DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, JULY 24, 2021, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM PEGASUS STANDOFF: FIRST WEEK WASHED OUT WORLD TMC MP is suspended, Naidu says his conduct assault on democracy IN A FIRST, XI VISITS TIBET BORDER TOWN NEAR ARUNACHAL PAGE 12 HURRIYAT LEADERS, MEHBOOBA FAMILY AMONG POTENTIAL PEGASUS TARGETS Santanu Sen digs his heels in, his party says faced hooliganism in Rajya Sabha BUSINESS AS USUAL EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE EXPRESS NETWORK PAGE 8 NEW DELHI, JULY 23 BY UNNY Empty seats during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Friday. Reuters MOREREPORTS,PAGES13,14 A year late, the Tokyo Games begin... slower, lower, quieter, unflagging SC dismisses EXPRESSAT OLYMPICS telcos’ pleas on ‘errors’, no MIHIR VASAVDA TOKYO, JULY 23 pm time Friday, change in dues AT 8lightssharp localand the firethe dimmed NEW DELHI, JULY 23 THE SUPREME Court Friday dismissed applications by telecom companiesseekingcorrectionof what they claimed were “arithmeticerrors”inthecalculationof Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) payable to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). “All applications are dismissed,” a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah said. While Bharti Airtel had estimated its AGR dues at Rs 18,000 crore and Vi (Vodafone Idea) at Rs 25,000 crore, the DoT told the Supreme Court the two companies owed it Rs 43,000 crore and Rs 58,000 crore, respectively. The SC order will particularly intensifythefinancialtroublesfor debt-laden Vi, market analysts said. It has to pay nearly Rs 6,000 crore in AGR dues every year between 2021 and 2031. The companyalsoowedRs96,270crorein CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 works went off. And the country obsessedwithpunctualitycould finallybegintheOlympicGames a year later than originally scheduled. THE EDITORIAL PAGE PLAY IN THE MOMENT BY PULLELA GOPICHAND PAGE 6 hung from the window of an adjoiningbuildingandrightbelow, a lone Indian man, seemingly in his late-20s, milled about carrying a message of support for the country’s120athletes.Inthedistance,theimposingTokyoTower shone bright in the Olympic colours. 73 dead, 8 at a Covid hospital: rain batters west Maharashtra Districtsreportlandslides,housecollapses;2trainsstranded MAHARASHTRA MUMBAI Sangli Kolhapur Ratnagiri YOGESH NAIK, VALLABH OZARKAR & MANOJ MORE THE QUESTION of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues payable by telecom companies to the government had been a point of dispute since 2003. In 2011, the SC first ruled that TRAI and TDSAT did not have the jurisdiction to exclude certain items of revenue included in AGR. On Friday, it dismissed all pleas by companies over arithmetic errors in the calculation of AGR. MORE THAN 73 people have died in Maharashtra since Thursday evening as rain described as "unprecedented" by the state government caused landslides and house collapses in the western and southern areas of the state. Over 7,000 were rescued in badly hit Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur districts. Among the dead were eight admitted to a Covid hospital in Chiplun, Ratnagiri, who were killed when water entered the premises.CollectorBNPatilsaid, "Four people were on ventilator and they could have died due to lack of power, and four probably died because of trauma." The Aparant Hospital had 22 patients, and the others have been IAF personnel carry out rescue work in flood-hit Chiplun, in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, on Friday. Defence PRO shifted. Konkan Divisional CommissionerVBPatilsaidthey hadnotreceivedanydistresscall from the hospital. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GOA SUFFERS WORST FLOODS IN DECADES PAGE 5 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TMC MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Santanu Sen and Derek O’Brien in New Delhi on Friday. Prem Nath Pandey All my phones tapped, says Rahul; hand them for probe, counters BJP My security tell me they have to report to seniors all I say: Gandhi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JULY 23 DAYS AFTER it was reported that his phone was on a list of potential targets for surveillance using the Pegasus spyware, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Friday that not only all his phones are “tapped” but his securitypersonnelhadbeenasked to report to their seniors everything he said. Gandhi accused the BJP government of having used the Pegasus spyware, which he called a weapon, against the Indian state and institutions. Gandhi said he was not a potential target. “My phone is tapped. It is clearly tapped, so it is not a potential target.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Gyanvapi mosque gives land near it for Kashi temple corridor project LUCKNOW, JULY 23 Satara MUMBAI, PUNE, JULY 23 Uncertainty ends There were protesters, too. Not in huge numbers but loud enough to be heard inside the stadium. Every time there was a lull in the music, the protesters outside could be heard. “Go to hell, IOC!” they chanted, directing their anger at the International Olympic Committee, who, let’s just say, aren’t too popular here. These sharply-defined emotions were felt inside the stadium, too. There wasn’t any synchronised banging of the drums, like ASAD REHMAN Raigad ArabianSea ANANTHAKRISHNAN G & AASHISH ARYAN It was surreal outside the National Stadium, sombre and strange inside. Roughly a thousand people lined up on the narrow lane leading to the cavernous facility. They have been banned from entering the stadium during the Olympics because of the sharp rise in Covid19 cases — so, the Tokyoites jammed the streets. They waved at every bus heading in the direction of the stadium, posed in front of the rings, and clicked pictures every time the pyrotechnics went off from the roof. A Japanese flag WITH THE BJP Government not yielding to the demand for a discussion on the Pegasus spyware phone hacking scandal and the Opposition remaining firm on answers from it, Parliament remainedstalledforthefourthday Friday. In the Rajya Sabha, TrinamoolCongressMPSantanu Sen who tore IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s statement Thursdaywassuspendedforthe remaining part of the session, leading to more uproar. The Lok Sabha, too, could not transact any business. Barring a discussionontheCovidsituation in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday, the first week of the Monsoon Session was a complete washout, primarily over the hacking revelations. In the Rajya Sabha, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharanmovedamotion seeking the suspension of Sen THE COMMITTEE that runs the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi has handed over a piece of land outside the mosque complex to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust, in exchange for another plot of land in the vicinity. The land ceded by the mosquehadbeengivenbyitearlieronaperpetualleasetotheadministration, to build a police control room, in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, mosque officials said. The Trust hadsoughtitseveralyearsagofor the temple corridor project in Varanasi, a mosque official said. While this plot, located around 15 metres from the mosque complex, is equal in valuetotheoneitwasexchanged for, it is larger in size. The land given by the mosque measures 1,700sqftcomparedtothe1,000 sq ft given to it in exchange. S M Yasin, joint secretary of theAnjumanIntezamiamosque and the caretaker of the Gyanvapi Masjid, told The Indian Expressthattheplothandedover was not connected to the mosque and is separate. “Under the Gyanvapi mosque committee, there are three plots of land. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Malafide, says Karnataka HC, quashes UP police notice to Twitter India MD PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BENGALURU, JULY 23 THE KARNATAKA High Court Fridayquashedthenoticeissued to Twitter India Managing DirectorManish Maheshwariby Uttar Pradesh police, seeking his personal appearance as part of itsprobeintoacommunallysensitive video uploaded by a user on Twitter platform, saying it was "issued by malafide" and was meant to "arm-twist." The single bench of Justice G Narendar said that the notice, underSection41(A)CrPC,should be treated as one under Section 160 of CrPC. This means it allows Ghaziabad police to question Maheshwari through virtual mode,athisofficeorhisresidential address in Bengaluru. Maintaining that the provisions of the statute under Section 41(A) should not be permitted to become "tools of ha- rassment", Justice Narendar said the Ghaziabad police did not place any material which would demonstrate even the prima facieinvolvementof thepetitioner. "Inthebackgroundof thefact that Section 41(A) notice was issued by malafide, the writ petition (filed by Maheshwari seeking quashing) is maintainable… Accordingly, the notice...shall be read as Section 160 of the CrPC," the court said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sidhu takes over as Punjab PCC chief, cold to CM gestures of peace KANCHAN VASDEV CHANDIGARH, JULY 23 PUNJAB CHIEF Minister Amarinder Singh and newly appointed state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu made their first joint public appearance Friday, but barely managed to conceal their hostility towards each other. Theoccasionwastheinstallation of the new state team. Sidhu greeted senior leaders by touching their feet or shaking hands with them, but ignored Amarinder,whosatnearbyonthe dais. SidhucouldalsobeseenchattingwithoutgoingPCCchiefSunil Jhakhar as Amarinder addressed the audience, and the CM had to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh with Punjab PCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu in Chandigarh on Friday. Jasbir Malhi call out to get his attention. In his speech, Amarinder mentioned Sidhu several times, even crediting the latter's father forinitiatinghimintopolitics,and assertedthattheywouldworktogether.Butwhenitwashisturnto CONTINUEDONPAGE2 In Covid year, 2 lakh students move from private to govt schools in Andhra PAGE 1 ANCHOR SREENIVAS JANYALA HYDERABAD, JULY 23 IN THE academic year 2020-21, more than 2 lakh students between Classes 1 and 12 moved from private schools to governmentinAndhraPradesh.Around 60,253 are estimated to have dropped out of the system. In total, 3,57,873 students either dropped out of school or took transfer certificates for moving to other schools. The number of students who moved from private schools to govern- ment is exactly 2,02,599, as per Education Department data, while 8,448 moved from governmenttoprivate.Whileenrolment is still on, as of now, the student strength in government schools is estimated to be 72,33,040 compared to around 10 lakh in private schools. The move from government to private schools is in line with whathasbeenobservedinother states in the 2020-21 academic year, which coincided with Covid-19 and consequent economic distress. Officials said the number of dropouts in districts in 2020-21 was three or four times previous years,goinguptoninetimes.For WRITING ON THE BLACKBOARD 2,02,599 No. of Class 1-12 students who moved from pvt to govt schools 2020-21 60,253 No. of students out of the school system 3,57,873 No. of students who have instance, 19,800 dropped out in Visakhapatnam in 2019-20 compared to 36,016 in 2020-21. dropped out or taken transfer certificates 8,448 No. of students who moved from govt to pvt schools 72,33,040 Strength in govt schools 10 lakh Strength in pvt schools In East Godavari, the numbers stand at 3,800 versus 36,237; and in Kurnool, the numbers have surged from less than 10,000 in 2019-20 to 42,328 in 2020-21. Apart from students whom schools have simply not been able to trace, Education Department officials consider those who have taken transfer certificates and not enrolled at other schools as dropouts. A number of students are also believed to have dropped out due to lack of access to devices for online classes. Education Minister Audimulapu Suresh said they are trying to trace students who have dropped out to bring them back into the system before schools reopen on August 16. A high number of dropouts are girl students, Suresh said. "The dropouts can be attributed to Covid-19 lockdowns, closure of schools for a long time, job or income loss of the main breadwinner, and migration to native places." An Education Department official said, "Due to loss of income some parents can no longer afford to send their children to private schools and have enrolled them in government schools. Another reason is the improvement of infrastructure which has transformed government schools, attracting many students." Officials of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyansaidtheyhaverecorded instances of hundreds of families shifting from cities and towns back to villages due to the pandemic, displacing students. The government has developedamobileapplication,Mana Badiki Podam, on which houseto-house surveyors, including teachers and anganwadi workers, upload details of the dropouts. An online data monitoring system, Children Info Drop Box, helps track them. In East Godavari district, coincidentally the worst hit by Covid in Andhra Pradesh, seeing 2.75 lakh cases, 36,237 students are no longer on government records. The migration from pri- vatetogovernmentschoolshere, at 28,205 students, is also the highest in the state. A survey on school dropouts here revealed many instances of girls in Classes 9, 10 being married off by distressed families. District Educational Officer S Abraham said, "Due to financial problems, boys have dropped out and taken up work in brick kilns. We found students from as far as Srikakulam and Vizianagaram working in brick kilns at Mandapeta in our district... As small businesses folded or parents lost jobs, many boys went to Kadiyam, where they CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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