There seems to be a consensus amongst the states on extension of Lockdown by another two weeks Narendra Modi Prime Minister CHENNAI SUNDAY APRIL 12, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION PINARAYI VIJAYAN Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan suggested that the lockdown be lifted in a phased manner,but restrictions may continue in hotspots till April 30. Vijayan sought permission for statesanctioned activities at non-hotspot districts with proper social distancing measures JAGAN MOHAN REDDY Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy said lockdown should be limited to red zones while restrictions can be continued at places of public gathering, malls, cinema halls, places of worship, public transport and schools. “We should also continue with physical distancing measures,” he said MAMATA BANERJEE West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requested the Centre to ensure strict vigil in the border areas so that no one is able to sneak in during this period AMARINDER SINGH Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said though the restrictions cause hardship to people, India can’t afford to take chances. He suggested concessions for industrial and agricultural sectors ARVIND KEJRIWAL The Delhi Chief Minister told the PM, “The decision on extending lockdown should be taken on a national level.” After the conference, he tweeted, “PM has taken correct decision to extend lockdown” CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI ADD A FORTNIGHT TO LOCKDOWN, SAY STATES Centre likely to go with states’ wish but restrictions in some areas may be relaxed to keep economy going; next 3-4 weeks crucial to contain the pandemic, says Modi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi EXTEND the lockdown for at least two weeks, was the broad consensus that emerged during the interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers on Saturday, though there was no official word on extending the restrictions beyond April 14. According to sources, the Prime Minister will soon unveil the next phase of the lockdown which will include relax- ations within the limits of the states to re-start the grounded economic activities. While pitching for extending the lockdown till at least April 30, states made a strong case for relaxation in borrowing limits, expeditious availability of critical medical equipment, and cluster containment approach to deal with the pandemic. On the exit plan from lockdown, the Prime Minister said, “There seems to be a consensus among the states on extension by another two weeks.” But in the same breath, he added while the motto of the government earlier had been saving lives and livelihood (Jaan aur Jahan), it’s now “jaan bhi jahaan bhi” (both life and livelihood are important). Underlining the criticality of the next 3-4 weeks in containing the pandemic, Modi exhorted states to work as a team with the Centre, while stressing that he’s available 24X7. Modi also called upon the states to crack the whip against those indulging in black-marketing and hoarding, and harassing doctors, medical staff, students from North-East and Jammu and Kashmir. According to sources, the Centre may allow relaxation for the construction sector to ease the pain of labourers TOP OFFICIALS TOLD TO START ATTENDING OFFICE Modi has asked his ministerial colleagues to begin working from office from Monday. Officers above joint secretary rank will also report to their respective offices; others will come to office on a rotational basis 1,000 new cases take count to 7K, 242 deaths in all CURBS STAY K’TAKA, MAHARASHTRA, TELANGANA EXTEND LOCKDOWN TILL APR 30 Mumbai/Bengaluru/Hyderabad: With the Centre yet to announce an extension of the nation-wide lockdown beyond April 14, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana on Saturday extended the restrictions till 30th. Earlier, Odisha and Punjab had extended the lockdowns in their states till the month end. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the complete lifting of the lockdown will depend upon how soon the chain of the coronavirus transmission is broken in the state. Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa said the Centre will will issue guidelines regarding the implementation of the lockdown in a couple of days. “PM said for no reason there should be any relaxation in the lockdown, suggestions have come regarding extension of lockdown. Guidelines will be issued about the implementation of the lockdown during the next 15 days,” Yediyurappa said. In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had already favoured the lockdown’s extention said saying that it’s the only effective weapon against the virus ALL SPORT MUST WAIT, NOT JUST IPL: GANGULY Chennai: BCCI president Sourav Ganguly doesn’t want to speculate about the possibility of the IPL taking place later this year. By Monday, the board is expected to announce that it will be deferred for now. “Where will you get players from? Where do players travel? It’s just common sense that at the moment, nothing is in favour of any kind of sport anywhere in the world, forget IPL,” said Ganguly | P11 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi A woman walks through a field at Punchakkari in Thiruvananthapuram with fresh grass for her cattle | VINCENT PULICKAL WITH SCARCE LABOUR, FARM SECTOR STARING AT A CRISIS JONATHAN ANANDA,PUSHKAR BANAKAR, SUDHIR SURYAWANSHI & HARPREET SINGH @ New Delhi/Mumbai/Chandigarh WHEN rainfall in Maharashtra continued till January this year, Shivdas Patil, a chilli farmer in the state’s Jalgaon district, thought by the end of May when harvesting would end, he would laugh all the way to the bank. In normal years rainfall rarely crosses December and the yield of chilli is 15-20 quintals per acre. This year with bountiful rain he expects a bumper crop, with over 25 qtls of yield per acre. Yet, Patil does not know whether to laugh or cry. That’s because it is barely mid April and harvesting is yet to peak, but the lockdown has resulted in lack of transportation of his produce and very few buyers at mandis. “We take our produce to the market but there are hardly any buyers. The other day I sold four quintals of chilli at `10 per kg. In better times I sell at `30-40 per kg,” Patil said. Shyam Dwivedi, a wheat grower in Madhya Pradesh’s Umaria district, too, expects bumper crop. But unlike Patil, grain farmers such as Dwivedi who have larger land holdings are faced with another problem: lack of farm labour. Dwivedi has 40 acres of land and needs 50 labourers to harvest the wheat. But as most farm workers have left for their native places in Bihar and eastern UP, he faces the prospect of crop loss. “Scarce labour is delaying the harvesting, which we 16% of India’s GDP comes from the farming sector which employs about 40% of India’s workforce WORLDWIDE CONFIRMED CASES TOTAL DEATHS RECOVERED CASES 17,24,736 1,04,938 3,90,335 wanted to complete by April 15. Even those labourers who are available are demanding up to `300 daily which is dou, ble the normal daily wage,” Dwivedi said. From Kerala to Punjab, Odisha to Maharashtra, rural India is in distress owing to the lockdown, threatening to deal a body blow to the farm and allied sectors, which accounts for over 16% of India’s GDP and employing, directly and indirectly, over 40% of the Indian workforce. The irony is that farmers had been hoping to reap a rich harvest this season owing to the good rainfall, which raised the water table in even parched regions. There is no official data on the number of migrant farm labourers, the International Labour Organisation says 24 lakh migrants work in fields across the country . CONTINUED ON: P8 A CRISIS IN THE MAKING: P12 U.S. SEES 2,000 DEATHS IN A DAY The US became the first country to report more than 2,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day on Friday | P9 COVID DIARY Minor stops anxious dad’s attempt to marry her off E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kolkata AT a time when the whole country is focused on fighting the coronavir us pandemic, a 16-year-old girl in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district had an entirely different battle to fight—the one to stop her premature marriage. Her father, Akram Sheikh, is a migrant worker who had recently returned from Odisha after work dried up there as a result of the lockdown. A k r a m f e a re d t h at h e wouldn’t be able to get a job in the near future due to the ongoing crisis. He thought that he would end up spending all his stranded in cities. The states highlighted the financial strains for which they sought the Central assistance, with the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh seeking expansion of the borrowing limits. Singh also sought relief for industries, including deferment in repayment of interests fo r s i x m o n t h s. M a d hya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh argued for flexibility to allow economic activities. The chief ministers reportedly concurred against starting rail, inter-state bus and flight serP5,7,8,9,10 vices till April 30. savings and soon wouldn’t have any money left for his daughter’s marriage. So, he secretly fixed her marriage. The daughter came to know about it from a neighbour just two hours before the groom was to arrive on Friday . She immediately dialed the local block development officer and informed him about her plight. “I came to know from one of our neighbours that the arrangements were made for my wedding. I was shocked because I wanted to continue my studies. I somehow collected the number of the local BDO’s office and informed them,’’ said the teenage girl who is a student of Class X. Block development officer Saurav Ghosh said when he THE MAN WAS ON HOME QUARANTINE Girl’s father Akram Sheikh returned home from Odisha on March 27. Doctors at a local healthcare centre examined him and suggested that he quarantine himself at home and his team reached the girl’s house, the groom and his relatives fled the scene. “The father of the girl gave a written declaration that his daughter would not be forced to marry said Ghosh. ,’’ ‘’I don’t know when I will start working and earn money again. I learned that labourers like me would not job for the next six months. I feared all the money that I earned in Odisha would get spent during the crisis. As I can’t see any ray of hope of getting a job in the near future, I wanted to spend my earning for my daughter’s wedding,” Akram told local authorities who visited his home. WITH 768 new cases in the 24 hours since Satur, India recorded its sharpest single-day rise yet in new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 7,528. With 40 more deaths on Saturday, a total of 242 people have now lost their lives to the pandemic. Maharashtra added 187 new cases to its total count, which stood at 1,761 on Saturday evening, according to the state’s health authorities. The state also recorded 17 deaths during the day, 12 of which were in the capital city of Mumbai. Delhi and Rajasthan recorded 166 and 117 cases respectively . Meanwhile, hinting that the ongoing lockdown has paid off, the Centre on Saturday said that in its absence, the number of cases in India could have reached 8.2 lakh by mid-April. 2 deaths, 58 new cases: EPS seeks more funds EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai EVEN as Tamil Nadu reported 58 fresh cases and two deaths due to COVID-19 on Saturday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami suggested to the Centre that the lockdown period be extended by two more weeks beyond April 14. The State Cabinet, which met on Saturday, however, decided to implement any decision taken by the Centre. A septuagenarian from Perundurai died of the viral infection at the Erode GH on Friday after complaining of breathlessness. The deceased man had no direct contact with any patient, but officials suspect he could have had indirect links with others who attended the Delhi event or the Thai nationals who earlier tested positive in the State. Meanwhile, Indigo Airlines issued a release late on Saturday night, announcing that one of its employees in Chennai had died of COVID-19. The development was later confirmed by health officials. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has sought additional funding and rapid test kits from the Centre to sail through the extended lockdown period. He said unorganised sector workers, agricultural labourers, and other workers must be provided a financial assistance of `2,000 per family . Besides, he urged the Centre to supply two lakh rapid test kits to the State to immediately test the contacts of positive Tirupur garment units fear losing biz to China & Pakistan B I N I TA J A I S W A L @ Chennai THEIR peers in Bangladesh and China working without a lockdown has made Tirupur textile units’ owners jittery for , there is a serious threat of losing out on international orders. Speaking on their behalf, the Tirupur Exporters Association has requested Central and State governments to allow the textile cluster to reopen, so that they can send samples to clients in US and Europe. “If we do not send the samples on time, we could lose business with many foreign brands forever,” the association has warned. “We have to send the samples by April 10. Only then would we get orders for spring-summer collections,” says Raja M Shanmugam, president of the association. “If we miss this opportunity , countries such as China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia will grab the orders.” Factories in China and Bangladesh are currently functioning, and they will miss an opportunity to grab these orders, adds Shanmugam. “We are already suffering heavy losses, to the tune of `12,000 crore. There have hardly been any orders since January If we . lose the spring-summer order, our losses will double up in the next three months.” The association has already held talks with the Centre, and 10,000 garment manufacturing industries in Tirupur, employ over 6 lakh people, and exports `2,500 crore worth textiles in a month is awaiting a positive decision in this regard. There are over 10,000 garment manufacturing industries in Tirupur, employing over 6 lakh people. The cluster on an average exports textiles worth `2,500 crore a month. Cotton knitwear sent from here are in much demand in European countries. “Most exporters have already procured raw materials. Now, we only need permission to produce the samples. We assure to begin manufacturing of samples only after putting in sufficient safety protocols and measures. We will not risk the lives of our workers,” says Shanmugam. TN’S DEMANDS Palaniswami requested an ad hoc grant of `1,000 cr from NDRF To announce a special package for agriculture and horticulture promotion Grant of `3,000 for procuring PPEs, N-95 masks & ventilators Train and flight services should not be resumed; interstate movement should be restricted patients. The demands were made during the video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which Chief Ministers of all States took part on Saturday . While thanking Modi for releasing `510 crore under the State Disaster Relief Fund, Palaniswami also pointed out that using the 15th Finance Commission bench mark has resulted in Tamil Nadu getting only 64.65 per cent hike in funds, while other States have managed to get over 120 per cent. The CM requested an ad hoc grant of `1,000 crore from the NDRF to procure medical and P4 protective material. Longer wait: US gets TN’s rapid test kits EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai WHILE Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a steady increase in fresh cases, rapid test kits, which are integral in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, are yet to arrive in the State. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Chief Secretary K Shanmugam said only a few companies in China were producing the rapid test kits. The consignment that was meant to arrive Tamil Nadu by Thursday was diverted to the United States, said Shanmugam. “The next consignment will come to India, and as we (Tamil Nadu) have placed an advance order. 50,000 will be sent first. They (China) have promised another 50,000 kits soon,’’ he said, adding that the State had placed an order for 4 lakh kits. Replying to queries whether the State is testing adequately, he said all patients with symptoms were being tested using the PCR kits. WITH THIS ISSUE Z RULES PLUS 12 PAGES
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