENTIFICteamsarestill to begin their investigation into the cause of Sunday’s flash flood in Uttarakhand, new evidence suggests that the incident may Fleeting mobile network, bars to hang from helped the 12 stuck in tunnel have been caused by a breach in a temporary pool or lake formed byobstructionsduetolandslides or snow avalanches — an event described as a Landslide Lake Outburst Flood (LLOF). Satellite images circulated amongscientiststrackingtheincident show that a large chunk CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FOR HOURS until help arrived, they stayed that way – hanging on to iron bars protruding from the roof of the dark tunnel, hauling themselves up to stay above the icy cold water that had gushed in on Sunday morning. The 12 people who were rescued from the under-construction output tunnel at the Tapovan-VishnugadNTPCHydel Power Project say they had no hope that they would survive, but a mobile phone proved a godsend. “There is usually no mobile network in the tunnel but on Sunday,wegotitfortwominutes, enough to make a call to one of ourofficers,”saidBasantBahadur, 26,oneofthe12rescuedfromthe tunnelSundayafternoonwhoare now recovering at the ITBP CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE K Sriniwas Reddy, rescued at Tapovan site. Gajendra Yadav Hospital in Joshimath. The tunnel is a few metres ahead of the main 1,900p-metre tunnel at Tapovan, in which around35peoplearebelievedto be still stuck. Among the 12 who were rescued is geologist K Sriniwas CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 IN A controversial move, the cybercrime cell of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has started a new programme under which citizenscanparticipateasvolunteers to identify, flag and report to the Government illegal and unlawful content, including child pornography, rape, terrorism, radicalisation and anti-national activities. Sources told The Indian Express that the programme will be piloted on a trial basis in Jammu and Kashmir, and Tripura, and that its scale would be calibrated depending on feedback. Under this programme, the MHA’s Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) will act as a nodal point while volunteers can register themselves with their states or union terri- THE WORLD E X P L A I NE D Govt looks for cyber volunteers V K Singh LAC remark to report ‘anti-national activities’ counters India position, AASHISH ARYAN E Question ofpowers, ● limits THE PLAN may end up granting extraordinary powers to volunteers to flag any content or person as promoting radicalisation or being “anti-national” without any onus or accountability. The Government must first constitute a clear legal framework. NOW MAHARASHTRA TO PROBE INDIAN CELEB TWEETS CONG PLANS SOCIAL MEDIA WARRIORS PAGE 10 PAGE 1 ANCHOR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CHENNAI, FEBRUARY 8 PAGE 14 GOVT & POLITICS KARNATAKA PUSHES THROUGH LAW AGAINST SLAUGHTER PAGE 6 China says trespass clear EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ‘If China has trespassed 10 times, we must have 50 times’ NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 A DAY after Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Gen V K Singh (retd) said that India has transgressed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) more often than the Chinese side based on perceptions, contradicting India's official position, Beijing Mondayclaimedthattheformer ArmyChief'sremarkwasan“unwitting confession” of "frequent acts of trespass". Responding to a question, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said: “This is an unwitting confession by the Indian side. For a long time, the Indian side has conducted frequent acts of trespass in the border area in an attempt to encroach on China's territory and constantly created disputes and frictions, which is the root cause of the tensions at the China-India border.” Wang said: “We urge the Indian side to follow through on the consensus, agreements and treaties it reached with China, and uphold peace and stability in the border region with concrete actions.” In Madurai on Sunday, while responding to questions from CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MODI, BIDENTALK PAGE 6 THEFORM OF REFORM PAGE 8 Debate on motion of thanks on President’s Address. ANI Quotes Manmohan, slams ‘andolanjeevi, using foreign ideas’ MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 ASTHEfarmerprotestcontinues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday singled out the Congress,LeftandTrinamool,accusing them of standing in the way of agricultural reforms. Citing former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Modi said the Congress hastakenaU-turnafteradvocating reforms and argued that the country should be cautious of a new community of people, whom he called “andolanjeevi”, with “FDI (Foreign Destructive Ideology)”. Replyingtothedebateonthe BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY motion of thanks on the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha, Modi also reached out to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GO BEYOND APMC, SWITCH TO DBT Punjab Govt expert panel urged reforms akin to farm laws but Captain rejected KANCHAN VASDEV CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 8 A FULL 45 days before the Lok Sabha passed the three farm laws,agroupof expertscommissioned by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singhmade a number of recommendations for agriculture that reflect some key provisions in the farm laws. These were part of a preliminary report last August on the challenges of a post-Covid strategy to build “resilience and recovery” in the state. However, the Chief Minister, who consti- tuted the group under the leadership of former deputy chairman of Planning Commission MontekSinghAhluwaliainApril last year, rejected these recommendations a few days after the report was submitted. Although not officially CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ADMK flag, crowds around her, politics on mind, Sasikala is back ARUN JANARDHANAN CHENNAI, FEBRUARY 8 FORMER AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala on Monday returned to Tamil Nadu, having served a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case, withcrowdsgivingherarousing reception all along the way from Bengaluru toChennai.As a nervous AIADMK government watched people greeting her with the official party flag, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sasikala on her way to Tamil Nadu from Bengaluru. Express Director wins big with film on sister, toddler’s long walk ARUN JANARDHANAN AS S AFRICA HALTS ASTRAZENECA SHOT, WEST BACKS IT tories to act as cyber volunteers. The volunteers will be required to furnish personal details, including name, father’s name,mobilenumberandemail address, although these will not be verified separately, according to a document seeking registration from volunteers. The Government does not yet have any clear legal framework on what constitutes antinational content or activity, and often uses provisions under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act(UAPA)toeitherdetainorjail those accused of “anti-national” activities. The Home Ministry did not respond to an email from The IndianExpressseekingdetailson the reason for starting such a programme, how it would define anti-national content or activity, and what action would be taken against a social media account flagged as “anti-national” EMPHASISINGTHAThisgovernment is not going to withdraw the three contentiousfarm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday asked political parties and the protesting farmers to give “reforms” a chance. He urged the farmers to call off the agitationandcometothediscussion table, assuring them that if there are any shortcomings and loose ends in the laws, these can be addressed. Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s Address, the Prime Minister also promised that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism “was there, is there and will remain”. He signalled that procurement of food grains too will go on, saying that rations which are being given to 80 crore people at lower rates will continue. Emphaticallystatingthatthe time for reforms in the agriculturalsectorhascomeandtheopportunity should not be wasted, Modi said these changes had been talked about for around two decades but successive SOMETIME IN 2015, the mother of a two-year-old was beaten up and thrown out of the house by her alcoholic husband in the middle of the night, in a village near Melur in Madurai. She walked 13 km to her parents’ home carrying the child. On Sunday,afilminspired by her story won the Tiger Award, the top honour at the recently concluded 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021. The director of the film Koozhangal (Pebbles) is the woman’s elder brother, P S Vinothraj. She has a cameo, appearing in a hazy dream sequence. While the two lost their father at the age of nine, their mother is a street-vendor in Madurai town. Pebbles became the first Tamil film and only the second Indian film, after Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s S Durga, to get the TigerAward,withVinothrajwinning in his debut effort. Pebbles is also the first movie project for cinematographers Vignesh Kumily and G Parthib, and editor Ganesh Siva. TheRotterdamfestivalisconsidered the world’s most presti- A still from Pebbles, P S Vinothraj’s debut film that won the Tiger Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021 gious festival for experimental films. TigerAwardcarriesaprize money of about 40,000 Euros. Vinothraj says what happened to his sister, her long walk with the child, “disturbed” him, particularly the fact that he couldn’t question her husband. “I wasn’t able to do anything... I couldn’t tell her anything,” he says, apart from maybe once to “forget it”, that her child would ease her suffering. Produced by prominent actor Nayanthara and her partner Vignesh Shivan, Pebbles features a man and his son taking a long walk through a parched stretch of ruralTamilNadu tobringback the wife he had turned out of home a few days ago. “To convince her, he takes his son too. Maybe not only due to his guilt or love for her but also because he needs a woman to cook, raise his child and take care of the house...Inthemovie,Imadehim walk all the way.” The film capturesthediscordbetweenthefather and son, one angry, the other hurt. The official synopsis of the film talks about how while their relationshipisdeeplydisturbing, the two are “inexorably drawn together”. “It seems next to impossible that the still-innocent boy will go down the same path his father did. Their pointless journeyillustratesthedisruptive influence of grinding poverty.” The festival jury described the film as “a lesson in pure cinema”, saying that while it dealt with a remote part of the world, itcaptivatedthemforits“beauty and humour”. Talking about his struggle, Vinothraj says he assisted with several short film projects and a feature film before a short stint with the Manal Magudi theatre group in Kovilpatti in south Tamil Nadu proved fateful. “Manal Magudi is led by the acclaimed theatre director and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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