KOTTAYAM l TUESDAY l JUNE 09, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION INDIA, CHINA STAND-OFF TALKS POSITIVE, SAYS RAJNATH Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called Saturday’s high-level talks to end the ongoing military standoff at LAC positive THRUST ON MODI-XI CONSENSUS STAND-OFF MAY STRETCH LONGER Rajnath said the two countries agreed to resolve disputes, present and future, through talks. His comments came on a day when China’s foreign ministry said, “the two sides need to implement the two leaders’ consensus,” referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President agreeing on not letting border differences become disputes ■ ■ “The India-China border dispute is a long-standing dispute. We want this border dispute to get resolved quickly.” In no case we will let anyone hurt our respect and pride, Rajnath said Saturday’s talks, however, failed to end the stand-off, which Army sources now say could stretch for another month 3,488 km IS THE LENGTH OF THE INDIA-CHINA LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL (LAC) 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 Bank credit growth may crash to 1% in FY21, warns Crisil ‘PVT BANKS HESITANT TO GIVE MSME LOANS’ While state-owned banks such as State Bank of India have started extending loans under the `3 lakh crore credit scheme for the MSME sector, private lenders are dillydallying in implementing the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme, RSS-affiliated industry body Laghu Udyog Bharti told Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi WITH the Covid-19 pandemic almost certain to result in GDP contraction this fiscal year, the rate at which banks disburse loans is likely to slow down drastically. According to domestic ratings agency Crisil Ratings, bank credit growth is likely to nosedive to a multidecade low of just between zero to one per cent in the current E PRESS MAPS X National active case count Only four states reported a drop in active cases — Madhya Pradesh (63), Odisha (104), Uttarakhand (55) and Himachal Pradesh (17) — as the map indicates l TOTAL ACTIVE CASES DAY’S ADDITION DAY’S DROP Ladakh l 52 2 Chandigarh l 36 5 Jammu & Kashmir l 2,830 528 Himachal Pradesh l 184 -17 Delhi l 17,125 896 Uttarakhand l 814 -55 Punjab l 451 78 Uttar Pradesh l 4,076 248 Bihar l 2578 118 Haryana l 2,286 492 Sikkim l7 Rajasthan l 2,718 119 Madhya Pradesh Odisha l 953 -104 Chhattisgarh l 786 133 l 2658 -63 Goa l 235 33 Karnataka l 3,259 73 Kerala l 1,096 66 Meghalaya l 22 3 West Bengal l 4,488 252 Jharkhand l 602 82 Dadar Nagar Haveli l 18 Nagaland l 110 3 Assam l 1,946 100 Tripura l 608 34 Gujarat l 5,186 129 Maharashtra l 43,601 992 Arunachal Pradesh l 50 4 Puducherry l 63 Telengana l 1,803 140 Andhra Pradesh l 1,951 134 Tamil Nadu l 14,399 893 Mizoram l 33 10 Manipur l 120 15 Tantalisingly close to 10K a day 9,983 fresh Covid ases added in a day; the figure was 9,971 on Sunday Kejriwal, L-G on collision course A day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said govt and private hospitals in the Capital will only treat Delhiites, Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Monday overruled it, saying anyone can get treatment in the city and the asymptomatic too should be examined. Baijal said the right to health is an integral part of the right to life protected under Article 21 of the Constitution Meanwhile, Kejriwal went into self-quarantine after he had fever and sore throat on Sunday; will get himself tested for Covid-19 today financial year (FY21). This number had stood around 6% in the previous year. “This crisis is unprecedented and so will its economic fallout be,” said Krishnan Sitaraman, senior director, CRISIL Ratings, noting that subsequent lower capital expenditure demand and lower discretionary spends will slow down credit disbursal significantly . In fact, credit growth is expected to remain positive only due to lower repayments due to the moratorium and capitalisation of accumulated interest. “The corporate loan portfolio, which constitutes almost half of total credit, is expected to be the worst-hit, and de-grow this fiscal. The lockdown has led to significant disruption in operations with limited capacity utilisation across sectors,” he added. The new estimates are a far cry from Crisil’s rather opti- CONTINUED ON: P10 15-30% people living in containment zones could be infected, cured: Survey S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi THE first population-based serosurvey in India, conducted to assess the extent of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen behind Covid-19, found that as many as one-third of the population in various containment zones in hotspot cities may have already been infected and quietly recovered. The survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), whose preliminary findings have been shared with the Union cabinet secretary and the Prime Minister’s Office, found that in several containment areas in high case load districts, 15 to 30% population has been exposed to the infection, government sources told this newspaper. Serosurvey involves collection of blood samples of people to test for the presence of antibodies specific to a pathogen. In this case, it was meant to test for IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 that normally appear 14 days after the infection and continues to be present in the blood serum for months. The ICMR, with the help from the National Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organization’s India office and state governments, had collect- ed nearly 24,000 samples from 70 districts in the country from randomly picked individuals. These included the 10 hotspot cities — Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Indore, Thane, Jaipur, Chennai and Surat — that contribute nearly 70% to India’s total case load. Five hundred samples each from 10 randomly chosen containment areas in every city were taken. In addition, 400 samples each from other 60 districts across 21 states — categorised on the basis of low, medium and high case load — were also collected. “Barring the two hotspot cities of Surat and Kolkata and six other districts, we now have results from all other sites. It shows that infection size in many containment areas in the worst-hit districts is 100-fold to 200-fold higher than the cases reported at those sites,” an official privy to the survey report said. Data for eight districts are still being analysed and will be added to the final report. Another official said the 100200 times higher infection size were mainly found in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Ahmadabad and Indore among others, which have been the hardest hit by the virus. Key questions What is serosurvey? It means testing blood samples in a population for a specific purpose. In this case, the samples were tested for presence of antibodies against SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The presence of antibodies would confirm the person was exposed to the virus and has since recovered How was this serosurvey conducted? Nearly 24,000 samples from 70 districts across 21 states - including 10 hotspot cities - were to be collected and tested. Data analysed for 62 districts or cities so far What are the findings? * Very high exposure level in some cities; very low exposure in rural areas. In some areas, 15-30% of the population exposed to infection. In some spots, infection size is 100-200 times higher than the cases reported there so far What are the implications? It gives policy makers and epidemiologists data that can be used for disease control and mitigation. In some badly hit areas, the population is closer to herd immunity than elsewhere. Herd immunity for Covid-19 is expected when 60-70% of the population is exposed to it T’Puram: Kerala recorded its 16th Covid-19 death on Monday. Diny Chacko, 41, who was being treated at Thrissur Medical College Hospital, is the latest victim of the deadly virus. Of the 16 people who died, 15, including Diny, had comorbidities 91 cases reported on Monday 2,005 1,174 cases have been confirmed 814 have recovered so far With three more deaths on Monday, 200 Malayalis have so far died due to Covid-19 in the West Asian countries under treatment 16 DEATHS Hindu organisations say no but govt will open temples today Food Safety Dept to campaign To alleviate the worries of the public and to ensure the eateries do not become the hotspot of Covid19 transmission, the Food Safety Department is gearing up to launch a massive campaign across the state. Virtual classes to be made available to all ‘First Bell,’ the virtual learning programme for school students in the state, will be made available to everyone of them within two days. Prisoners escape from Manjeri MCH In a major lapse on the part of prison authorities, two prisoners of Manjeri sub-jail slipped away from the Government Medical College Hospital, Manjeri on Sunday night. M A N O J V I S W A N AT H A N @ Kochi THE Hindu organisations are up in arms against the government’s move to open the 3,001 temples owned by various Devaswom boards in Kerala on Tuesday, at a time when Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, however, said the government would go ahead with the reopening as per the g u i d e l i n e s i s s u e d by t h e U n i o n government. With places of worship, malls and restaurants set to open on Tuesday concerns , have been raised about the safety as the move may undermine the efforts to avoid community transmission. As many as 91 fresh cases and one death were reported in the state on Monday taking the total con, firmed cases to 2,005. “There are more than 3,000 temples managed by the Kshetra Samrakshana Samithi, NSS, SNDP Yogam and various trusts. The gover nment should have convened a meeting to discuss the matter. No devotee supports the decision to open temples. The decision has been taken to help the Devaswom Boards improve its income,” said Hindu Aikya Vedi general secretary R V Babu. He said that if an infected person visits a temple, it will lead to shutting down of the temple, which in turn will halt even daily poojas. The Kshetra Samrakshana Samithi said its temples will not reopen. More than 48 temples under the trusteeship of the Zamorin Raja of Calicut will also not open for the time being. The Nair Service Society said it will not reopen temples admin● More on P4 istered by it any time soon. Kerala buses made crores taking Bengal workers home JUMBO DEATH Centre backs probe by ‘unbiased’ Kerala govt R A J E S H A B R A H A M @ Kochi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi AMID the uproar over the death of a pregnant elephant in Palakkad, the Union environment ministry has said preliminary investigation reveals that the animal might have accidentally consumed a fruit stuffed with explosives. In a series of tweets, the ministry said locals in Kerala resort to an illegal act of planting explosive-filled fruits to stop wild boars from entering plantation farms, and the state government and all departments concerned are handling the matter in an unbiased manner. The 15-year-old elephant had suffered grievous injuries when the explosive-filled fruit went off in its mouth in the Silent Valley forest. It died in the Velliyar river on May 27. The ministry said one person has been arrested in connection with the incident. “In the meantime, MoS, MoEF&CC, Shri Babul Supriyo requests everyone not to indulge or fall prey to any of the rumours & fake news that are being circulated in the #SocialMedia,” the ministry said in ● More on P4 a tweet. mistic earlier prediction, made in February of 8-9% bank cred, it growth for the current year. “In other words, the impact of the pandemic on credit growth will be a whopping 800 basis points (bps),” the agency warned. Crisil Ratings expects GDP to contract by 5% during FY21, toeing the general line taken by most economists that negative GDP growth this fiscal is a near certainty . State’s Covid death toll touches 16 TO EKE OUT A LIVING Fishing boats at the Vizhinjam harbour in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. With the trawling ban starting from Tuesday midnight, fishers from faraway shores have moved to the shallow waters of Vizhinjam with their smaller boats which are allowed to operate. The ban period is till July 31 | B P DEEPU EXPRESS READ Girl ‘caught copying’ found dead in river 17-year-old in custody for attack on youth Flyover probe: HC directive to VACB Kottayam: The body of a 20 yearold BCom student, who went missing on Saturday, was found in the Meenachil River on Monday, kicking up a controversy after her family accused a college at Cherpungal at which she wrote the final-year exams of cooking up the allegation that she had indulged in exam malpractice. Kochi: Police on Monday took into custody a 17-year-old in the case related to the hacking of a youth in Muvattupuzha town. He is the second accused in the incident that happened on Sunday evening. The police picked him up from a friend’s house in Kothamangalam where he was hiding. Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to inform the progress of investigation as well as essential details of the Palarivattom flyover corruption case registered against former works minister V K Ibrahim Kunju with the Enforcement Directorate. WHEN Rojin V M, a driver and tourist guide, grabbed the opportunity to ferry migrant labourers to West Bengal in one of the funky buses, it was not just the good money on offer amid the miserable lockdown that attracted him, but also his passion to see new places. But the 39-year-old was in for a bigger surprise on his way from Perumbavoor to Murshidabad — hundreds of similar highend buses from across Kerala engaged in a similar mission. Rojin, who returned from his trip last week, said he saw many buses from Kerala on the roads -- in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal -- either going to drop migrants working in Kerala to various districts in Bengal or returning after the task. For the bus owners, it is a dream deal during these troubled times. They are charging between `2.25 lakh and `2.5 lakh per trip, accommodating 26-30 passengers on each bus --which means around `8,000 per passenger. Even at a conservative estimate of 1,000 trips to Bengal so far, simple math shows the migrant work- The rates are on the higher side. Maybe because bus owners take permissions from states governments Benoy Peter, CMID A8,000 A2.25L is the ticket rate to Murshidabad from Kochi a bus owner makes per trip to Bengal 1,000 BUSES OPERATE FROM PERUMBAVOOR Binu John of Ganga Travels said more than 1,000 buses have taken workers from Perumbavoor to Bengal alone ers have pumped in `22 crore to the local economy since the start of the lockdown. With Covid-19 cases going up once again in Kerala, the pressure on the migrants from their families to get back seems to be high. With monsoon arriving and the images of backto-back floods still fresh in their minds, the workers, especially those in the construction sector, know they will not lose much in terms of working days for 3-4 months even if they leave. And they are making their journey a pleasure trip. They believe travelling by buses is a much safer option than the Shramik trains. Rojin, who has a passion for driving, earned `17,000 for the single trip. He is ready for a second trip as he is not going to be busy in his first job — as a tourist guide in Kochi — for at least three months. “They work for `1,000/day in Kerala, but gave me `2,500 in tips,” said Rojin, impressed with the gesture of migrant workers. Tripunithura-based Ganga Travels has made two trips to West Bengal so far. Its owner Binu John said bus operators are charging a premium on the trips as they also arrange for necessary permissions. The workers have to be taken to the local primary health centres for medical certificate. “In my estimate, more than 1,000 buses have taken workers from Perumbavoor to Bengal alone,” he said. After spending `95,000 for diesel, `35,000 for two drivers and `5,000 as toll fees, a bus owner must have pocketed anywhere between `75,000-`90,000 per trip. ● More on P4
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