KOCHI l TUESDAY l AUGUST 11, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE CITY EDITION 80% RURAL INDIANS SAW WORK COME TO HALT AMID LOCKDOWN Yet, only 23% says the lockdown was bad, and 74% feels the Centre has tackled the pandemic well, says a new survey 68% FACED MONEY CRUNCH, 23% BORROWED ONLY 20% GOT WORK UNDER MGNREGA Over 68% faced “high” to “very high” financial difficulties during the lockdown, the survey by rural portal Gaon Connection found. Twenty-three per cent had to borrow money while 8% had to sell valuable assets. The survey, done in collaboration with the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, was based on interviews with over 25,000 people in 20 states ■ ■ ■ About 38% households could not get necessary medicines Only 20% respondents said they got work under MGNREGA “Interestingly, respondents in BJP-ruled states were less impressed with the Modi govt’s handling of the pandemic than those in many other states,” the survey said 75% POOR FAMILIES SUFFERED A DIP IN INCOME DURING LOCKDOWN 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 Covid forces a low-key Sabarimala pilgrimage E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @T’Puram THE Sabarimala pilgrimage, one of the most popular religious journeys in south India, could be a low-key affair this year due to Covid-19, after the state decided to hold it as per the pandemic protocol. The annual pilgrimage season will begin on November 16. Wiser from the experience of Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, where temple reopening led to a spurt in positive cases, the state government has decided to play it safe this time. The number of devotees allowed to undertake the pilgrimage will be restricted through the virtual queue management system of the police, Devaswom Minister Forest Dept rues loss of six native watchers in landslide M A N O J V I S W A N AT H A N @ PettimudI THE Pettimudi landslide, which swept away an entire colony has served a body blow , to the Forest Department. The tragedy claimed the lives of six experienced watchers who used to help the department curb drug peddling, keep track of poachers and extend support to the tribal people living in 28 settlement colonies scattered across the 107-sq-km reserve forest area. The six persons — Achuthan, his son Manikandan, Raja, Ganesan, Mayilswamy and Rekha — were the Forest Department’s ambassadors in the Edamalakudy tribal settlement belt. The tribal people there live in small villages in dense forest and view outsiders suspiciously. But they have close contacts with the families of estate workers in Pettimudi which had developed over generations. The residents of the workers’ colony in Pettimudi are well versed in the tribal people’s language and they used to provide transport facilities to the colonies. As many as 30 vehicles used for it were destroyed ● More on P5 in the landslide. 6 MORE BODIES RECOVERED, TOLL 49 | P2, 4 Kadakampally Surendran said here on Monday after a highlevel meeting. Covid negative certificate will be mandatory for devotees to undertake the pilgrimage, the minister said after the videoconference. Crowding will be avoided too, he said. Infrastructure of hospitals at Sannidhanam, Pampa and Nilakkal will be improved in the wake of the pandemic, the minister said. KSRTC, the only agency allowed to operate buses between Pampa and Nilakkal, will schedule more services to ensure social distancing norms. During the meeting, the Pathanamthitta collector requested the government to start an emergency operations centre for disaster management and a helicopter service for evacuation. Travancore Devaswom Board president N Vasu said the Board has made various arrangements to receive devotees. He asked the district administration to vacate the Board’s buildings. Covid-19 to change the way you spend The pandemic can alter consumer behaviour permanently and cause structural changes to consumer goods and retail industries, says a new study. Here are the key findings Consumers are focused on their most basic needs while cutting back on non-essential items Pandemic is causing more people to shop for groceries online Source: Accenture Covid-19 Consumer Pulse Research PEOPLE ARE STRIVING TO LIMIT FOOD WASTE, SHOPPING MORE COST-CONSCIOUSLY AND ARE MAKING HEALTHIER AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE CHOICES Pandemic has taken a toll on brand loyalty as consumers now prefer more local products To retain shopper’s trust, brands will need to show proof of good hygiene as well as safety Demand for products through home delivery and virtual consultations is surging, and is likely to endure beyond this crisis EXPRESS READ Probe finds no rubber deposits on runway T’Puram: Three days after an Air India Express jet overshot the runway and crashed in Kozhikode, an inspection team could not find any rubber deposits on the runway, contradicting claims that excess rubber deposits on the wet runway reduced the traction and caused the accident | P4 3 nabbed over fire at Andhra Covid hosp Vijayawada: A day after a fire at Swarna Palace hotel claimed the lives of 10 Covid-19 patients, the Vijayawada police on Monday arrested three management officials of Ramesh Hospitals, which was using the hotel as a Covid Care Centre, over safety lapses. P5 Lebanese govt resigns over blast Beirut: Lebanon’s Cabinet has resigned over last week’s blast in Beirut, the country’s health minister Hamad Hassan said. The blast has led to a renewed outrage against the government. P9 16 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF KOCHI EXPRESS In new Raj twist, Pilot back in Cong Rebel leader’s meeting with Rahul, Priyanka sealed deal; no clarity on his new role though RICHA SHARMA & RAJESH A S N A N I @ New Delhi / Jaipur ENDING a month-long political impasse in Rajasthan, rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Monday met party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The leadership agreed to constitute a threemember committee to look into Pilot’s concerns against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The move comes four days before the Rajasthan assembly session, where Gehlot was expected to take the floor test to prove his majority . However, there is no clarity if Pilot will be reinstated as deputy chief minister and Rajasthan Congress chief, but party sources said his demand for being made the CM in place of Gehlot is unlikely to be met. Sources said he may be accommodated in the central party for the time being before the matter is resolved. “Sachin Pilot met with former Congress president Rahul Gan- dhi and expressed his grievances in detail. They have had a frank, open and conclusive discussion. Pilot has committed to working in the interest of the party and the Congress government in Rajasthan,” said a statement by Congress organisational secretary K C Venugopal. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was briefed about the developments. She subsequently spoke to Gehlot and informed him about the party’s decision. The committee consisting of Priyanka, Venugopal and senior party leader Ahmed Patel met Pilot and the MLAs supporting him to listen to their grievances. During the talks between Gandhi siblings and Pilot, he was assured all issues would be looked at and no action taken against rebel MLAs. This was the first meeting between them since the crisis started. In Jaipur, Bhanwarlal Sharma, an MLA from Pilot camp, said the Congress government will complete its five-year term.
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