KOTTAYAM l WEDNESDAY l JULY 15, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION CENTRE ISSUES NORMS FOR ONLINE CLASSES BY SCHOOLS The Union HRD ministry on Tuesday recommended a cap on duration and the number of daily sessions for students MAX 30 MIN FOR PRE-PRIMARY STUDENTS CONCERNS ABOUT HIGH SCREEN TIME In its set of guidelines called ‘Pragyata’, the ministry has recommended that the duration of online classes for pre-primary students should not be for more than 30 minutes. For classes 1-8, a maximum of two online sessions of up to 45 minutes each can be held, while for 9-12 classes, four sessions of 30-45 minutes duration each have been recommended ■ ■ The main emphasis of Pragyata is on balanced online and offline activities, keeping the screen time as an essential parameter in accordance with the level of students The ministry framed the norms after parents raised concerns about students’ protracted exposure to mobile/computer screens 240 mn STUDENTS HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS, SAYS MINISTRY 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 Call list says Jaleel spoke to Swapna 9 times in June E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @T’Puram THE gold smuggling case took a fresh turn on Tuesday after the call list of the accused revealed the name of Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel, making him the first minister from the state cabinet to be dragged into the high-profile case being investigated by the National Investigation Agency for suspected terror links. The records from April to June showed Swapna Suresh and Jaleel had spoken over the phone nine times in June. While Swapna called Jaleel once and sent an SMS, Jaleel dialled her eight times. The Thorny issues block EMI moratorium extension A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi THE Centre is in favour of extending the moratorium on term loan EMIs beyond August 31, but an announcement will be made only after the legal and technical issues are fixed. “RBI has to sort out two things — one-time restructuring of loans and the legal response to the Supreme Court on whether banks can charge ‘interest on interest’. Only when these two issues are fixed, will an extension be announced,” said a senior official from the finance ministry . As the current moratorium will end in August, banks will have to declare many loans as non-performing assets in their second quarter result, else they will fall shor t of minimum capital requirement. Fitch Ratings estimates that under a moderate stress scenario, PSU banks will need at least $15 billion to meet T i e r- 1 n o r m s . Which means the banks will require immediate recapitalisation. Restructuring will take away that burden to a great extent, but RBI will have to define the terms for restructuring before the current moratorium ends. Another issue is that many businesses have moved court over denial of moratorium and also over the interest charged during the relief period. Recently, the Karnataka High Court ruled that banks cannot deny moratorium to businesses whose survival is at stake. “Courts can ask RBI to enforce moratorium. Courts can also ask banks not to sit over borrowers’ request for moratorium,” said Veena Sivaramakrishnan, partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. But the situation is tricky as the SC is looking at the legality of ‘interest on interest’. call duration ranges from 64 seconds to 195 seconds. The accused also got in touch with Jaleel’s personal staff a few times over the phone. The minister, while admitting that he spoke to Swapna a number of times, told reporters she had called him to discuss the Ramzan kit distribution by the UAE consulate. He returned the call to Swapna at the direction of the UAE consulate general, Jaleel said. The UAE consulate, he said, used to provide food kit for distribution during the Ramzan fast. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijay- Contacted Swapna as asked by UAE diplomat, says min K T Jaleel clarified that he had contacted Swapna Suresh as directed by the UAE diplomat in connection with distribution of Ramzan food kits by the consulate. After TV channels showed Swapna’s call list showing the minister’s phone number, Jaleel also shared the message that the consulgeneral had sent him regarding the kit distribution. P4 an, in his presser, defended his cabinet colleague. “People who say whatever they feel like are behind the allegation against Jaleel,” the CM said. The call records, leaked to the media on Tuesday also showed the , accused Sarith P S had been in touch with M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to chief minister. Sarith dialled Sivasankar nine times and Sivasankar called him back five times between April 20 and June 1. Their call duration ranges from 8 seconds to 755 seconds. The call list also confirmed that the admin attaché of the UAE Consulate had been in touch with Swapna and Suresh. The tower location of Swapna’s phone confirmed that she was near the Secretariat a day before she left Thiruvananthapuram. ● More on P4 Truth can be rattled, not defeated... My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have come out in my support today Sachin Pilot, who was dropped as Dy CM Gehlot pushes out co-Pilot to crush Rajasthan revolt Sachin also sacked as the state party unit president, loyalists too axed RAJESH ASNANI & RICHA SHARMA @ Jaipur/New Delhi THE Cong ress on Tuesday sought to crush the Rajasthan rebellion by sacking Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and his two loyalist ministers from the Gehlot ministry buoyed as it was , by the chief minister showing his strength at the Congress Legislative Party meeting the previous day . Apart from Pilot, Vishwendra Singh and Ramesh Meena were axed from the ministry, Ashok Gehlot later conveyed to Governor Kalraj Mishra in writing, seeking his approval. Pilot was also sacked as the state Congress unit president. In his place, Govind Singh Dotasara was appointed state PCC chief. However, the drama is not fully over as the Pilot camp as well as the BJP asked Gehlot to prove his strength on the floor of the Assembly The buzz in Jaipur is . Gehlot is confident about his numbers and might want to take a floor test in a few days. And Pilot is expected to speak his mind on Wednesday . The Customs nabs three more persons, including a Muvattupuzha native who was on hit list for smuggling activities 3 608 8,930 4,454 4,438 The numbers game In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 107 MLAs and the BJP 72. An estimated 102 MLAs, including allies, attended the CLP meeting called by Gehlot on Monday. Among the Congress allies in RS polls, the Bharatiya Tribal Party with two MLAs decided to stay neutral in the floor test The axe fell after the second CLP meeting in as many days, which was boycotted by the Pilot camp. The meeting adopted a resolution authorising action against the rebels, who are holed up at a resort in Gurugram. The CLP meeting was held at the Fairmount resort where all of them were shepherded to by Gehlot. Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Sur jewala later announced the big punitive action. He said Pilot was ensnared by the BJP into working to bring down the Congress government although he was given a lot of respect and key posts all through his career in the party . Party sources said the high command decided to take firm action after Pilot ignored repeated communication to join the CLP meeting and discuss his grievances there. “Pilot was not ready to yield and Gehlot on firm ground as he enjoyed support of most of the MLAs. Even the party’s top leadership was against hard bargaining with Pilot. All efforts to find a middle ground failed,” said a senior party leader. “Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka were in touch with him but he decided to push his rivalry with Gehlot too far without accepting that he does not enjoy majority support to validate his claim for the CM’s post,” said another party leader. After meeting the Governor, Gehlot charged that Pilot had been working with the BJP for the past six months to topple his gover nment. “Pilot and his group are simply obeying whatever the BJP is dictating to them. The resort where they are staying has been organised and managed by the BJP and those people who are experts at toppling governments are controlling the entire game in the resort.” cases have been confirmed so far under treatment recovered so far 4 MIGRATED 34 DEATHS STATE’S COVID TOLL GOES UP TO 34 Kerala’s Covid toll went up to 34 on Tuesday. The swab samples of Nazeer Usmankutty from Chunakkara, who died at the Alappuzha Medical College on Monday morning, tested positive on Tuesday. Nazeer had returned from Saudi Arabia on July 2. Covid-19 fight on till year end at least: CM E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram/Kochi/Alappuzha KERALA witnessed a huge surge in Covid-19 cases on Tuesday with the daily tally crossing the 600-mark for the first time. While local transmission accounted for 396 of the 608 new cases, the source of infection of 26 people remained unknown. Cautioning that Covid clusters have started forming in various parts, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the third phase of Covid spread has begun. He warned the next stage was community transmission and admitted that the state would be able to control the pandemic only by the end of this year. “The third stage will witness the disease spreading in clusters, that is among a group of people in a particular area. We are already seeing formation of clusters in Malappuram, Thiruvananthapuram and other districts. So, we have to be careful to prevent the next stage, which is community transmission,” he said during the daily briefing. The situation in Thiruvananthapuram continued to be grim with 177 of the day’s 201 new patients contracting the virus through local transmission. Thirty three areas in the district have been declared containment zones. In Ernakulam district, Chellanam continues to be a cause for concern. As many as 20 of the 58 local spread cases reported in the district on Tuesday were from the coastal village. The district reported 70 new cases.● More on P4 HEALTH DEPT TO FIND OUT REASONS FOR SURGE IN LOCAL CONTACT CASES T’Puram: With the state dealing with a surge in Covid-19 cases, the health department is set for an overhaul in its prevention and control activities. The first and foremost is finding the root cause of the big spike in cases due to contact. The department will also take a call soon on setting up health posts in cluster areas and allowing private labs to conduct antigen tests. P2 EXPRESS READ Parties should abide by Covid protocol: HC Bishop Franco tests Covid positive Kochi: The High Court has said all political parties and associations should strictly abide by the Covid protocol issued by the Centre and state government as well as judgments of the Supreme Court. The order came on a petition that sought to declare public gatherings in the state in the name of protests unconstitutional. P4 Kochi: A day after trial court in Kottayam issued a nonbailable arrest warrant against him in the nun rape case, Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal tested positive for Covid-19. The health condition of the bishop is said to be stable. “Yes he is confirmed Covid positive,” Jalandhar diocese PRO Fr Peter Kavumpuram said. N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow Anuj Kumar, now a daily wage labourer The agency claims that Swapna and Sandeep knew Faisal 2 cases reported on Tuesday Unnao returnees struggling to earn Despite Mumbai being a costly city, I saved enough to send it home. But, here I can barely support myself NIA court issued an open-ended non-bailable arrest warrant against Faisal Fareed, who sent gold consignment through the diplomatic channel 1 KERAL A CASE DIARY LIFE & LIVELIHOOD Anuj Kumar (L) at his village work site NIA starts hunt for Faisal THEIR numbers are maddening — more than 32 lakh — and their stories as repetitive as their existence in the persistent Covid-19 virulence. Lockdowns forced them back to their villages in Uttar Pradesh, where their sustenance is in question and their anxieties about better livelihood are growing by the day . Many have already started their journey back: Trains to Mumbai and Gujarat from Gorakhpur and Lucknow are running full and ads for cheap and direct bus services from east UP towns have started popping up on Facebook. For its part, the government has skill-mapped most of them. More than 10 lakh migrant workers have been absorbed in the rural jobs scheme, MGNREGS. Besides, the government has signed pacts with various industrial bodies such as IIA, Naredco and Ficci to provide 11 lakh jobs. Plus, there is an assortment of offers under the newly launched PM Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana and interest-free loans to run enterprises. But all that appears to be in a flux going by snatches of conversations with these young migrants of Unnao: Anuj Kumar (30): The food delivery man is back from Mumbai, digging pits 1,500 km away in Unnao. He earned over `25,000 per month until lockdown became the order of the day Now, in his native . village Kalu Khera, he works as a daily wager for the forest department and earns `200 a day, not guaranteed for all 30 days. In mid-May, Anuj along with eight others took their four mobikes to make the 1,500-km journey Reaching home was . the happiest moment of his life. “Despite Mumbai being a costly city, I saved enough to send it home. But, here I can barely support myself,” he says. CONTINUED ON: P7 A street vendor takes a nap at Killipalam in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. The triple lockdown enforced in the city has left hundreds of people like him in dire straits | VINCENT PULICKAL Nadapuram cause for concern, triple lockdown in Thuneri E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kozhikode THE situation in Nadapuram region took a turn for the worse on Monday when more than 53 people contracted Covid-19 through local transmission. Adding to the authorities’ worries, 40 more people in the region tested positive for the infection on Tuesday . Health authorities on Monday had conducted antigen tests on more than 400 people, who were suspected to have come into contact with two Covid patients from Thuneri. Those who tested positive on the first day include the panchayat president, two panchayat members and a panchayat office staffer. Authorities are yet to trace the exact source of the infection, which is a cause for concern. Those infected include natives of Thuneri, Nadapuram, Chekiyad and Chorode. The medical team is continuing rapid tests in the region. On Tuesday 500 more , samples were collected, of which 40 turned positive during preliminary test. Meanwhile, the district administration has imposed a triple lockdown in Thuneri due to the sudden spike in cases. Strict restrictions have been brought in Nadapuram and other nearby local bodies.
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