The New Indian Express Wishes its readers on the occasion of VINESH PHOGAT RANI RAMPAL VINAYAKA CHATURTHI The offices and press of TNIE will remain closed today and there will be no issue dated August 23, 2020 HYDERABAD SATURDAY AUGUST 22, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION FIVE KHEL RATNAS, 27 ARJUNAS: MINISTRY APPROVES JUMBO LIST The sports ministry rubberstamps national awards for 32 Indian athletes. Sakshi and Mirabai omitted from Arjuna UNPRECEDENTED, BUT WITH A TWIST Deviating from its earlier norms, the ministry has given away five Khel Ratnas, 27 Arjuna awards, 13 Dronacharya awards and 15 Dhyan Chand awards. This is the first time that so many awardees have been identified, especially in a non-Olympic year. Omission of the likes of swimmer Sajan Prakash, athlete Arpinder Singh and coach PT Usha raises eyebrows. T MARIYAPPAN MANIKA BATRA ROHIT SHARMA 74 VIRTUAL DELIVERY OF AWARDS The five Khel Ratnas are Rohit Sharma, Manika Batra, T Mariyappan, Rani Rampal and Vinesh Phogat ■ The awards this year will be given away in a virtual ceremony on August 29. Athletes will attend from nearest SAI centres ■ Blazers and awards to be couriered to the athletes before hand ■ TOTAL NO OF AWARD RECIPIENTS 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 All nine died while fighting the fire as it spread like a conflagration in the interior of the entire plant, three others who were injured in the mishap are undergoing treatment at the Genco hospital 9IN SRISAILAM KILLED P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi AFTER banning Chinese apps and tweaking FDI rules to keep out Chinese investments in India, the Centre is now planning to tighten visa rules for Chinese businessmen, students and workers. According to sources, from now on, Chinese nationals will be issued visa only after a security clearance is obtained. The decision follows the Union education ministry’s review of ties between Indian and Chinese universities, especially the local chapters of Confucius Institutes. The agreements between Indian and Chinese institutes are likely to be cut down to size. “Over 50 MoUs signed between Chinese universities and prestigious Indian institutes like IITs, JNU, BHU and others are under the government scanner,” sources said. India has been stepping up the heat on China since the June 15 violent face-off be- POWER PLANT FIRE Short circuit caused fire The preliminary assessment by the officials of TS Genco found that a short circuit caused the fire. “We feel that a short circuit triggered the fire. But, we are yet to ascertain the reason behind the short circuit,” a top official said | P2 Plant turns into inferno The search for the victims and bringing out the bodies turned out to be a tough task for the rescue teams as the power station turned into an underground inferno, billowing thick and toxic smoke | P2 When the fire broke out at 10.30 pm on Thursday, 17 employees were working in the power station. Eight of them came out safe but nine were trapped inside as they were trying to put out the fire Official source V V B A L A K R I S H N A @ Hyderabad NINE employees, seven of TS Genco and two of a private battery company, were charred to death in a major fire that broke out in the underground hydro-electric power station on the left bank of the Krishna river at Srisailam reservoir late on Thursday night. Three other Genco employees who were injured in the mishap are undergoing treatment at the Genco hospital located near the plant. All the nine employees died while fighting the fire as it spread like a conflagration in the interior of the entire plant. They were identified as Divisional Engineer (DE) Srinivas Goud, assistant engineers (AEs) Venkat Rao, Mohan Kumar, Fatima and Sundar, plant attendant Rambabu, junior attendant Kiran and employees of Amara Raja Batteries Limited (ARBL) Vinesh Kumar and Mahesh Kumar. The State government ordered a CID inquiry into the incident by Additional IG Govind Singh. Mourning the deaths, President Ramnath Kovind said he was pained by the loss of lives. “In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet said: “Fire at the Srisailam hydroelectric plant is deeply unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recover at the earliest.” According to official sources, the cause of the fire was a short circuit in an auxiliary voltage transformer of the fourth unit of the power station. “It appears the fire had started in one of the panels, near the units 4, 5 and 6,” one officer said. “When the fire broke out at 10.30 pm on Thursday 17 employees were working in the power sta, tion. Eight of them came out safe but nine were trapped inside as they were trying to put out the fire,” another source said. “A few employees, using fire extinguishers tried to put out the fire but it was too powerful to be tamed. It was rising and spreading fast with a deafening noise. The employees sacrificed their lives to save their beloved plant,” a senior official said, adding: “We have information that the employees, who were in the plant, tried hard to save the plant till the last CONTINUED ON P2 moment.” KCR orders CID probe, announces ex gratia to kin of deceased The State government ordered a CID probe into the fire accident. “The reasons for the fire accident should be brought to light,” Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said, while mourning the death of the employees. He also announced `50 lakh ex gratia to the kin of Divisional Engineer Srinivasa Goud and `25 lakh to kin of others who perished in the fire. He also offered a job to one member of the family of each of the Genco employee who died in the fire. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Workers try to put out the fire that broke out in the hydro-electric power plant in Srisailam Won battle against Covid-19 only to perish in inferno E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad SUNDER Naik won the battle against Covid-19 and triumphantly resumed duties to serve as an Assistant Engineer with the Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Ltd (TS Genco) at its hydel power station in Srisailam but fate had something unfortunate in store for him. Naik was infected with Covid-19 and underwent home isolation for around a month. Just within a day of resuming the duties, he got entrapped in the power station as a massive fire engulfed it on Thursday and he could not escape in time. The 32-year-old son of an Assistant Auditor in the District Coo p e r a t ive S o c i e t y i n Suryapet joined TS Genco around five years ago. DESPITE mounting pressure from students and parents to postpone the JEE (Main) and NEET entrance exams due to Covid-19, the Centre on Friday reiterated that the exams will be held as scheduled in September. Government sources said in a statement that more than 75 % of the students registered for JEE (Main) have already downloaded their admit cards, and this is an indication that a majority wants the exams to be held as per the plan. The National Testing Agency (NTA) which conducts both JEE (Main) and NEET said that of the 8.58 lakh candidates registered for JEE (Main), 6.49 lakh have downloaded their admit cards. The admit cards for NEET, which is planned for September BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday urged the Prime Minister to put off holding JEE and NEET exams until after Diwali. Swamy said that required infrastructure is not yet in place to hold these exams 13, is expected to be out in the coming days. The statement comes days after the Supreme Court on Monday junked a petition to have these tests postponed in view of the pandemic. JEE (Main) will be held between September 1 and 6, while NEET is scheduled for September 13. Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry in a circular issued on Naik is survived by his wife and two daughters. The fire accident snuffed out the life of three other young Assistant Engineers who had joined the services just a couple of years back. One of them was Venkat Rao of Palvancha of Kothagudem district. He called his family members to bid adieu when he got trapped in the fire at the power station and told them that he is surrounded by flames and asked them to take good care of his children. One of the other Assistant Engineers is a young girl from Malakpet in Hyderabad, Uzma Fatima. When Express contacted her aggrieved family, they said that they received the body soon after it was brought outside the power station and were on their way back to Hyderabad. EXPRESS READ Centre stays firm, says JEE Main, NEET exams to be held on schedule Do it after Diwali, says Swamy tween Indian and Chinese troops along the LAC. However, some experts feel New Delhi’s aggressive steps to restrict Chinese presence in India could backfire as the number of Indians travelling to China is three times than the Chinese flow to India. “We should also take into consideration any counter measures from China,” said B R Deepak, chairperson of Centre for Chinese and South Asian Studies at JNU. He also feels the measures may turn out to be symbolic as the student and academic exchanges with China are already low. Confucius Institutes These are educational partnerships funded by the Chinese govt to promote Mandarin as a foreign language. Confucius Institutes have tieups with colleges and universities in some 160 countries Rajiv Kumar to replace Ashok Lavasa as EC AS PLANNED E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi India tightens visa rules for Chinese bizmen, workers Friday noted that 99.07% of JEE(Main) aspirants have been allotted their preferred exam centers, and so far, only 120 have requested a change, which is being looked into. Out of the total of 15.97 lakh candidates who have signed up for NEET, 99.87 % have been allotted their preferred center, the government said. The government said, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NTA had provided options to JEE (Main) and NEET aspirants to change their center cities five times. About 64,000 JEE (Main) candidates and 95,000 NEET candidates have availed the same. The government stressed that elaborate arrangements have been made, as per the education ministry guidelines, to ensure the safety of students. EC guidelines: Voters to get gloves at booths New Delhi: Voters will be provided with gloves to press the EVM button and Covid-19 patients in quarantine will be allowed to vote at the last hour of the polling day, according to broad guidelines issued by the Election Commission on Friday for holding elections during the coronavirus pandemic | P7 Ashwani Bhatia appointed MD of SBI New Delhi: The government has appointed Ashwani Bhatia as the next managing director of India’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India (SBI). Bhatia is currently serving as the managing director (MD) and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund, and had been tipped to be a front runner for the post through the selection process | P10 FORMER Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar was on Friday appointed Election Commissioner, the law ministry announced. In a notification, the ministry said that Kumar, a 1984-batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre, will take charge the day Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa leaves his office on August 31. Kumar retired as the finance secretary in February this year. In April, he was appointed as the chairperson of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), the government’s head hunter for public sector undertakings. The outgoing Election Commissioner is joining Asian Development Bank as its vice president. “In pursuance of clause (2) of Article 324 of the Constitution, the President is pleased to appoint Rajiv Kumar as the Election Commissioner with effect from the date he assumes the office of Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner who has resigned with effect from August 31, 2020,” stated the notification issued by the Legislative Department of the Law Ministry . Meanwhile, Water Resources Secretary Upendra Pratap Singh has been given the additional charge of Secretary Department of , Drinking Water and Sanitation with “immediate effect till the appointment of a regular incumbent or until further orders’. 1,967 COVID-19 CASES AND EIGHT DEATHS RECORDED IN TELANGANA PAGE 4 13% TS HEALTH WORKERS CRITICAL WITH COVID PAGE 4
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