Overcast sky masks solar eclipse Bad weather and social distancing norms prevented many across India from witnessing the celestial phenomenon A narrow stretch in northern India that included parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand got to see to the ring of fire. The rest of the country got to witness only a partial eclipse MADURAI MONDAY JUNE 22, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION Patna Chennai Bengaluru Coimbatore Mumbai New Delhi Scores of temples, including Tirupati Balaji temple and the ‘Chardham’ shrines of Uttarakhand, closed on Saturday night and reopened for prayers only on Sunday afternoon once the eclipse was over Hyderabad The partial phase of the eclipse began at 9.16 am and lasted till 3.04 pm. The annular phase began at 10.19 am and ended at 1.58 pm. The phenomenon was live-streamed online due to Covid-19 Kolkata Ghaziabad 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 Army commanders on LAC get a free hand Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong summoned to lodge strong protest against the June 15 violence in Galwan area M AYA N K S I N G H A N D P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi WHILE giving Ar my commanders along the Line of Actual Control the freedom to improvise depending on Chinese aggression, India on Sunday summoned Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong to lodge a strong protest against the June 15 violent face-off. It also emerged that the US is talking to both sides to try and defuse the border crisis. “It is a very tough situation. We are talking to India. We are talking to China. They have got a big problem there. They have come to blows, and we will see what happens. We will try and help them out,” US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held an hour-long meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs to assess the LAC situation. Taking independent decisions to deal with the ‘belligerence’ of the Chi- VERY TOUGH SITUATION “It is a very tough situation. We are talking to India. We are talking to China. They have got a big problem there,” says US President Donald Trump nese troops was discussed and re-emphasised, sources said. The surprise Chinese attack on June 15 on Indian soldiers in Galwan’s Patrolling Point 14 with rods and bamboo sticks studded with nails came as a rude shock to the soldiers bound by protocols. “Indian Army’s discipline and commitment towards the protocols was misused by the Chinese troops who ambushed them in a planned manner, which led to the loss of 20 lives. Now the commanders are free to impro- vise their reactions befitting the Chinese actions and to reply them in their own language.” a senior officer said. An important indication came from Finger 4, which has been the most complicated stand-off point. “We have been asked to not hold ourselves but to show strength at Finger 4 after the Galwan incident,” a source said. We i d o n g ’s s u m m o n i n g comes days after both sides blamed each other for the June 15 face-off. H-1B POLICY Trump set to announce fresh curbs on work visas Ranipet 2 Dharmapuri 5 Salem 10 Erode 7 Tiruchy 35 Namakkal 2 Coimbatore 12 Karur 5 Tirupur 4 Dindigul 26 Theni 7 Madurai 68 Virudhunagar 13 Tenkasi 22 Kanniyakumari 6 Tiruvallur 120 Vellore 87 FRESH CASES Sivaganga 7 Thoothukudi 2 Tirunelveli 25 DEATHS @ Chennai @ New Delhi PEAK-ASANA Members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police practice yoga to mark the 6th International Day of Yoga, on Sunday at Khardung La in Ladakh | PTI NOBLE DEED MLA’S TIMELY AID SECURES GIRL’S FUTURE geshwari said her grand@ Madurai mother took her and her brother under her wing. THANKS to Tiruppa“To make ends meet, my rankundram MLA P Sara- grandmother sells vegetavanan’s noble gesture, edu- bles at Villapuram Market. I cation is assured to an used to assist her after 11-year-old kid, who, other- school hours,” Murugeshwise, would have wari said. been destined to beThe lockdown come a vegetable pushed the family vendor for lifetime. into impoverishK Murugeshwari ment. At this juncis a class six student ture, Mariammal at a cor poration was recently diagschool. She lives nosed with partial Girl gets with her brother K visual impairment. `10,000 Vigneshwaran (9), a This took a toll on class three student, Having learnt Murusheshwari’s a n d m a t e r n a l about the girl’s education. grandmother Mari- woe, the MLA Having become a ammal (50) in Vilfull-time vendor visited the lapuram of Tirupnow, Murugeshwari family, and parankundram said, “I love to study gave her an A s s e m b l y and I am the topper amount of constituency . in my class. But, I `10,000 Murugeshwari am now responsible and her brother for my family’s surwere reportedly abandoned vival. Whatever it takes, I by their father after the will raise my little brother kids’ mother passed away and ensure his education.” two-and-a-half years ago. Having learnt about the Their father, who is said to girl’s woe, MLA Saravanan be a habitual drinker, is now visited the family on Saturworking in Tirupur. day, and extended a finanSpeaking to TNIE, Muru- cial assistance of `10,000. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Kancheepuram 64 Chennai 1,493 Chelgalpattu 121 Tiruvannamalai 76 Villupuram 22 Kallakurichi 18 Cuddalore 90 Ariyalur 6 Nagapattinam 24 Tiruvarur 26 Thanjavur 44 Pudukkottai 1 Ramanathapuram 30 TALLY 25,863 active cases The State has tested 29,963 persons on Sunday, against 32,186 on Saturday. As many as 1,438 people were discharged on Sunday, leaving TN with 25,863 active cases. TOLL 2,532 53 59,377 757 Highest single-day spike in cases, deaths in TN EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE THOUSANDS of Indians who hold H-1B visas or have applied for one recently were on tenterhooks on Sunday as US President Donald Trump indicated that he is preparing to sign an executive order suspending work visas as millions of Americans struggle with job losses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. An announcement is expected in the next two days. “We are going to be announcing something tomorrow or the next day on the visas. You need them for big businesses where they have certain people that have been coming in for a long time, but very little exclusion and they (restrictions) are pretty tight,” he said in an interview with a local media house. The action is likely to affect H1-B and L-1 visa holders the most. VISA According to Bloomberg News one possibility is that the order would restrict people from entering the US on work visas, including H-1B, for 180 days. Workers who have already been granted those visas, but are outside the US may not be able to enter the country until the order expires. Those already in the US are unlikley to be affected. But, the proposed action may affect those who are waiting for their H-1B visas to be stamped. The stampings were halted as the US consulates closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I returned to India for my H1-B stamping and then the pandemic happened. Now, with the consulates closed and talk of restrictions being imposed, I don’t what to do. I hope renewals would be exempt,” said Sai Srinivas Penumarthi a software engineer. TAMIL NADU COVID-19 BATTLE FRESH Covid-19 cases and deaths across TN touched alltime highs on Sunday with the State reporting 2,532 cases and 53 deaths. The State capital, once again, topped the districts with 1,493 cases and 42 deaths. The Statewide tally is now 59,377 and toll 757, while the figures for Chennai are 41,172 and 601 respectively . Among those to test positive is Rishivandhiyam MLA Vasantham K Karthikeyan (DMK). While Chennai and its neighbouring districts of Chengalpattu (121), Kancheepuram (64) and Tiruvallur (120) continue to contribute the most cases to the tally, the rest of the State has started reporting more cases. On Sunday, Cuddalore reported 90 cases, followed by Vellore (87), Tiruvannamalai (76) and Madurai (68). An analysis of data shows that samples tested in Chennai and its surrounding districts rose by 38.7 per cent from June 7 to June 20, while it rose by 39.3 per cent for the rest of the State. However, while only 10 per cent of the cases reported on June 7 were from outside Chennai and its three surrounding districts, that figure tripled to 31 per cent on June 20, showing a huge spike in cases reported from other districts. Three of the deceased had no co-morbidities. Grandson of producer B Nagi Reddy and trustee of Vijaya Hospital Sarath Reddy is among those who died on Friday . GST in play during sale of developed plots EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi In a ruling that is likely to have far-reaching ramifications in the real estate market, Gujarat’s Authority of Advance Ruling (AAR) has ruled that the sale of developed plots of land with primary amenities like power or water connections should attract Goods and Services Tax (GST). The addition of such amenities should be seen as a ‘supply of service’, the authority held. While AAR rulings are applicable only to the individual applicant and the jurisdictional tax officer in a particular case, industry experts say this ruling will likely be used as a precedent by other jurisdictions. According to the quasi-judicial body the , sale of ‘developed plots’ where primary amenities like power, water pipelines or even access roads are included, is not the same as the sale of land. The sale of land, an immovable property and exempt from Q & A EXPECT BILATERAL CHILL “We are seeing a very hostile and violently assertive face of China, which is quite at variance with their behaviour in the past three decades... I presume that there will be a slowing down of bilateral contacts and a degree of chill will set in,” Nirupama Rao FULL INTERVIEW: P7 told this newspaper. NIRUPAMA MENON RAO Former foreign secretary & former Ambassador to China WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) LEVY ON ADDING AMENITIES Selling a plot with amenities like power/water connection to attract GST as they are a supply of service, ARR rules Activities like construction of boundary walls and laying cables and water pipelines are part of its development; sellers charge rates on super built-up basis, it pointed out At present, sale of plot attracts only stamp duty GST, attracts only stamp duty— as is the case for a building that has received a completion certificate. But the AAR observed that such transactions would be out of the GST net only if they “exclusively deal with transfer of title or transfer of ownership of land”. In the case of a developed plot with amenities, the AAR held that GST should be applicable since clause 5(b) of Schedule-II of the CGST Act defines the ‘construction of a complex intended for sale to a buyer’ as a supply of service. CONTINUED ON: P10 Remdesivir a week away, but chemists won’t get it V N I L E S H @ Hyderabad HYDERABAD-BASED Hetero Drugs has been given approval by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to manufacture and market the antiviral drug remdesivir. The drug was recently authorised as an investigational therapy under e m e r g e n cy m e d i c a l u s e against the novel Coronavirus by the Indian Council for Med- ical Research (ICMR). The DCGI also gave a similar approval to another pharmaceutical company, Cipla. According to a media statement by Hetero Drugs, the drug has been granted approval by DCGI for the treatment of suspected or laboratoryconfirmed cases of Covid-19 in adults and children, hospitalised with severe symptoms of the disease. Grim reaper Covid-19 snuffs out loving mother’s heartfelt desire for son L A L I T H A R A N J A N I @ Madurai DESPITE being a loving mother of two teenaged daughters, 48-year-old Roja* craved for a son. It was this craving that led her to undergo intrauterine insemination (IUI). The insemination proved to be a success, for she gave birth to twins — a boy and a girl. But her happiness had a short life as three days later, she succumbed to Covid at the Government Rajaji Hospital on June 19. Her twins tested negative for the virus. Roja’s husband Ramu*, a resident of Palanganatham, gave in to her desire and consulted the Ellis Nagar branch of a leading Chennai-based fertility clinic last year. The woman reportedly conceived twins during the first attempt of IUI. Roja was expected to deliver the babies between June 18 and June 20. According to her husband, she had diabetes, which was reportedly brought down to normal blood sugar level before the commencement of IUI treatment, but she is said to have developed hypertension during pregnancy . Violation of Covid protocol at the fertility clinic? Ramu recalls his visit to the clinic on June 1. “When we reached the clinic for a routine check-up, she was admitted there over the fears of her contracting the infection if she stepped out frequently. As per their advice, we went to a private hospital on Melur Main Road for Covid test. The results returned negative,” he said. On June 14, Roja was subjected to another Covid-19 test; this time the samples were collected at the clinic. On June 15, the head of the chain of fertility clinics told Ramu that Roja had tested positive. “I was told to get her discharged, take her home and admit her to GRH the Till the end, we did not tell her about the infection. We wanted her to keep calm. Her last words to me were: Let us go home Victims’ elder daughter next day. After paying around `55,000 for the 15-day hospital stay and around `7 lakh for the , IUI procedure, we were out on road all by ourselves.” Roja’s elder daughter said that barring a few hospital staff, none of the patients in the clinic knew that Roja was Covid patient as they were not sent home by adopting appropriate infection-control measures. “We were neither referred to any dedicated Covid-19 hospital nor was any vehicle arranged for my mother’s safe transport. We took a cab from the clinic to home,” she claimed. Ramu raised doubts on whether the clinic was a silent host to the deadly virus. “If this is how a Covid patient is handled at the fertility clinic, one would not know how many such patients have been discharged as casually as my wife was. Besides, she did not step out of house except for the visits to the clinic; she stayed indoors at the hospital during the infection period,” he added. On June 16, around 7 am, Roja was taken to the GRH, where she delivered twins through caesarean section. “As my mother was partially deaf, my father gestured the news to her while she was semi-conscious. My mother could barely glance at the babies. After keeping well for two days, her condition deteriorated on the third day She died on June 19 around . 9.20 am. Till the end, we did not tell her about the infection. Her last words were: Let us go home,” the daughter added. *names changed
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