SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 29 JULY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16+4 | `5 |LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR COMPASSION TO STRAYS WILL ENSURE A BALANCE BETWEEN NATURE, ANIMALS AND HUMANS WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with light rain likely to occur. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 33 and 26 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 3.2 MM RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 95% Min. 51% Max: 32.2°C (-2) SUN RISES 05:42 hrs MOON RISES 20:20 hrs Min: 25.4°C (-2) SUN SETS 19:14 hrs MOON SETS 07:37 hrs TEMPERATURE REVOLUTIONARY AND ICONOCLAST SAROJ DUTTA'S ONLY WEAPON WAS HIS RAZOR-SHARP PEN P1 P 10 Mehbooba urges PM to accept Imran peace offer Bus carrying Maha varsity staff falls into gorge, 33 die Short of majority, PTI chief begins talks with parties to form coalition govt in Pakistan THUMBNAILS CRPF personnel patrol a street of Nagaon in Assam on Saturday ahead of the declaration of Draft National Register of Citizens. The Draft is IANS expected to be published on 30 July Delhi pvt hospitals ignore IMA call for strike: Private hospitals in Delhi paid no heed to the 12-hour national strike called by the IMA against the introduction of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill with the Delhi Medical Association also refusing to take part in the protest. All healthcare services functioned smoothly at the private hospitals on P3 Saturday. PM promises roof for all by 2022: Speaking at a function in Lucknow, the Prime Minister said the government will provide a roof to all homeless people by 2022, reiterating his government's promise. Reacting to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s charge Modi said: “I am a 'bhagidar' of that poor family which is forced to sell its land for medical treatment, of the homeless, of illiterate children, and of the unemployed”. Modi will be back in Lucknow on Sunday to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for projects involving an investment of Rs P4 60,000 crore. 10% growth not possible without improving HDI, says Niti Aayog CEO: Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said the country needs to improve its human development index (HDI) to achieve a growth of around 10 per cent. ‘We are growing at around 7.5 per cent and if our ambition is to grow at high rates like 10 per cent over a three-decade period, (then) it is not possible to do this if we don't improve the HDI for India,” Kant said at an event in Delhi on Friday. Such growth, Kant said, was not possible if infant-mortality and maternal-mortality rates were at very high rates. Yamuna breaches danger mark: Torrential rains continued to batter parts of north India Saturday, with Yamuna breaching the danger mark in the national capital that prompted authorities to evacuate people from low-lying areas. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held an emergency meeting with top officials, directing all departments to be on high alert. The meeting was held after Haryana released five lakh cusec of water from the Hathni Kund Barrage, which is expected to reach Delhi by P2 Sunday evening. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA SRINAGAR, 28 JULY J ammu and Kahmir former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti today appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept the “hand of frindship” extended by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan for ending bloodshed in the state. Cricketer-turned politician Khan, in his first public address after leading his party to victory in the general elections, had said Pakistan is ready to improve its ties with India and his government would like the leaders of the two sides to resolve all disputes, including the “core issue” of Kashmir, through talks. Khan, whose party emerged as the single largest in the National Assembly elections with 116 seats, asserted that the blame game between the two neighbours should stop. “I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A new government will be formed in Pakistan and there will be a new prime minister, who has extended a hand of friendship towards India. He (Khan) spoke of dialogue. He (Modi) should respond to it positively. “It is my request that he (Modi) should grab the opportunity and respond positively to the offer of friendship by Imran Khan,” Mufti said at a rally here to mark the 19th foundation day of her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP president said the forthcoming elections should not become an impediment in starting the India hopes Pak will act NEW DELHI, 28 JULY Reacting to the just-concluded elections in the neighbouring country, India on Saturday said it desired a prosperous and progressive Pakistan at peace with its neighbours even as New Delhi put the issue of terrorism on the front-burner. ‘’We hope that the new government of Pakistan will work constructively to build a safe, stable, secure and developed South Asia free of terror and violence," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a question. The spokesperson said, ‘’We welcome that the people of Pakistan have reposed their faith in democracy through general elections.’’ However, New Delhi chose not to react to the remarks made about India-Pakistan ties by cricketer-turned-politi- cian Imran Khan who is poised to become the next Prime Minister of the neighbouring country. While making peace overtures towards India, Imran harped on the Jammu and Kashmir issue and also accused New Delhi of fomenting trouble in Pakistan’s restive province of Balochistan. The foreign office in New Delhi is said to be closely monitoring the developSNS ments in Pakistan. reconciliation process with Pakistan. “Elections come and go. (Then Prime Minister) A B Vajpayee extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan and also entered a ceasefire on the borders. This is statesmanship, such leaders do not think about elections but about the people. Jammu and Kashmir is the biggest challenge for the PMs of our country...,” she said. “The PM who resolves the Jammu and Kashmir issue within the ambit of humanity, ends bloodshed in the state and improves relations with Pakistan, his name will be written in golden letters in the histo- ry,” she added. Mufti said during her tenure as the chief minister, she called on Modi and discuss with him the need to hold dialogue with Pakistan as well as the people of the state. Asserting that she appealed to the prime minister for the release of the Hurriyat leaders arrested by the NIA on Eid, Mufti said the move would come as a goodwill gesture if the Modi-led government wanted the separatists to come to the dialogue table. Reacting to the civilian killings during her tenure as the chief minister, Mufti said there were clashes every day which led to killings. “There was nothing in my hands. What was in my hands I did. We got the Centre to announce a ceasefire and the killings stopped”. The former chief minister alleged that she was not allowed to work peacefully. “There has not been a day since 8 July 2016 that we were allowed to work peacefully,” Mufti said. The last two years have been a headache for me as there was always some issue or the other to deal with, she added. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today said she “drank the cup of poison” to continue in a coalition government with the BJP out of compulsion, following her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's demise in 2016. Mehbooba claimed that she allied with the BJP as her party legislators and senior leaders told her that it would be a “disrespect” to Sayeed if she went against his decision to form the government with the saffron party. Mehbooba Mufti faced yet another embarrassment on the 19th foundation day of the PDP on Saturday when six of her rebel legislators skipped the rally that was organized to mark the day in Srinagar. A dissident leader Abdul Majeed Paddar claiming his faction as the real PDP organized a parallel rally in Kulgam in south Kashmir. The six legislators conspicuously absent from Mehbooba’s rally were, Haseeb Drabu, whom she had sacked as finance minister, Imran Reza Ansari, Majeed Padroo, Abid Ansari, Abbas Wani and Javeed Baig. This indicates that the rebels have not reconciled even after Mehbooba’s maternal uncle Sartaj Madni quit his position of vice-president of the party. In Pakistan, Imran Khan has started reaching out to leaders of different political parties and independent candidates to form the next government after his party won a majority of seats in Parliament. Khan led his PTI party to victory in the elections this week, amid a consensus among South Asia experts and Pakistan-observers that it was greatly influenced and meddled by the Army. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MUMBAI, 28 JULY Thirty-three staff members of an agriculture university in Maharashtra were killed when the bus they were travelling in skidded off the road and rolled down a deep gorge in Raigad district this afternoon, officials said. The private bus was carrying 34 staff members of the university on a picnic. It fell into a 500-feet deep gorge at Ambenali Ghat near Poladpur town, around 180 km from here, District Collector Vijay Suryawanshi told PTI over the phone. Thirty-three passengers died in the accident which took place at around 12.30 pm, he said. SP Anil Paraskar said the passengers were on their way to Mahabaleshwar, a hill station in Satara district inWestern Maharashtra, for a picnic, when the driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a turn and it fell into the gorge. All the bus passengers were staff of the Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth at Dapoli in Raigad district, he said. A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was at the spot to pull out the bodies from the ill-fated bus. A dozen ambulances and 15 doctors were SEE PAGE 7 Govt for new tag post-GST cut Hunger deaths: Delhi cops STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 JULY After reducing GST rates on a plethora of goods, the government has issued a directive to companies to paste stickers with revised maximum retail price on those items to ensure that the benefits of reduction are passed on to consumers. Senior government officials said,“Over the past one year 384 commodities have witnessed reduction in rates including the last week reduction of over 50 items. However, many of these products are currently being sold at higher prices in the market. We want to ensure that the benefit of tax reduction is passed on to the con- ‘Over the past one year 384 commodities have witnessed reduction in rates including the last week reduction of over 50 items’ sumers.” Companies, like earlier reduction announcements, can make a declaration of the changed retail sale price by way of stamping or putting stickers or printing online.While companies such as LG, Samsung and Whirlpool have already announced price cuts, many are still waiting to clear their existing stock. Amid reduction in tax rates, the industry is opti- mistic that the price cut will fuel demand with consumers holding back on discretionary spending. The GST Council decided to lower tax on most of the goods and only 32 items remain in the 28 per cent category, the highest tax slab. Going forward, the government intends to do away with the 28 per cent slab with only a few luxury and sin goods under the category. Meanwhile, the Centre is providing interest subsidy to homebuyers and levying lower GST rate of 8 per cent to boost demand of affordable housing. Affordable housing has gained momentum after the Centre gavve infrastructure status to this sector. in WB to trace girls' father SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 28 JULY A day after a preliminary magisterial probe report sought a“deeper investigation” into the conduct of the father of the three girls, who died reportedly due to starvation in east Delhi's Mandawali area, a police team was today sent to his native place in West Bengal to trace him, a senior officer said. Mangal Singh, the father of the deceased girls, has remained untraceable since 24 July when the three minor sisters reportedly died of hunger and chronic malnourishment. The deaths of the three sisters ~ Mansi (8), Parul (4) and Shikha (2) ~ triggered a widespread public outcry, sparking a blame game between the BJP , AAP and Congress. The preliminary magisterial probe report stated that Mangal had given the starving and sick children some “unknown medicine” by “mixing it in hot water” on the 23 July night. Police said they were awaiting the viscera report, which would help determine whether the girls were given any medicine that could have led to their deaths. The three sisters were declared brought dead at the government-run LBS Hospital on 24 July afternoon when they were brought there by their mother Beena and her associate. Beena is said to be "mentally unstable". The first post-mortem conducted at LBS Hospital pointed out that the three sisters died due to starvation and acute malnourishment. A medical board at another government-run hospital, GTB Hospital, conducted a second autopsy which also confirmed that the girls had died of starvation. A casuallabourer,Mangalissaid to be an alcoholic. He would often leave his family for three-four days and go away looking for job, police said. The police teams are trying to trace him in various places outside Delhi. Party authorises Akhilesh to decide on LS tie-ups u PRESS TRUST OF INDIA LUCKNOW, 28 JULY The Samajwadi Party national executive today authorised party president Akhilesh Yadav to take a decision on alliances and seat sharing for the general elections next year, an SP leader said. Senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said, “The main decision taken in the national executive is that party president AkhileshYadav has been authorised to take a decision on alliance and seat sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.” “The executive is of the view that elections should be held through ballot papers and not through EVMs (electronic voting machines),” he told reporters here. The ruling BJP claimed that the SP's demand reflected its “nervousness and desperation”. “The SP appears to have accepted defeat even before the elections,” BJP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi told PTI. Ram Gopal Yadav, when asked to elaborate on the discussions at the meeting about the political scenario, parried a direct reply, saying, “I am telling you about the decisions not the discussions.” About absence of some party leaders, including Azam Khan from the meeting, he said, “Is it necessary that all should remain present? Ninety per cent of the members were present. Party president Akhilesh Yadav was also there.” On being asked as to what the party would do if the Election Commission did not accept their demand for polls through ballot papers, Ram Gopal Yadav said SP leaders would sit at the doors of the EC and resort to satyagrah. Asked about possibilities of him contesting from Sambhal Lok Sabha seat, he said, “It is up to the party to decide whether I will contest or not. If it directs me, I will contest. If it doesn't, I will not.” To a question on who will lead the alliance if it is formed, Ram Gopal Yadav said, “The government at the Centre is running with 17 parties. Their leader is only (Narendra) Modi. Every party has its leader.” To another query as to whether there was any discussion about Akhilesh Yadav's warring uncle Shivpal Yadav, he replied in the negative. When his attention was drawn towards the frequent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Uttar Pradesh, Ram Gopal Yadav said, “This is just the beginning. As elections approach, he will have to come here on a daily basis.” At the meeting, the attendees condoled the death of poet Gopal Das Neeraj and some other eminent personalities, and observed silence as a mark of respect to them. A senior SP leader said the seat sharing formula could be that each party in the prospective alliance will get to contest in those constituencies where they had either won or were runners-up in the last Lok Sabha polls. Going by this arithmetic, the Congress will be eligible for only eight seats in Uttar Pradesh as it had won two seats and was runners-up in six in the 2014 general elections. According to Samajwadi Party insiders, the party leadership is not ready to spare more than eight seats for the Congress. If the SP relinquishes these eight seats and some more for smaller partners, its own quota of seats would go well below 30. “In such a scenario, the party believes that it will be left with only 25-26 seats to contest in 2019, which does not suit its stature,” said another SP leader, requesting anonymity. He said Akhilesh Yadav might not be, therefore, willing to accommodate the Congress beyond its pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli. “Moreover, the experiment of a tie-up with the Congress had failed in 2017 (Assembly polls) despite the Akhilesh government's achievements,” said another SP leader. The Gujarat BJP will organise a workshop tomorrow to chalk out a strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in order to repeat its 2014 sweep of all 26 Parliamentary seats in the state. The parliamentary study and coordination committee workshop would be held in the presence of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, BJP national general secretary and party's state in charge Bhupendra Yadav, state unit president Jitu Vaghani. at the scene, Additional SP Sanjay Patil said. The lone survivor, Prakash Sawant, said mud and loose stones on that particular stretch of the ghat road caused the bus tyres to skid. “The bus veered to the left and fell into the gorge before we could understand what was happening. Trees arrested the fall someway down. I had managed to jump out in time. I climbed my way up somehow,” he said, recounting the tragedy. When Sawant reached the road, he saw a crowd of people. “One of them gave me a mobile phone. I called up the police control room and informed them,” he said. Originally, 40 people were supposed to join the trip to Mahabaleshwar, but some of them opted out at the last moment because the bus was small and there was no space, Sawant said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed ‘pain’ over the deaths. “Pained by the loss of lives due to a bus accident in Maharashtra's Raigad district. My condolences to those who lost their loved ones," he tweeted.Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, among other leaders, expressed grief. Karunanidhi stable, say doctors CHENNAI, 28 JULY DMK chief M Karunanidhi, being treated for fever due to urinary tract infection, was shifted to a private hospital from his residence here early today due to dip in blood pressure and is now stable, the hospital said. The 94-year-old leader was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Kauvery Hospital around 1:30 am. A bulletin issued at 8 pm said “former Chief Minisiter Karunanidhi's health condition continues to remain stable with ongoing active medical support. He is continuously being monitored and treated by the panel of expert doctors in the ICU.” Earlier the hospital said he was admitted after his blood pressure had dropped. “His blood pressure has been stabilised with medical management and he continues to be monitored and treated by a panel of experts,” the 2.30 am bulletin said. Karunanidhi's family members discussed the treatment modalities with hospital authorities. DMK leaders, including party working president and Karunanidhi's son M K Stalin, and other frontline leaders such as Duraimurugan, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and former Union minister A Raja were present at the hospital.The DMK leaders had also visited the nonagenarian leader's house in Gopalapuram area before he was taken to the hospital. PTI (SEE ALSO PAGE 6)
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