Vol. 67 No. 34 | TUESDAY | NOVEMBER 7, 2023 | 20 Pages | `5 & for Pune `6 only Quality at Value www.freepressjournal.in EDITIONS: MUMBAI*, Pune, Nashik, Konkan, Indore, Bhopal, E-paper ALIZEH ON HER DEBUT FARREY Director Soumendra wanted me to work very hard on the sets EDIT MOMENTUM FOR 2024 BUILDS National Cancer Awareness Day GLOBAL ECONOMIC GROWTH REMAINS QUITE WEAK, SAYS FM DEFINING MOMENT FOR 2024 Policy coordination is critical to ensure that growth comes back on track, says Sitharaman HC CRACKER: FIREWORKS AND BAGHEL’S ‘BHAROSA’ VS MODI’S GUARANTEES DEBRIS CURBS In what looks like a dress rehearsal for the general election in 2024, five states will test the political waters in the Assembly polls which will kick off on Tuesday with Chhattisgarh and Mizoram taking the plunge in the 1st round. A NEELU VYAS / RAIPUR fter the high-stake battle of Karnataka, first the Hindi heartland state of Chhattisgarh goes to polls on Tuesday in its first phase with 20 assembly constituencies up for grabs, mostly in the southern and western tribal areas of the state, some of them Naxal-infested. Chhattisgarh is a must-win for the Congress, which bounced back to power in 2018 after 13 years in the wilderness; hence it’s not only a battle of prestige, but a contest which, if lost, might bring to an abrupt halt the victory chariot of the grand old party; especially after the rich , pickings in Himachal and Karnataka. Given the petty state of its coffers, the grand old party badly needs to wrest this coal and iron ore rich state, which will ultimately fund the 2024 General Election. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is the main architect of the Chhattisgarh model of Hindutva which is essentially a mix of secularism, cow and Ram intertwined with intense Chhattisgarhiya pride; but it is not just rhetoric: also on the board are welfare schemes catering to 65 per cent of the THE FP BULLETIN farmers, thus giving a massive push to the rural economy . ‘Bhupesh hai to bharosa hai’, ‘abki bar Congress sarkar’ —— these were the taglines churned out by the Congress camp, hoping to bounce back with a full majority Baghel, in a way has offered a political template . , to the opposition parties, which carries the masthead, ‘How to beat BJP at its own games’. Even BJP workers the on the ground shared with this correspondent off the record the revelation that they too, have been the benefici, aries of Baghel’s Gothan or the Godhan Nyay scheme. In contrast with Baghel’s high-voltage eclectic campaign, BJP appeared rudderless, issueless and faceless. It was only in the last three months, after the social media team from Delhi took over the campaign, that the saffron party began harping on corruption and nepotism in the state government. BJP still looked a late entrant and in a desperate move its tallest leader and former chief minister, Dr Raman Singh, was para-dropped into the campaign at the last moment; and all this after he had been sidelined by the central leadership. CONTD. ON NATION SWEEP FOR MAHAYUTI, SAY PARTY LEADERS ODD-EVEN RETURNS AAP MLA IS ARRESTED T he Enforcement Directorate on Monday arrested Punjab MLA Jaswant Singh Gajjan Majra connection in with a Rs 40-crore bank fraud case. Earlier, the AAP MLA was summoned by the probe agency at least thrice but he skipped all. The AAP has hit out at the BJP for hatching “plot to defame us”. LANKA CRICKET BOARD SACKED S ri Lanka’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe sacked the national cricket board on Monday, days after a humiliating defeat by India at the World Cup. Ranasinghe has been at loggerheads with Sri Lanka Cricket – the richest sports organisation on the financially stricken island – for months over allegations of widespread corruption. The country's 1996 World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga has been appointed chairman of a new interim board, an AFP report said. DEEP CONCERN OVER DEEPFAKE U nion Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Monday reminded the social media platforms of their legal obligations to fight misinformation, acknowledging a viral deepfake video featuring actor Rashmika Mandanna. The video originally featured Zara Patel, a British-Indian influencer, but her face changes to that of the actor in the deepfake. If platforms do not comply with this, they can be taken to court by the aggrieved person under the provisions of Indian Penal Code, added the minister. "Deep fakes are latest and even more dangerous and damaging form of misinformation and needs to be dealt with by platforms," said Chandrasekhar. URVI MAHAJANI / MUMBAI O JJ now sentinel hospital for ARIs partments with a view to assess the stability or change in health levels of a population”. The measure comes following a marked deterioration in Air Quality Index (AQI) readings in the state over the past few weeks, which is adversely affecting the health of the public. The Maharashtra Health Department on Sunday initiated a ‘Health Action Plan’ under which a districtlevel task force will monitor air pollution-related illnesses SWAPNIL MISHRA / MUMBAI T he odd-even rule will be back in Delhi the day after Diwali and school closure has been extended up to Class 11 for this week in view of the rising pollution levels. All schools will be shut across the national capital, except Classes 10 and 12, till November 10. Currently, only classes up to Class 5 are suspended. The overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 488 on Monday morning in Delhi, much above the upper level set by the World Health Organisation. Panchayat polls: Claim, counterclaim FPJ NEWS SERVICE / MUMBAI The ruling MahaYuti on Monday claimed to have swept the gram panchayat election in the state. The ruling alliance of the BJP the Shiv Sena (Shinde) , and the NCP (Ajit Pawar) said it had won as many as 1,335 gram panchayats out of the 2,369 that went to polls on Sunday . State Congress chief Nana Patole challenged the ruling alliance’s claims and said its figures were incorrect. He said the Congress had won 721 seats while the MVA had emerged victorious in 1,312 gram panchayats. Interestingly the NCP fac, tion led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar achieved huge success, winning nearly 400 seats. It won 13 of the 15 gram panchayats in the Pawar clan’s ancestral home of Katewadi, while snaring 27 of the 31 seats in Baramati. BJP chief spokesperson Keshav Upadhyay said that his party had won 654 seats, the Ajit Pawar group 392 seats, and the Shinde faction 289 seats. The Congress had won 271 seats and Uddhav Thackeray group only 110 seats, he claimed. CONTD. ON NATION No transportation of debris from construction sites for four days; firecrackers can be burst only from 7pm to 10pm during Diwali The Maharashtra government has picked JJ Hospital to implement ‘sentinel surveillance’ for acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) in 17 of the most polluted cities in the state, including Mumbai. Sentinel surveillance is the “monitoring of rate of occurrence of specific diseases / conditions through a voluntary network of doctors, laboratories and public health de- and ensure prompt treatment throughout the state. The order also instructed implementation of sentinel surveillance in 17 cities, tracking respiratory and coronary cases at city hospitals, and comparing them to daily AQI levels. “The sentinel surveillance will record the daily number of patients suffering from acute respiratory illnesses and compare it with climate variables such as AQI. CONTD. ON NATION bserving that the lives of Mumbaikars were more important and that construction dust was a major cause of air pollution, the Bombay high court has banned transportation of debris from construction sites for the next four days. The court has warned that in case the air quality does not substantially improve in the next four days, it would impose a total ban on the plying of all vehicles carrying such debris during Diwali. In addition, a division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice Girish Kulkarni has also said that firecrackers can only be burst between 7pm and 10pm during the upcoming festival. The HC said: “No construction debris is to be carried or transported to or out of the construction site. It shall be ensured that all construction material shall be transported to the construction site in fully covered trucks or mixer plants.” The HC had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of rising air Parking relief with 22,000 slots on anvil AISHWARYA IYER / MUMBAI Mumbai can breathe easy: it is getting new designated parking lots to accommodate over 22,000 vehicles across four densely populated wards. These parking lots will have a multi-tier electro-mechanical system. Among the lucky wards in G/South are Worli and Lower Parel where an additional 800 vehicle-holding Public Parking Lot (PPL) will be set up. City guardian minister Deepak Kesarkar announced the decision on Tuesday He did not specify a time frame. The . other crammed wards which will benefit from the new parking facilities are D, K/West and S. For the unversed, ‘D’ward includes Kemps Corner, Walkeshwar, Grant Road, Breach Candy Malabar Hill, , Girgaum and Mumbai Central. ‘K/West’ encompasses Andheri. ‘S’ ward is essen- tially Bhandup and Kanjurmarg. Lastly G/South’ -- Worli, Prabhadevi and , Lower Parel. Mumbai as of now has around 45,000 to 48,000 parking lots for vehicles. Out of these, PPL has parking spaces for 27,295 vehicles. The number of functional parking lots is 31, while 21 others are currently non-operational due to various developmental works. Apart from this, there are 91 on-street parking lots at societies and designated spots on roads. According to BMC, more on-street parking will be introduced, in phases. In its first phase, 504 on-street parking spots will be introduced in the aforementioned four wards. CONTD. ON NATION FIRST BATSMAN TO BE TIMED OUT SC frowns at State Guv sitting on Bills JOE WILLIAMS/HARIDEV PUSHPARAJ / MUMBAI Monday witnessed a groundbreaking moment in cricketing world as Sri Lanka's seasoned player, Angelo Matthews, was declared "timed out," which is unprecedented in the sport's history . Facing Bangladesh when they were 135 for four on the fifth ball of the 25th over, Mathews came on the field after the dismissal of Sadeera Samarawickrama. Mathews arrived at the crease ensconced in his helmet and seemed all set to take the guard before he pulled away from the stumps owing to some visible discomfort. His helmet strap was broken. Something he seemed to have discovered only at the crease. OUR BUREAU / NEW DELHI Law 40.1.1 says the striker has to be ‘ready to receive the ball’ within three minutes of the previous wicket; though it drops to two minutes in the World Cup playing regulations – AFP Pakistan pace great Waqar Younis said it was against the spirit of cricket, while former India opener Gautam Gambhir tweeted: “Absolutely pathetic.” Australian batter Usman Khawaja questioned how Mathews could be given ‘timed out’ when he was at the crease The subsequent appeal for a 'time out' from Bangladesh set the stage for a spirited exchange between Matthews and umpires Marais Erasmus and Richard Illingworth. Despite Matthews' efforts to explain the hiccup, he was san appealed to Umpire Marais Erasmus for the time out. Erasmus and Mathews proceeded to have an animated discussion after which Mathews was asked to leave the crease. CONTD. ON NATION instructed to make an unceremonious exit from the field. Then, he moved away from the crease, signalled to the dressing room for a change of helmet. However, in the meantime the Bangladeshi players led by Shakib al Has- The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern over Governors of various states desisting from acting on bills passed by their respective State Assemblies and waiting for Supreme Court’s intervention before granting assent. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud urged the Governors to address the bills before they reach the Supreme Court. “Why does the party have to come to the Supreme Court? The Governor has to pass the bills. They must act before the matter comes to Supreme Court,’’ the CJI said. ‘‘This happened in Telangana’s case also.” The court was hearing the Punjab government's plea against Governor Banwarilal Purohit for delay in granting assent to bills passed by the Assembly The plea said such . "unconstitutional inaction" has brought the entire administration to a "grinding halt". Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the Punjab government, said it was a very strange case where the governor kept back seven Bill, including those related to fiscal management and education. State governors must not be oblivious of the fact that they are not elected representatives of the people, the court added, as it indicated that a little bit of soul-searching by governors is needed. CONTD. ON NATION LAST WORD Criminal cases have been filed against former Indian cricket captain and Congress candidate from the Jubilee Hills constituency in Hyderabad Mohammed Azaharuddin. The allegation: misappropriation of funds worth Rs 3.85 crore. The police have also registered cases against former officer bearers of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), of which Azharuddin is a former president. Significantly the charges have , come with the Telangana Assembly polls barely three weeks away The al. leged misappropriation is a throwback to the period between March SC to find out why Adani case not being listed NEW DELHI The Supreme Court on Monday said it will ask its registrar to check why the AdaniHindenburg case is not being listed for hearing. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the petitioners, said, "The matter was to be listed on 28th August but it has been deferred, deferred, deferred." Earlier, the top court was scheduled to take up on November 24 a status report submitted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India on its probe into the allegations levelled against the Adani Group. A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, had heard the case last on Jul 11. The market regulator had submitted its report to the top court on August 25. SEBI said of the 24 points under investigation, it had completed the probe into 22 and was in the process of completing it in the remaining two. The bench is hearing four petitions that allege market manipulation and other malpractices in the equities market by Adani Group companies. The petitions were filed in the wake of the Hindenburg report that had accused Adani companies of "pulling the largest con in corporate history". Shares of Adani Group companies had crashed after Hindenburg published its report. TAILPIECE Ahead of poll, Azhar LBW to a criminal googly FPJ BUREAU / HYDERABAD pollution and the deteriorating air quality in the city . The court had initially proposed to stop the plying of all vehicles carrying construction debris during Diwali. However, advocate general Birendra Saraf and BMC counsels Milind Sathe and Joel Carlos, urged the court not to impose a total ban since that would bring to a complete halt all construction activities, including infrastructure projects, in the city . “Heavens are not going to fall if the coastal road work is stopped for a week. Lives of Mumbaikars are more important. This (construction dust) is the major cause… So far as mixing of dust in the air is concerned,” CJ quipped. Saraf and Sathe said that the court could say construction dust must be transported in a covered vehicle. CONTD. ON NATION 2020 and February 2023 which came to light during a forensic audit ordered by the HCA. The audit revealed financial loss, diversion of funds, and misappropriation of assets funds belonging to HCA, following which CEO Suneel Kante Bose lodged a complaint and four cases were registered. The misappopriation took place during the procurement of gym equipment, cricket balls, fire extinguishers and bucket seats which were to be used by the HCA on its premises and in the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium. According to the police, Azhar and all the other accused have been charged for criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy . For procuring fire safety equipment, the tender was awarded to M/s Firewin Safety Engineers which had quoted Rs.1,88,97,759 (exclusive of taxes), but a quotation obtained by the forensic auditors through a third party expert was put at Rs 54,31,014. The audit found that the quotation was 248 per cent over and above the existing price, indicating an excessive outflow of funds. For purchasing red and white test balls, the officer bearers had favoured Sara Sports, whose credentials are suspect. It is also alleged that the tender process was not handled by the tender committee but executed by Azaharuddin and the then treasurer Surender Agarwal. Even without delivery complete payments were made , to the vendor, indicating that the funds were misappropriated and converted for own use, amounting to a loss of CONTD. ON NATION over Rs 57 lakh. HEERALAL IS NEW CIC I nformation Commissioner Heeralal Samariya was on Monday sworn in as the Chief Information Commissioner by President Droupadi Murmu. The top post at the transparency panel -- Central Information Commission -- was lying vacant following completion of Y K Sinha's tenure on October 3. President Murmu administered the oath of office to the 63-year-old Samairya at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Samariya, a former IAS officer, had served as Labour and Employment Secretary He . was sworn in as the Information Commissioner in the CIC on November 7, 2020. Samariya's appointment assumes significance as the Supreme Court had on October 30 asked the Centre and the state governments to take steps to fill the post, saying otherwise the 2005 law on Right to Information will become a "dead letter".