CMYK FRIDAY 10 MARCH 2023 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC www.thestatesman.com KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR BATTLE FOR BAKHMUT ‘CPM OFFERED `30 CR TO WITHDRAW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST KERALA CM’ P6 P4 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 33 °C and 22 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 80 % TEMPERATURE Max: 33.0 °C (0) SUN RISES 05:52 hrs MOON RISES 19:22 hrs U-20 WOMEN'S ASIAN CUP QUALIFIERS: INDIA BEAT INDONESIA 6-0 SITHARAMAN MEETS US COMMERCE SECRETARY P8 Modi, Albanese bond over cricket at Ahmedabad Test The two Prime Ministers to kick off first in-person India-Australia Annual Summit Min. 26 % Min:22.0 °C (0) SUN SETS 17:44 hrs MOON SETS 06:55 hrs New Moon on 21 March THUMBNAILS President Droupadi Murmu accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Harjinder Singh Dhami pays obeisance at the Golden Temple on Thursday. ANI SCO Supreme Courts’ Chief Justices meet to start on Friday: The Chief Justices of the member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will hold a three-day meeting in New Delhi starting on 10 March with a view to develop judicial cooperation among the member States. Being hosted by the Supreme Court of India, the Eighteenth Meeting of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Courts of the SCO Member States is likely to discuss a host of issues including “Smart Courts” and the future of the Judiciary ; Facilitating “Access to Justice” ; Institutional Challenges facing Judiciary: Delays, Infrastructure, Representation, and Transparency. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 MARCH rime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese on Thursday watched part of the 4th Commemorative Cricket Test Match for the Border Gavaskar Trophy between their two nations at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. After arriving at the stadium, the leaders took a tour of the facility amidst cheers from the spectators. Later, they met their respective cricket team captains ~ Rohit Sharma and Steve Smith ~ on the field and watched the game for about 25 minutes together. The Australian Prime Minister tweeted earlier in the day: “Celebrating 75 years of friendship though cricket with Indian Prime Minister.”In response, Mr Modi tweeted: “Cricket, a common passion in India and Australia! Glad to be in Ahmedabad with my good friend, PM Anthony Albanese to witness parts of the India-Australia Test Match. I am sure it will be an exciting game!” After leaving the Narendra Modi Stadium, Mr Albanese tweeted: "As two cricket-loving nations, Australia and India share a fierce P Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese wave as they arrive in the stadium to watch the fourth cricket Test match between India and Australia in Ahmedabad on Thursday. AP but friendly rivalry. At the heart of this contest is genuine respect, reflecting the affection and friendship between our people.” “On the field, Australia and India are competing to be the best in the world. Off the field, we are co-operating to build a better world. Prime Minister @narendramodi and I had the honour of opening the fourth test in Gujarat today. Good luck to all the players (but go Australia!)," he added. Upon arriving, the Prime Minister and his Australian counterpart were felicitated by the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Jay Shah and BCCI president Roger Binny. The Prime Minister handed over the Test Cap to the captain of Team India, Rohit Sharma, while the Australian PM handed over the Test Cap to Australian Captain, Steve Smith. The two team captains proceeded to the pitch for the toss while Mr Modi and his Australian counterpart visited the Friendship Hall of Fame. Former Indian Team coach and player Ravi Shastri accompanied the two Prime Ministers and explained the rich cricketing history between India and Australia. This was followed by the two team captains accompanying the Prime Ministers to the field of play. The two captains introduced the teams to the Prime Ministers followed by the national anthems of India and Australia. The Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister then moved to the President’s Box to watch the game. The Australian PM arrived in India onWednesday. On the same day, he participated in Holi celebrations along with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and the Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhavan in the state capital Gandhinagar. Mr Albanese also visited the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. The Australian Prime Minister is on a State Visit to India from 8 to 11 March. This is his first visit to India in his current role. In New Delhi, Prime Minister Albanese will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan on Friday. Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Albanese will hold the Annual Summit, the first time it is being held faceto-face, to discuss areas of cooperation under the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, besides regional and global issues of mutual interest. Mr Albanese will also call on President Droupadi Murmu. (Match report on Pg12) P12 ‘India, Aus pact will unlock true potential of bilateral trade’ Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese inside the cockpit of an LCA on board INS Vikrant, in Mumbai on Thursday. ANI STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 MARCH Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today said the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) signed between India and Australia was a transformative pact that would unlock the next level of potential in bilateral trade and investment.Addressing the IndiaAustralia CEO forum in Mumbai, he expressed optimism about the complementarities between the two nations and said the time was ripe for accelerating bilateral economic cooperation. Mr Albanese expressed appreciation for the large turnout of Australian investors who came to India with him as well as for the key Indian business houses that participated in the meeting. This, he said, was one of the most serious and high-profile delegations to visit India from Australian shores.Union Minis- ter of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, who also participated in the CEO Forum, noted that the goal of doubling the bilateral trade must be reset by the industries and CEOs present there as there was a great potential to increase the bilateral trade manifold. He observed that the current market share of Australian businesses in India was only a minuscule of the potential, given India’s population, rapid growth in the middle class and the growing demands of the overall economy for a better lifestyle. Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell pointed out that $2.5 billion worth of trade benefitted from the lower tariffs arising from the ECTA agreement in January 2023 alone and reassured that this growth would continue to further rise. He urged the industry to think much bigger to meet the demands of the growing relationship. ‘18 Opp parties to take part in Delhi protest’ Delhi excise policy scam: Jailed Sisodia arrested by ED a day before bail hearing STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE HYDERABAD, 9 MARCH While agreeing to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on 11 March, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha today questioned why BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh has evaded questioning by SIT in the MLA poaching case in Telangana.Ms Kavitha also categorically stated that Congress was not “untouchable” and that the BRS only wanted to unite the Opposition and that it was “Congress which will have to decide its attitude and sincerity towards the country to join the other regional parties.” In a significant move she also thanked former Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her contribution towards the Women Reservation Bill at the very outset. Ahead of tomorrow’s day long hunger strike over the Indian Navy’s largest wargame TROPEX-23 concludes Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC K Kavitha addresses a Press conference, in New Delhi on Thursday.SUBRATA DUTTA Women Reservation Bill she said 18 political parties have confirmed their participation. The protest would be kicked off by CPI-M general secretary, Sitaram Yechury in the presence of Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena. Congress too has been invited to the protest. Ms Kavitha’s office claimed that in the middle of media interaction Delhi Police sent a request to change the venue of the protest. Ms Kavitha contended that the summons by ED was a diversionary tactic ahead of her protest for implementation of theWomen Reservation bill. She said: “ED sent me notice saying I have to appear on 9 March. Then I pointed out that we have our programme on 10 March and told them I will be present on 16 March but I don’t know what was the rush, what danger was posed in the investigations of Delhi excise policy case that they couldn’t grant me two days but they insisted. So I told them I will go on 11th March.” She also stated that whenever ED or any other agency conducts probe, as a woman citizen she had the right to be questioned at her own residence but her request was ignored by the ED. “Please tell BL Santosh to come to Telangana and appear before the SIT,” Ms Kavitha said challenging the BJP and wondering why Mr Santosh sought stay after stay, lodged case after case in the court. Ms Kavitha also indicated that she and her party colleagues were being targeted since Assembly elections will be held in Telangana in November-December. “From last June Government of India has been constantly sending its agencies to Telangana. The question is why? Because Telangana Assembly polls are there in November and December. The modus operandi of BJP is that wherever there are elections, before Modi comes the ED arrives.” According to her not only BRS leaders but probe agencies were targetting others too. She claimed IT raids were conducted at more than 500 business houses, some 100 CBI raids took place in Telangana while ED has conducted raids in at least 200 places and NIA summoned some 500-600 people to intimidate them. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 MARCH A day before a court hearing on his bail plea, the AAP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday in connection with the 202122 Delhi excise policy case. The ED made the arrest after questioning Mr Sisodia for eight hours inside the Tihar jail as part of its money laundering probe into the alleged irregularities in the excise policy, officials said. The ED had earlier recorded his statement on Tuesday. The AAP leader was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 26 February in the same case and he is currently in judicial custody till 20 March. His bail plea will come up for hearing before the Rouse Avenue District Court on Friday.Mr Sisodia was taken to Tihar jail on Monday after the Rouse Avenue Court sent him to judicial custody till 20 March. ED sources told a news agency that the probe agency has got permission to quiz Mr Sisodia for three days, and it will seek his custodial remand. The ED on Thursday questioned Mr Sisodia in connec- tion with the alleged kickbacks of Rs 100 crore which the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its leaders are alleged to have received through hawala channels from the South Group. Reacting to the arrest of Mr Sisodia by the ED, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet in Hindi said: "Manish was first arrested by the CBI. The CBI did not find any evidence, no money was found in the raid. There is a bail hearing tomorrow. Manish would have been released tomorrow. So, today ED arrested him. They have only one aim ~ to keep Manish inside at all costs. By creating new fake cases everyday. The public is watching. the public will answer." The ED also made another arrest in the case earlier, as it took Hyderabad-based busi- nessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai into its custody. The ED, on Thursday, summoned Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's daughter K Kavitha for questioning in the liquor policy case. The former deputy CM of Delhi was also asked about Arun Pillai and K Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, about their alleged involvement in the case. The ED, last year, filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has, so far, undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after an FIR was filed, taking cognisance of the CBI case registered on the recommendation of Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena. SC: Discoms, instrumentalities of State, Centre draws up strategy to ensure cannot speak contrary to the govt’s stand availability of power during summer STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 MARCH STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The Indian Navy has concluded its largest exercise conducted across the expanse of the Indian Ocean Region. The four-month exercise ‘TROPEX’, which began in November 2022 culminated this week in the Arabian Sea.The overall exercise construct included the Coastal Defence exercise Sea Vigil and the Amphibious Exercise AMPHEX. Together, these exercises also witnessed significant participation from the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Coast Guard. Set in the Indian Ocean including the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, the theatre of operations for the exercise extended about 4300 nautical miles from North to South up to 35 deg South Latitude and 5000 nautical miles from the Persian Gulf in the West to North Australia coast in the East. (See Page 4) The Supreme Court has said that the power distribution companies (Discoms) which are the instrumentalities of State cannot take position inconsistent with the stand/policy of the government, as it ruled in favour of Adani Power Maharashtra Limited’s (APML) claim to compensatory fuel tariff for the high cost it paid for imported coal, due to shortfall in domestic supply by Coal India Limited and other coal companies. “The Discoms, which are instrumentalities of the State, cannot be expected to argue contrary to the stand of the Government, which clearly provides that the generators would be entitled to passthrough for the coal required to be imported or purchased from the open market on the ground of Change in Law,” said a bench of Justice B R Gavai NEW DELHI, 9 MARCH STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE and Justice Vikram Nath in a recent judgment. Noting that “in spite of this legal position and the stand taken by the Union of India, the Discoms are taking a stand which is contrary to the stand of the Union of India” the Supreme Court said, “We have come across a number of matters wherein concurrent orders passed by the Regulatory Body and the Appellate Forum are assailed. Such a litigation would, in fact, efface the purpose of the Electricity Act..., one of the major reasons for the enactment of the Electricity Act was the deterioration in performance of the State Electricity Boards.” The apex court said this while dismissing a plea by the Maharashtra State Elec- tricity Distribution Company Limited plea challenging the order of the concurrent orders of Central Electricity Regulatory Authority (CERA) and Appellate Tribunal for Electricity.The court also rejected MSEDCL's stand that for the shortfall in the supply of coal by CIL and other coal companies, the power generating companies should invoke remedies available under the law against the CIL/coal companies. The court said: “...we find that the stand taken by the Discoms that, since the loss being sustained by the generating companies is on account of non-fulfilment of obligation by CIL/Coal Companies, they should be relegated to the remedy available to them in law against the CIL/Coal Com- panies, is totally unreasonable. The claim is based on the change of NCDP 2007 by NCDP 2013, which, undisputedly, is covered by the term ‘Change in Law’.” The apex court felt that it was contrary to the 2013 New Coal Distribution Policy of the Ministry of Power that paved the way for ‘pass through’ compensation fuel tariff for the imported coal to meet the shortfall in the domestic coal by the Coal India Limited and other coal companies in the remaining four year of 12th fiveyear plan~Financial Year 201314 to Financial Year 2016-17 with an objective to meet the requirement of 78,000 MW from thermal power plants. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited had approached the Supreme Court challenging the concurrent orders passed by the CERC on 15 November 2018 and the 16 July 2021 order passed by the APTEL. CMYK NEW DELHI, 9 MARCH The Centre today said it has devised a multi-pronged strategy to ensure adequate availability of power during the upcoming summer months. Union Minister for Power R K Singh chaired a review meeting on Tuesday with senior officers from the Power sector, the Ministry of Coal and the Ministry of Railways at which detailed discussions took place on various aspects to meet the high electricity demand in the coming months, especially during April-May 2023. As part of the strategy, the power utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance for coal-based power plants well in advance so that no planned maintenance is required during the crunch period. Directions have already been issued under section-11 to all Imported coal-based plants to run at full capacity from 16 March 2023. Ade- As part of the strategy, the power utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance for coal-based power plants well in advance so that no planned maintenance is required during the crunch period quate coal stocks would be made available at the coalbased power plants. During the meeting, the member of the Railway Board assured the availability of enough rakes for the transport of coal. The Ministry of Railways agreed to provide 418 rakes to different subsidiaries of CIL, GSS and captive blocks and also enhance the number of rakes in due course so that sufficient coal stock can be maintained at power plants. Gas-based power would be used to meet any surge in demand. The ministry has directed NTPC to run its 5000 MW gas-based power stations during the crunch peri- od in April-May. In addition, 4000 MW of additional gasbased power capacity would be added by other entities for availability during the summer months. The GAIL has already assured the Ministry of Power of the necessary supply of gas during the summer months. All the hydro plants have been instructed to operate in consultation with RLDCs/ SLDCs (Regional/State Load Dispatch Centres) to optimise water utilisation in the current month for better availability during the next month. An additional capacity of 2920 MW would be available through new coal-based plants which would be commissioned by the end of this month. In addition, after direction from the Ministry, two units at Barauni (2X110MW) will be made available during the crunch period.During the meeting, Singh asked Power companies to ensure that there was no load-shedding during the summer months.
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