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# Oommen Chandy interacts with former Union Ministers
We will benefit from his political experience, the leaders say
Former Kerala Chief Minister, AICC general secretary and the person-incharge of Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh Oommen Chandy had one-on-one meetings with several former Union Ministers of the State and other senior leaders at the PCC office, the Andhraratna Bhavan, here on Tuesday.
Many leaders felt the appointment of such a senior leader as an observer showed the seriousness of the high command in rejuvenating the party that took a serious beating after bifurcation.
Mr. Chandy spoke to Rajya Sabha Member KVP Ramachandra Rao, former Union Ministers M M Pallam Raju, J D Seelam, Panabaka Lakshmi and Killi Kruparani, former State Ministers N Raghuveera Reddy (PCC president), Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy, C Ramachandraiah and PCC vice-president N Tulasi Reddy, former MP Chinta Mohan and AICC office bearers Gidugu Rudraraju and Mastanvalli in the morning session.
Each leader was given a questionnaire seeking details about the various party programmes they conducted in their respective parliamentary or Assembly constituencies. The questionnaire also sought details about the number of members enrolled by them, organisational activities and the strength of their political rivals.
Mr. Pallam Raju told the media that the appointment of Mr, Chandy, who was the Chief Minister on two occasions and was elected from his Assembly constituency 11 times, was being seen as an important development by both the people and the Congress workers of A.P. The workers and the leaders had great hopes on Mr. Chandy and that they would benefit from his political experience. True to their expectations, Mr Chandy took detailed notes and even made some valuable suggestions on ways to rejuvenate the party. In the evening, Mr. Chandy participated in an Iftar progamme organised by Mr. Raghuveera Reddy. Mr. Chandy said India was a secular country and secularism was one of its greatest strengths.
# Metro offers free travel on June 19 to mark its first anniversary
Issuance, annual fees to be waived on purchase of Kochi-1 card from June 15 to 30
In order to mark the first anniversary of the Kochi metro beginning its commercial operations, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is rolling out the red carpet for the commuters, with unlimited free rides to boot, on June 19.
“It will be a ‘free ride for all day’,” A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, MD of KMRL, told mediapersons here on Tuesday. As part of the anniversary celebrations, he announced a waiver of Rs. 150 on the issuance fee and the Rs. 75 annual fee for commuters who purchase Kochi-1 pre-paid smart card from June 15 to June 30. The week-long celebrations to commemorate Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioning the metro on June 17, 2017, will start with cutting of a huge cake at the Edappally metro station on Sunday.
A magic show titled “Time Traveller – Magic Metro” by noted magician Gopinath Muthukad will be one of the events, and will be held at the Edappally station on the same day at 11.30 a.m. Lucky draws will be held for commuters travelling in the metro between June 15 and June 18. Cultural activities have been planned at Edappally, Aluva and Maharaja’s College Ground stations.
Stepping up its greening initiative, each of the 500 KMRL employees working in the coach maintenance yard at Muttom will plant a tree on the premises. Each tree will be in his or her name and they will be encouraged to maintain it. It is also planned to do organic farming at vacant spaces in the yard. Kudumbasree and security personnel manning stations too will be honoured.
In addition, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu will release Kochi Metro 365, a first-of-its-kind coffee-table book comprising photographs and other details of the metro’s influence in Kochi and its people, during the past 365 days. The date of the event will be finalised later.
# Degree colleges resent denial of sliding
Stage dharna at office of Commissioner, Collegiate Education
Private college managements staged a dharna for a couple of hours at the office of the Commissioner, Collegiate Education, alleging that sliding option was not given to students in degree college admission and, as a result, 84,870 students were forced to join a college that they would not wish to.
Representatives of several college managements also questioned the increase in the registration fee and sliding fee that was not intimated to the students. This was being done to target private colleges and those in the rural areas, they alleged.
Members of the Telangana Government Recognised Degree and PG Colleges Managements Association said that the unilateral decision to disallow sliding for those who got seats of their first option was against all norms and natural justice. Due to this, 84,870 students who got seats on their first choice were denied an option to change their colleges.
Their contention was that many students who got admission into normal colleges were reluctant to join them after seeing the facilities or have changed their mind to move to towns and cities where the colleges were located. But the officials have taken a unilateral decision without understanding the hardships of rural students, they claimed. They questioned why the sliding option was withdrawn when it was extended to all professional courses, including medical and engineering.
They also alleged that seats in Government colleges were increased without proper norms and student-teacher ratio. Even the roaster system was not followed properly, they claimed in a statement here. However, Mr. Naveen Mittal, Commissioner, was not available to meet them.
# Heavy rain floods Wayanad in woes
17 houses destroyed, crop loss in district estimated at Rs. 4.5 crore
Widespread damage to properties and crops has been reported in the heavy rain that lashed many parts of the district for the past several days.
Normal life in many parts of the district was hit on Tuesday after low-lying areas were inundated in the torrential rain. “The district administration is adopting steps to open relief camps in Kottathara, Panamaram, Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady to shift families living in low-lying areas, K.M. Raju, Additional District Magistrate, told The Hindu .
As many as 17 houses suffered partial damages in rain-related calamities. Widespread damage to crops were reported in the heavy rain and wind that lashed the district since June 6.
The crop loss was estimated at Rs. 4.5 crore, according to preliminary reports of the Agriculture Department.
The rain seriously affected crops, especially plantain, vegetables, paddy, rubber, and areca nut.
As many as three lakh bunched and non-bunched plantain cultivated on nearly 130 hectares were uprooted in the winds.
An estimated loss of Rs. 3 crore was incurred in the plantain sector alone, Ms. Vallyathan said.
According to the rain data available with the Regional Research Station, Ambalavayal, the district received 684.5 mm of rain from January 1 to June 12 this year as against 472.2 mm rain during the corresponding period last year. For the period between June 1 and June 12, the district received 219.1 mm rain this year as against 47 mm last year.
# IndiGo makes Vijayawada airport a hub for bigger aircraft
Game-changer in passenger traffic, improved connectivity
The ever-booming Vijayawada airport will witness another game-changing development in passenger traffic and improved connectivity with other cities.
According to Vijayawada International Airport Director G. Madhusudhana Rao, the IndiGo airlines which recently kicked off its operations in the city has called for making the city airport a base for four of its larger fleet.
“IndiGo has recently made a request to have a base for four Airbus A320 aircraft. It wants to station the four 180-seater aircraft from September 1 and schedule its services accordingly. We have processed the request and forwarded it to the higher office,” Mr. Rao told The Hindu .
“This is a boost to not only the airport but also the passengers. Once the operations begin, the airline operates four services to four destinations every morning and also return flights in the night,” he said.
The city airport has 16 parking bays of which six were developed recently due to the increasing traffic.
However, it doesn’t have the Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility, where the stationed aircraft could get a complete overhaul before leaving for the first destination in a day.
Jobs for locals
“At present MRO is not required. The maintenance will be taken care of by the airline staff,” Mr. Rao said.
“This is also an opportunity for engineers and other qualified persons from this region. Many jobs will be created.” Earlier, city-based airline Air Costa had the city airport as its base.
The passenger and aircraft traffic has been on the rise since the bifurcation but only this year, the airport set a record joining the top league airports in the country.
For the first time, it crossed the one lakh mark in passenger traffic in May. More than 1.08 lakh flyers used the airport against 51,000 in May, 2017, said Mr. Rao. “This is an increase of 108% passenger traffic. In fact the passenger count had been close to 1 lakh since March when IndiGo had launched 10 services to various destinations. In the corresponding months last year, the count was only a little about half lakh,” Mr. Rao added.
Also, the airport handled 1,870 aircraft movements in May, 2018 against 974 in May 2017.
On an average, it handles 60 movements and 54 scheduled movements every day.
# RBI blames PNB board for fraud
‘Banks had been warned of LoU risks’
Blaming the board of directors of the Punjab National Bank for the embezzlement of over Rs. 13,000 crore by jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday, in a written reply to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, said all “three lines of defence” built in the banking system failed in this case.
RBI Governor Urjit Patel deposed in front of the panel, headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily. The Hindu has reviewed the two documents submitted by the RBI to the panel.
The central bank said all financial institutions were adequately warned about dealing with Letters of Undertaking (LoUs), the primary tool of embezzlement by Nirav Modi. The RBI said it was the primary responsibility of the PNB board to understand the risks in issue of LoUs without collateral and to manage them through controls. It said each bank should have three lines of defence: first, the officer sanctioning the loan; second, at the managerial level; and third, the internal audit. “In the case of PNB, there seems to have been failure of all the three lines of defence.”
# Over 200 vehicles stuck in Charmadi Ghat
The fury of the monsoon descended on the ghats, cutting off critical transportation routes connecting Bengaluru and Mangaluru.
Over 200 vehicles and around 2,000 people were stranded in Charmadi Ghat, which remains the major link between the two cities after the Shiradi Ghat was closed for repairs. The rain on Monday night saw at least 10 tree-falls on the stretch, while multiple landslips brought vehicular movement to a halt.
For some, it was more than a 15-hour wait in the torrential rain as they were stranded in the forest patch with little to eat. However, even as the district administration and the police struggled to ensure traffic flow, residents of the villages came to the rescue of those stranded: from providing food, water and shelter, to even aiding the overburdened emergency workers to clear the debris.
This got the attention of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who appreciated the efforts of residents in villages between Ujire and Mudigere to help the stranded commuters. While traffic movement was partially restored, the district police have decided to stop traffic movement until Thursday.
# Hiremath seeks probe into recruitment scam
Samaj Parivartana Samudaya (SPS) and National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR) and other organisations have demanded a high-level inquiry into the alleged recruitment scam in the State Secretariat allegedly involving those in the previous government.
Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Hiremath urged Speaker Ramesh Kumar to order a high-level inquiry into the scam, which, he said, involved offices of the former Speaker, the former Chief Minister and officials of the State Secretariat.
Releasing documents pertaining to the alleged recruitment scam, Mr. Hiremath said that the previous government had undertaken an exercise to recruit 151 personnel to the State Secretariat even after the former Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa abolished 36 posts saying that there was excess staff.
He said that recruitment had been done violating the provisions of Article 371(J) under which it was required to reserve 8 % of the total number of posts for candidates from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region and also Government Orders, including specific rules of the Karnataka Civil Service (Direct Recruitment by competitive exams and selections) and others.
Mr. Hiremath pointed out that though the State government had issued notification for recruitment of 90 posts, the Secretariat had recruited 151 candidates, 61 more than the approved posts. Accusing of large-scale nepotism, he pointed out that 20 persons among those recruited were from Ranebennur, the native of the former Speaker K.B. Koliwad.
Mr. Hiremath pointed out that in-Charge Secretary S. Murthy, who had earlier informed media about the cancellation of 36 “unnecessary” posts during the tenure of the former Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, was promoted after the completion of the recruitment process on March 1, 2018.
# Order CBI probe: PMK
The Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) MP and former Union Health Minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, on Tuesday demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged preference given to foreigners in cadaver transplant, bypassing Indian patients.
“Whether bypassing Indian patients has caused any problem to his condition or has it resulted in death? Such patients should be given compensation. The permission given to the hospitals that helped foreigners should be cancelled and action taken against all, including officials and the Chief Minister, if they were involved,” he said in a statement.
# CBI moves HC against Marans
Sound grounds for reversing decision in telephone exchange case: SPP
The CBI on Tuesday preferred a revision petition in the Madras High Court challenging an order passed by a lower court here on March 14 discharging Kalanithi Maran of the Sun TV Network, his younger brother and former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and five others in the BSNL “illegal” telephone exchange case.
Justice G. Jayachandran ordered notices to all the seven persons and adjourned the revision petition for further hearing on June 20.
Memorandum of grounds
Earlier, Special Public Prosecutor for CBI cases K. Srinivasan contended that there were sound grounds for reversing the decision of the lower court and making the accused face a full-fledged trial in the case.
In its memorandum of grounds, the CBI explained its case in brief by stating that it related to the provision of 364 telephone connections with high-end Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) facility at the Gopalapuram residence of the former Minister and 353 similar telephone connections at his Boat Club residence illegally, which caused a loss of Rs. 1.78 crore to BSNL.
Special judge for CBI cases S. Natarajan discharged the accused citing insufficient evidence and that Sun TV Network per se had not been included as an accused.
Source:- The Hindu