CHENNAI l THURSDAY l MAY 21, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE CITY EDITION LOCKDOWN EXEMPTION FOR BOARD EXAMINATIONS: MHA The Ministry of Home Affairs has already written to all the state governments informing them about the exemptions DECISION TO HELP LARGE NO. OF STUDENTS The relaxation Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla mentioned in his letter to states referred to the bar on opening of schools under the lockdown regime, saying it will be temporarily eased to conduct board exams. This decision has been taken after factoring in “the academic interest of a large number of students”, Bhalla explained in his letter ■ May 31 SOCIAL DISTANCING, SCREENING MUST ■ ■ However, the exemption comes with some conditions No exam centre will be permitted in containment zones and face masks will be worn by teachers, staff and students There shall be provision of thermal screening and sanitiser at exam centres and social distancing norms have to be followed WHEN THE NATIONWIDE LOOKDOWN IS SUPPOSED TO COME TO AN END 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 Fly from Monday, middle seat will not be left vacant Social distancing to be enforced as commercial flights prepare to resume in calibrated manner K U M A R V I K R A M @ New Delhi 190 A woman protects her child from rain while being evacuated from a slum in Kolkata before the cyclone on Wednesday | REUTERS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kolkata/Bhubaneswar EXTREMELY severe cyclone Amphan made landfall between Digha, West Bengal, and Hatia island in Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon leaving a trail of destruction and claiming at least 12 in West Bengal and one in Odisha. Agencies reported at leat six people died in Bangladesh. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the impact of Amphan as “worse than the coronavirus pandemic” while pegging the damages due to the cyclone in her state at `1 lakh crore. “Almost everything is destroyed in the coastal villages of the state... It uprooted many trees and inundated many roads in (the capital city) Kolkata,” the CM added. Four river dams were washed away in the delta regions, triggering waterlogging in around 150 villages. “At least 7,000 mud-huts in that region and 5,500 in the pockets in North 24 parganas district collapsed or were washed away during the course of five-hour devastation,” said an official adding that the extent of damage could be known in the days to come. Most of the casualties in Bengal were due to uprooted Boom spawns theories on big bang in B’luru EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru A big bang shook up Bengaluru on Wednesday and spawned a slew of theories — from an earthquake to a transformer burst and a thunderstorm — till the IAF clarified it was routine sonic boom caused by a fighter aircraft that broke the sound barrier. The boom was heard from the Kempegowda International Airport off Devanahalli in the north to Kengeri and Electronic City in the south and quickly started trending on social media. The earthquake angle was quickly ruled out as seismometers did not capture any ground vibration. There was also speculation on the HAL being the source as it conducts regular flight tests of its light combat aircraft, but HAL rejected it. P5 61,149 NATIONWIDE ACTIVE CASES CURED/DISCHARGED TOTAL DEATHS 42,297 3,303 kmph cyclone mauls Bengal, Bangladesh Twister wreaks havoc Make landfall at 2.30 p.m. between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya island in Bangladesh 6.58 lakh people evacuated in Bengal and Odisha 20 NDRF teams begin road clearing operations in Odisha; 19 of its units in West Bengal helping people move to safety Area after area has been ruined. I have experienced a war-like situation today. At least 10-12 people have died. Nandigram, Ramnagar....the two districts of North and South 24 Parganas are destroyed - Mamata Banerjee trees falling on people. After making landfall at 2.30 pm, the cyclone packing winds of up to 190 kmph, coupled with heavy rain, cut through the coastal areas of Bengal and Odisha, flattening dwellings, uprooting trees and electric poles. TV visuals showed gigantic tidal waves at Digha, close to the landfall site. Tidal surge of up to five metres are expected in North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts that could submerge areas in a radius of 15 km. The severity of the cyclone was such that the houses appeared to “have been run over by a bulldozer”, Babul Mondal, 35, a villager in Sunderbans told AFP . According to IMD, the landfall process continued for four around hours. Roofs of thatched houses blown away in North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore Tidal surge of up to five metres feared in North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts; it could submerge areas in a radius of 15 km In Kolkata, several trees, electric poles and signal-posts were uprooted. The IMD office in Kolkata recorded wind speeds of 130 kmph in the city . Talking to reporters in Delhi, India Meteorological Department director-general Mrityunjay Mohapatra said the eye of the cyclone measuring 30 km in diameter had touched the land, triggering copious rain in several districts in West Bengal and Odisha. In Odisha, the cyclone lashed Balasore, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur districts. A threemonth old boy died when the wall of his thatched house collapsed due in Bhadrak district. According to NDRF, around five lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and 1.58 lakh in Odisha. P5,9 EXACTLY two months after they were shut down to contain the coronavirus outbreak, domestic commercial flights will resume in a calibrated manner across the country from May 25. While all the social distancing norms will be enforced, middle seats will not be kept vacant during flight operations. “Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday May , 25, 2020. All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations,” Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted. Standard operating procedures (SOP) for passenger movement are expected to be issued in due course. One indication of what the SOP could contain came from Puri’s remark to a news agency that he would not recommend a configuration where middle seats are vacant. “It’s not viable to keep the middle seat vacant. Even if you keep middle seat vacant you’ll still have a situation where prescribed distance for social distancing isn’t followed. If you were to do it then you’ve to hike up airline ticket price by 33%,” Puri said. Sources also hinted that the ministry was against airfares go- BOOK TICKET ON 200 AC & NON-AC PASSENGER TRAINS FROM TODAY l 100 pairs of trains, including Durontos and Jan Shatabdis, will run from June 1. They will follow the normal railway timetable. Online booking open from 10 am on Thursday l Will have both AC and non-AC rakes and general coaches. General coaches, too, will have reserved seating facility as no unreserved tickets will be issued l Advance reservation period limited to 30 days for these trains. No Tatkal and Premium Talkal reservation allowed l Normal fare to be charged. Only passengers with confirmed tickets shall be allowed to enter the station | P7 ing up. If middle seats are kept vacant, airlines would seek to shift the burden to the passengers by jacking up fares, drawing protests from fliers. As for the resumption of services, sources indicated that airports in red zones may not open immediately, though some of the busiest routes might see flight operations. However, some of the biggest and busiest airports, like in Delhi and Mumbai, are in the red zones. Airlines plan to deploy about 30% of their fleet to start with. Later in the day, the Union home ministry announced lifting civil aviation from the list of services barred under Lockdown 4.0. COVID-19 BATTLE Tiruvannamalai 11 Krishnagiri 1 Dindigul 1 Theni 1 Tenkasi 1 Tiruvallur 23 Chennai 557 Kancheepuram 14 Chengalpattu 58 Villupuram 1 Kallakurichi 1 Thanjavur 1 Pudukkottai 1 Madurai 9 Thoothukudi 1 Tirunelveli 16 743 THREE DIE AT CHENNAI HOSP As many as 83 people who returned from Maharashtra tested positive in various districts across Tamil Nadu. Chennai’s tally now stands at 8,228. A total of 987 people were cured and discharged from hospitals. SHIBA PRASAD SAHU INVESTORS PULL OUT $16 BN FROM INDIA J AYA N TA R O Y C H O W D H U R Y @ New Delhi FOREIGN investors have been pulling out of India, says a recent US Congressional Research Service report on Covid-19’s effects on the global economy. “Foreign investors have pulled $26 billion out of developing Asian economies and $16 billion out of India, increasing concerns of a major economic recession in Asia,” it noted. This is corroborated by data from Indian bourses. Foreign portfolio investors have been pulling out of India since January and by March, their panic-selling brought foreign institutional ownership of the top 500 BSE-listed Indian companies to a six-year low. As on March 30, FII ownership of BSE 500 companies came down drastically to 12.3%. In all, FIIs were net sellers of equity worth `83,859 crore this quarter. “FII selling continued in April when they were net sellers of stock worth `5,208 crore. In times of high risk, it is natural for funds to flee emerging markets and go for safer havens such as US treasury bonds, gold etc,” said Amit Banerjee, an independent merchant banker. Analysts fear future FDI inflows would be hit. “There are question marks on future FDI inflows. Despite improving on ease of doing business index, most foreign investors will play safe and conserve funds at this time,” said Prof Biswajit Dhar, JNU. Other analysts bel i eve t h e I n d i a n economy could attract longer term funds as well as FDI. Management consultancy firm Kearney said Wednesday that India holds an investment opportunity of $575 billion in the transport infrastructure sector. “Roads and railways constitute 80% of the total investment opportunity driven by investments in flagship projects such as Bharatmala Pariyojana, dedicated freight corridor, high speed rail, etc,” it said. COVID VICTIMS Ola’s rival Uber fired 6,700 employees across various departments all over the world Cab aggregator Ola on Wednesday announced 1,400 employees, 35% of its workforce in India, would be laid off. The company’s revenues dropped 95% in the past two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a look at other new-age companies that have resorted to lay off staff to save cash | P10 India’s second largest online food delivery company Zomato said it would trim 13% of its entire workforce - 520 employees Zomato’s rival Swiggy plans to let 1,100 staff go as a cost-cutting measure HOTEL CHAIN OYO HAS FIRED NEARLY 5,000 EMPLOYEES GLOBALLY. IN INDIA, IT PLANS TO ASK SOME EMPLOYEES TO PROCEED ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY Treebo group of hotels has offered a ‘voluntary resignation scheme’ to 400 EMPLOYEES Online home design and decoration start-up LivSpace has removed WeWork India has laid off 100 employees, which is 20% of its workforce Scooter rental firm Bounce has fired 120 employees B2B e—commerce platform Udaan has sacked over 1,000 contractual staff members 450 employees (15% of the workforce) Tamil Nadu continues to record spurt in cases EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai TAMIL Nadu crossed the 13,000 mark on Wednesday with 743 people testing positive for COVID-19. The tally now stands at 13,191. Of them, 83 are people who returned from Maharashtra, and have tested positive in various districts. Chennai recorded 557 cases, taking the city’s total to 8,228. Three deaths were reported in the State, and the toll now stands at 87. The deceased included a 44-year-old woman from Tiruvallur and a 52-year- old man from Chennai, both of whom died at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. The woman had viral pneumonia and died of respiratory issues on Tuesday while the man , — who had type-2 diabetes and systemic hypertension — died of respiratory trouble, sepsis and septic shock on Wednesday . The third deceased was a 70-year-old woman, who passed away at Stanley hospital on May 17. She died of cardiac issues. Meanwhile, 987 people were discharged from hospitals, taking the number of cured cases to 5,882. P2 All handloom weavers to get `2k aid HIGHWAY TO HELL P4 The State government has announced that weavers who are not members of the Tamil Nadu Handloom and Handloom Silk Weaving Workers’ Welfare Board would also be given `2,000 as assistance during the lockdown. Already, the government has ordered relief for 1,03,343 members. Eligible persons are requested to submit applications to respective Handlooms and Textile Department office. HARROWING TALE Broken needle in baby’s leg for 70 days M S T H A N A R A J @ Tiruchy IN a shocking case, parents of an over two-month-old infant found a piece of needle lodged in her left thigh, almost 70 days after she was vaccinated at the Manapparai government hospital. The baby girl had been crying incessantly ever since being discharged from the hospital, and the doctors consulted were unable to identify the problem and help for all these days, allege parents. Thamarai Selvi (23) delivered the baby on March 9 at the GH. The next day the infant was vaccinated. They were discharged on March 14. “We were very hassled as our daughter kept crying after coming home,” says her father Pichandavar (28), a farmer. Initially, they thought it could be an irritation caused by the va c c i n e. W h e n t h e y went for the second shot at Maravanur PHC, 45 days later, Thamarai Selvi told the doctors about the swelling on the baby’s thigh. “The doctors just told us to apply ice pack over the swelling.” Only on Wednesday did the mother spot something shiny on the left thigh of the child while giving her a bath. “She pulled it out and realised it was a broken syringe needle,” says the father, adding that the piece was nearly 2 cm long. The couple took the baby to Manapparai GH and lodged a complaint. S Lakshmi, Joint Director of Health in Tiruchy, says the baby was checked and there was no possibility of infection. 4-yr-old falls off drunk dad’s bike J AYA K U M A R M A D A L A @ Ariyalur A joy ride with his father landed four-year-old Anbu Amuthan of Devamangalam in hospital with serious injuries on the face, hands and legs. The boy’s father, Selvam, who had taken him for shopping on a twowheeler, was drunk and failed to realise that the boy fell off the bike. Selvam rode on only to collapse 500 metres ahead at Kandiyankollai village. Passers-by admitted the boy to a nearby hospital. Later, his relatives shifted him to a private hospital in Kumbakonam. P3
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