THE TWO HOTSPOTS 3488 km Total Line of Actual Control Near Finger 5 mountain, Northern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake in Eastern Ladakh, altitude more than 14,000 ft. Pangong Lake is 135 km long with 2/3rds in China Near Naku La Pass in Muguthang sub-sector, Northern Sikkim. Altitude about 17,500 ft DISPUTED AREAS Western Sector: About 38,000 sq km Central Sector: About 2,000 sq km Eastern Sector: 90,000 sq km KOTTAYAM l MONDAY l MAY 11, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l CITY EDITION Face-off in North Sikkim results in minor injuries on both sides ● Bigger confrontation in Ladakh and fist fights as PLA troops manhandle India Army soldiers LAC ACTIVE WITH SKIRMISH ON LADAKH, SIKKIM BORDER M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi THE Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control (LAC) has again become active with clashes reported between soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army in Ladakh and Sikkim. Confirming the face-off in North Sikkim, Army sources said, “Incident of face-off took place. Aggressive behaviour and minor injuries were reported on both sides; disen- gaged after dialogue and interaction at the local level.” The incident in North Sikkim took place on Saturday around noon near Naku La at more than 17,000 ft in the Muguthang sub-sector. “The Chinese have been creating problems in this area, which has been peaceful since three-four years. They are now causing problems re g arding the boundary position, which otherwise is clearly demarcated,” said another source. Around 150 troops were involved in fist fighting and scores of them got injured on both sides. This is an isolated area and has a demarcated boundary. Muguthang means open space in Tibetan language. The bigger face-off took place in Ladakh on the intervening night of May 5-6, though the area has been simmering since it began on April 27 when a Chinese vehicle was seen on the territory claimed by India. “The Chinese got physical with Indian personnel. Though the Indian Army tried to stop the face-off, there was a physical brawl,” confirmed sources and added that the scuffle took place on the Indian side of the LAC near the Nallah close to Finger 5 area, along the Northern bank of the Pangong Tso. “They manhandled our soldiers first and when more troops from the Indian side tried to stop the fight, they fur- Chinese investment bar in India The face-off comes in the wake of India amending its Foreign Direct Investment policy to discourage opportunistic investment by China during the pandemic. The amendment barred investments from nations that share a land border with India ther engaged in physical quarrel. This resulted in the soldiers getting hurt on both sides,” said the source. The number of people involved in scuffle in this area was around 250. The northern bank has five mountain numbers 1 to 5 with their ridges coming towards the Pangong Lake. Both sides have added presence of military as a precautionary step. The Army’s Kolkata based Eastern Command said, “Temporary and short duration face-offs occur as boundaries are not resolved. Troops resolve such issues mutually as per established protocols.” A third of ficer having knowledge of the LAC said, “Every year military activities recede along the LAC due to inclement weather and terrain conditions for about 6-7 months.” He confirmed that the number of crossing has increased and there are multiple locations of the face-off. 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 PM to hold talks with CMs today; economy in focus Ke r a l a C h i e f M i n i s t e r Pinarayi Vijayan, who chose to PRIME Minister Narendra skip the previous video-conferModi will hold his fifth video- ence, will attend Monday’s conference meeting with Chief meet. Ministers on Monday after“This time it will be a pretty noon to assess the Covid-19 long session, where some crusituation. cial issues on the economy will Increasing economic activi- be discussed. The chief ministies, easing lockdown ter will attend the restrictions and issues meeting an share his faced by migrant workopinion,” sources said. ers are likely to be disWest Beng al CM cussed in the meeting. Mamata Banerjee will The focus of the delibalso attend. She had aterations will be econotended the previous my and Covid-19 consession but did not get tainment ef for ts, time to express the Narendra Modi sources said. state’s stance. AccordMany states have aling to the sources, Baready raised objection to the nerjee will try to raise Amit marking parameters of areas Shah’s letter accusing her govinto green, orange and red ernment of doing injustice to zones and deciding relaxations Bengal-bound migrants. based on that. States also fear a Meanwhile, the Centre decidspurt in cases due to the return ed to deploy teams to 10 states of migrant workers to their na- with heavy case loads. The Centive villages. Such issues could tral teams will assist the health be raised in the meeting on departments of Gujarat, Tamil Monday sources said. , Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, RaMore relaxations are likely jasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punbut Covid-19 hotspots and con- jab, West Bengal, Andhra tainment zones will continue to Pradesh and Telangana to manface tight restrictions. The Cen- age the pandemic. tre has already made it clear Halting economic activities that lifting of the lockdown will for over five weeks has hit busibe in a phased manner. nesses and state revenues. Jammu Tawi Here are the states to which passenger trains will run from Tuesday NEW DELHI Ranchi Ahmedabad Agartala TOTAL DEATHS RECOVERED CASES Air India Express begins ops to Gulf & Singapore R A J E S H A B R A H A M @ Kochi IN A quiet move, India has opened commercial operations of national carrier Air India Express, allowing overseas passengers to travel to some of the Gulf countries and Singapore, provided they get the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) clearance and requisite permissions from the destination countries. An Air India Express flight from Thiruvananthapuram to Bahrain scheduled for departure on Monday at 1pm has allowed Bahrain nationals and residents to book tickets. “Only Bahraini nationals/citizens and valid resident permit (RP) holders are permitted to enter Bahrain. Passengers travelling from Thiruvananthapuram should cross-check with their respective sponsors to make sure their RP is valid,” said an official. “We have not made it official and want to check the response in a quiet manner,” said the ofWITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST Howrah Bilaspur Bhubaneswar Mumbai Central Secunderabad Madgaon Chennai Bengaluru Thiruvananthapuram KERALA CASE DIARY 7 489 512 new cases reported on Sunday have recovered 20 cases have been confirmed under treatment 3 deaths + 1 Mahe native died in Kannur NRKS’ SURVEILLANCE TO BE STRENGTHENED 62,939 2,109 19,358 CONFIRMED CASES ficial. When contacted, an Air India Express spokesperson confirmed the development, but added that the travellers will have to get clearance from the MHA and also permission from the destination country before boarding the flights. “It’s not an easy process. There is a lot of documentation involved,” he said, adding that about 20-25 passengers have booked tickets. The airfare for the Gulf sector is priced at `30,000 per ticket. “Some travellers have called us to say the ticket prices are on the higher side. But this is not a fullfledged operation and hence the higher price,” said the official, who did not wish to be named. Another flight is scheduled for Tuesday to Singapore from Kochi airport. The passengers eligible to travel to Singapore are citizens of that country, permanent residents and longterm pass holders, according an Air India Express message. “Kochi-Singapore bookings are open,” the spokesperson ● More on P2 confirmed. YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF EDEX (TABLOID) Dibrugarh Patna E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi NATIONWIDE Get ready for the new normal, travel by rail to select states from Tuesday THE 15 DESTINATIONS T’Puram: With three more NRKs testing positive for Covid19, the Health Department has decided to strengthen surveillance of expats who arrived in the state from Thursday. Considering the new scenario, a section of the officers has raised an alarm against the quarantine protocol for foreign returnees. P4 TRADERS OFFER HELP TO EXPATS Kochi: The traders’ fraternity of Penta Menaka complex in Kochi has an emotional connect with expatriates as the building has many shops run by Gulf returnees. It prompted the Penta Menaka Owners’ Welfare Association to raise D25 lakh for a chartered flight from Dubai to Kerala for bringing back those who are stuck in the UAE and cannot afford tickets to India. All ticket counters at stations shut To ensure physical distancing for passenger trains, ticket booking counters at stations, including for platform tickets, would be shut EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi LEARNING to live with the pandemic, the railways on Sunday announced the resumption of passenger services in a phased manner from Tuesday with 15 trains (30 return journeys) to start with. Ticket booking can be done only through the IRCTC website from 4 pm on Monday . The 15 pairs of trains will originate from New Delhi station and connect places like Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi. Parallelly the Centre decided , to increase the number of special trains for migrants so as to stop them from walking their way to their home states. From the current 80 trains daily, it has been decided to run 100 Shramik Special trains on a daily basis, according to sources. This was decided in a high-level meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba who sought cooperation of state governments in running them. Gauba’s appeal came a HC gives one-off waiver, 237 without passes enter state through Walayar day after the West Bengal government and the Centre engaged barbs over ‘preventing’ Shramik Special trains from entering the state. As for the normal passenger services, more such trains would be resumed based on the availability of coaches. “Railways shall start more special services on new routes, based on the available coaches,” the railways said. Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the stations. The schedule of the trains will be announced in due course. 366 Shramik trains run so far, 4 lakh migrants ferried P T I @New Delhi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @Kochi/T’puram AS many as 237 people from other states stuck at Walayar checkpost, many of them since Saturday morning, were finally given passes and allowed entry into the state on Sunday night after the High Court intervened and issued a one-off order to the Kerala Government after seeing their plight. The state, meanwhile, sought the help of the Tamil Nadu Police to stop people without valid passes from travelling to the borders as cases go up in the neighbouring state. “Immediate attention and preference shall be given to pregnant women, elderly and children. Others shall also be issued passes at the earliest avoiding unnecessary delay since they are stranded (on the border) from May 5,” observed the division bench comprising Justice Shaji P Chaly and Justice M R Anitha while issuing the order at a special sitting held on Sunday . The court said the directions were issued taking the special circumstances into consideration and the order “cannot be treated as a precedent for any future purposes”. Later in the night, DySP Manoj Kumar confirmed to TNIE that 137 people who had been stranded at the border since Saturday morning and another 100 who arrived on Passengers come out of INS Jalashwa which reached Kochi Port on Sunday | EXPRESS We have set up 24 round-the-clock counters to process the passes of inbound passengers. We haven’t let in anyone without passes — K O Varghese, Executive Magistrate, Walayar checkpost Sunday, all without passes, were allowed to enter the state following the High Court order. When the case came up for hearing, Additional AdvocateGeneral Ranjit Thampan submitted before the court that no person could be permitted to enter the state from other states without obtaining passes as per the government order. While nearly 2,007 persons who came from other states with passes crossed Walayar checkpost on Sunday, many were seen waiting on the other side of the border. As many as 120 of them were sent to Covid care centres in Palakkad district as they had arrived from red zone areas. “We have set up 24 roundthe-clock counters to process the passes of inbound passengers. We haven’t let in anyone without passes,” K O Varghese, tahsildar who is also the Executive Magistrate of the Walayar checkpost, said earlier in the day . Keralites stranded on the TN side were taken in buses provided by the Coimbatore administration at 10.30pm on Saturday to a camp in Kaliyaparambu in the TN city, he ● More on P4 said. THE Indian Railways has operated 366 Shramik special trains since May 1 and ferried home around 4 lakh migrants stranded in various parts of the country amid the lockdown, officials said. While 287 trains have already reached their destinations, 79 are in transit, they said. Of the 287 trains, 127 terminated in Uttar Pradesh, 87 in Bihar, 24 in Madhya Pradesh, 20 in Odisha, 16 in Jharkhand, four in Rajasthan, three in Maharashtra, two each in Telangana and West Bengal and one each in Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, the officials said. While the railways has not yet announced the cost incurred on the special services, officials indicate it has spent around `80 lakh per service. EXPRESS READ Vishwas Mehta likely to be next chief secretary T’Puram: Amid its fight against Covid-19, Kerala may soon get a new chief secretary. With incumbent Tom Jose set to retire on May 31, Vishwas Mehta, the additional chief secretary (Home), is most likely to succeed him. Though a final decision is yet to be made, TNIE has learnt that, postretirement, Jose may be considered for appointment as the CEO of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative. Mehta is a 1986-batch IAS officer. P5 HUGE TURNAROUND Covid-free, Kasaragod breathes easy but can’t lower its guard G E O R G E P O I K AY I L @Kasaragod ON Sunday Kasaragod became , Covid-free. Patient number 178 – the last person under treatment – walked out of Covid Care Centre at Kasaragod Medical College at Ukkinadka on the day . At one point, Kasaragod had the highest number of patients in the country, and with 178 confirmed cases, it had the most cases in Kerala. The biggest achievement for the district was that all 178 patients recovered without community spread, said District Collector D Sajith Babu. “However, the battle against the virus is far from over. We are ready for the next round of influx of non-resident Keralites,” he said. The district had a “horrible experience and so we are better pre- Last of the 178 patients returns home; recovery rate: 100% 85 persons in hospital, samples of 17 persons with symptoms taken pared” this time, he said. Kasaragod got its first case from Wuhan on February 3. A month after the patient recovered on February 16, the district got its second case from Dubai on March 16. Since then, the numbers surged, with 34 positive cases being reported in a single day on March 27. But the district administration remained a step ahead, by forming surveillance commit- tees, launching contact tracing, imposing lockdown before the country and the state, forming containment and buffer zones and via community testing. “With effective containment and surveillance, we managed to restrict the disease to those who came from abroad and their immediate relatives,” said district surveillance officer Dr A T Manoj. ● More on P4
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