VINESH PHOGAT The New Indian Express wishes its readers a happy RANI RAMPAL Vinayaka Chavithi VIJAYAWADA l SATURDAY l AUGUST 22, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l LATE CITY EDITION FIVE KHEL RATNAS, 27 ARJUNAS: MINISTRY APPROVES JUMBO LIST UNPRECEDENTED, BUT WITH A TWIST T MARIYAPPAN 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. The sports ministry rubberstamps national awards for 32 Indian athletes. Sakshi and Mirabai omitted from Arjuna MANIKA BATRA ROHIT SHARMA The offices and press of TNIE will be closed today and there will be no issue dated August 23 2020, Sunday 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 INDIA STEPS UP HEAT ON CHINA Nine charred to death by late-night inferno at T’gana power station Visa curbs for Chinese nationals; Railways scraps tender to keep out CRRC Pioneer Electric 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 away Chinese investments, the Centre is now planning to tighten visa rules for Chinese businessmen, students and workers. From now on, Chinese nationals will be issued visa only after a security clearance is obtained, sources said. In another move targeting China, the Railways on Friday announced the cancellation of the tender for manufacturing 44 semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express trains. “Fresh tender will be floated within a week as per Revised Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) order,” the rail ministry tweeted. EXPRESS READ 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 Kerala moves HC over airport lease to Adani Kochi: Two days after the Centre approved the lease of Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani Group, Kerala government on Friday moved the the High Court seeking to stay the Centre’s order. The state made it clear that leasing out of buildings and structures as well as other premises of the airport was not in public interest | P5 Russia looks to partner with India on vaccine New Delhi: Days after Russia registered the world’s Covid-19 vaccine, the head of Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev said Moscow is looking to partner with Indian companies for its mass production. “Currently we are working with four partners in India,” Dmitriev said. Official sources in New Delhi confirmed the development. | P7 Confucius Institutes These are educational partnerships funded by the Chinese govt to promote Mandarin as a foreign language. Confucius Institutes have tie-ups with colleges and universities in some 160 countries The tender, floated last month, had attracted only a Chinese joint venture, CRRC Pioneer Electric, as the foreign player among six participants. The tender had called firms to bid for the supply of electrical equipment for 44 sets of highspeed Vande Bharat express trains with 16 coaches each. The concerted moves taken by the Centre follow 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 between 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. The latest decisions will only worsen the already frayed ties between New Delhi and Beijing, says Russia-based political analyst Andrew Korybko. STATE TO GET 149 MORE COVID HOSPS; FACILITIES TO BE RATED EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada THE state government has decided to increase the number of Covid hospitals from 138 to 287 to deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases. A decision to this effect was taken during a high-level review meeting chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday . Taking stock of the Covid-19 situation in the state, he directed officials to appoint doctors and specialists for the additional 149 Covid hospitals at the earliest, increase the pay of temporary sanitation staff recruited for Covid hospitals and other coronavirus-related programmes, and resolve lapses at hospitals, if any . Health department officials were asked to rate hospitals based on infrastructure, services provided and overall performance. The Chief Minister said the 287 hospitals must have all required facilities and medical staff. The standards maintained should be regularly monitored, he added. Jagan also stressed that Covid-19 call centres and help desks at hospitals should function efficiently. “Apart from detailed information about treatment and other facilities, Aarogyamitra Help Desks should provide information about the Arogya Aasara scheme and ensure it is implemented effectively Help desks . should ensure patients get fi- 91 9,544 87,803 8,827 55,010 58,612 new deaths new recoveries new cases nancial aid from the time they get discharged till the rest period advised by doctors ends,” he said. Hygiene must be maintained at hospitals and nutritious food should be provided to patients, he added. Besides this, he said people in home quarantine, and those covered under Aarogyasri should be taken care of well. “They should be given medicines and treatment in time, and the system to clarify doubts of patients and their relatives should function effectively Services in hospitals . should be streamlined in the way we ourselves expect when we go to a hospital for treatment,” he told the officials. The referral protocol should be followed and implemented at the village and ward clinic level. A call centre to register complaints about Aarogyasri services should be launched and the toll-free number displayed prominently at all hospitals, he CONTINUED ON P4 added. VIRAL WATCH new samples tested active cases tests per million 0.92% 10.70% positivity rate 72.86% recovery rate mortality rate Ex-finance secy Rajiv Kumar to replace Lavasa as EC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi FORMER finance secretary Rajiv Kumar was on Friday appointed the Election Commissioner. Kumar, a 1984-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, will take charge on August 31 when Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa leaves office, the Union law ministry said. Kumar retired as Union finance secretary in February this year. In April, he was ap- pointed chairperson of the Public Enterprises Selection Board. He has BSc and LLB degrees, apart from a masters in public policy and sustainability . Lavasa is set to join the Manila-headquartered Asian Development Bank as vice-president. He will be replacing veteran banker Diwakar Gupta, whose term at the ADB will end on August 31. Lavasa, who recently re- signed as EC, still had over two years left in his term. He was also next in line of succession to become the Chief Election Commissioner after incumbent Sunil Arora retires in April next year. In another development, Water Resources Secretary Upendra Pratap Singh was on Friday given the additional charge of Secretary, Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation. Ashwani Bhatia appointed MD of SBI New Delhi: The government has appointed Ashwani Bhatia as managing director of State Bank of India. Bhatia is currently serving as MD and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund, and had been tipped to be a front runner for the post through the selection process | P10 V V B A L A K R I S H N A @ Hyderabad Fire personnel try to douse the flames at Srisailam power station on Thursday night. PM Modi, Kovind express grief President Ramnath Govind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the death. “Fire at the Srisailam hydroelectric plant is deeply unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” Modi said KCR orders probe into incident Telangana government on Friday 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 NINE employees—seven of TS Gencoo and two of a private battery company—were charred to death on Thursday night after a fire broke out in the underground hydro-electric power station in Srisailam in Telangana. Three other Genco employees who were injured are undergoing treatment at the Genco hospital located near the plant. According to official sources, the fire broke out at 10.30 pm on Thursday It was . reportedly caused by 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 official said. Seventeen employees were working in the power station at the time of the incident. Eight of them came out safely, but nine stayed inside, trying to put out the blaze. The fire spread quickly, trapping them. When they realised that they could not put out the fire, they tried to run outside, but it was too late. Centre stays firm, says NEET, JEE Main exams will be held as scheduled view of the pandemic. JEE (Main) will be held between September 1 and 6, DESPITE mounting pressure while NEET is scheduled for from students and parents to September 13. postpone the JEE (Main) and Meanwhile, the Union NEET entrance exams due to Home Ministry in a circular Covid-19, the Centre on Fri- issued on Friday noted that day reiterated that the exams 99.07% of JEE(Main) aspirwill be held as scheduled ants have been allotted in September. their preferred exam Government sourccenters, and so far, es said in a statement only 120 have requestthat more than 75 % ed a change, which is of the students regisbeing looked into. tered for JEE (Main) Out of the total of have already down15.97 lakh candiDo it after loaded their admit Diwali, says d a t e s w h o h ave cards, and this is an signed up for NEET, Swamy indication that a ma99.87 % have been alBJP leader jority wants the exlotted their preSubramanian ams to be held as per ferred center, the Swamy on Friday government said. the plan. The National Test- urged the Prime The government Minister to put ing Agency (NTA) said, due to the Covoff holding JEE which conducts both id-19 pandemic, NTA J E E ( M a i n ) a n d and NEET exams had provided opNEET said that of until after Diwali. tions to JEE (Main) the 8.58 lakh candi- Swamy said that and NEET aspirants required dates registered for to change their centinfrastructure is er cities five times. JEE (Main), 6.49 lakh have download- not yet in place About 64,000 JEE to hold these ed their admit cards. (Main) candidates exams The admit cards and 95,000 NEET for NEET, which is c a n d i d a t e s h ave planned for September 13, is availed the same. expected to be out in the comThe government stressed ing days. that elaborate arrangements The statement comes days have been made, as per the after the Supreme Court on education ministry guideMonday junked a petition to lines, to ensure the safety of have these tests postponed in students. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi RESERVOIR FILLING UP Officials lift 18 gates of Nagarjuna Sagar Project Discharge to go on for up to five days The CWC, in an advisory for Prakasam Barrage and Pulichintala Project, said the discharge from Nagarjuna Sagar would continue for three-to-five days, and inflows are likely to rise rapidly EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada Water being released from Nagarjuna Sagar after 12 gates were lifted. Later on Friday six more gates were lifted | EXPRESS HEAVY inflows continued in the Krishna basin on Friday, prompting officials to lift 18 of the 26 gates of the Nagarjuna Sagar Project. With inflows continuing and Nagarjuna Sagar set to reach its full reservoir level, the Central Water Commission (CWC) issued a special advisory for the Puli- chintala Project and Prakasam Barrage, both below Nagarjuna Sagar, to exercise caution and pre-deplete to avoid flooding. In the Godavari basin, water started surging again on Friday, and continued to show a ‘severe flood situation with slow rising trend’. At 9 pm, the third warning was issued, with flood discharge reaching 18,97,702 cusecs at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage in Dowlesawar- am. The CWC’s forecast said the river level is likely to recede within two or three days as the rainfall is likely to reduce. As the Srisailam reservoir on the Krishna continued to receive a heavy flood discharge of 3.93 lakh cusecs (as of 7 pm, Friday), officials lifted 10 crest gates and were letting 3.82 lakh cusecs (at 7 pm) down into Nagarjuna Sagar. Srisailam, at 7 pm, held 211.61 TMCft against its full reservoir capacity of 215.81 TMCft. It has an inflow of 4 lakh cusecs, and the water reached 586 ft, as against its full reservoir level (FRL) of 590 ft, and about 12 TMCft of flood cushion. Nagarjuna Sagar’s gross storage capacity at FRL is 312.05 TMCft. Officials lifted four crest gates in the morning and later operated 12 to regulate the flow. CONTINUED ON P4 “The employees sacrificed their lives to save their beloved plant,” a senior official said. “We have information that the employees, who were in the plant, tried hard to save the plant till the last moment,” he added. The footwears that lay scattered all around the plant shows how hard they tried to save themselves after a valiant effort to save the plant, the officer noted. Bodies were found in all the five floors of the plant. Officials say this suggests that the workers tried to save themselves by trying to reach the top floor, but were probably blinded and choked by the thick smoke. The plant is located 1.2 kilometres beneath the ground and there is only one tunnel to reach it. Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force and the Central Industrial Security Force were pressed into actionearly on Friday morning. However, they found it difficult to go through the tunnel as smoke stood like a wall. Finally, after more than eight hours of efforts, they retrieved the bodies. ‘PUBLIC WARNING’ BJP to even complain to your boss over anti-party posts EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada THE BJP Andhra Pradesh unit has started a “mechanism” to monitor “fake, objectionable and image-tarnishing” news being shared against the party, its members, and the Central government. Besides initiating criminal action against those involved in such activities, the party and its members said they would write to the employers of those who post/ share such news, and seek disciplinary action against them. In a “public warning” on Friday, the state unit said it learnt that a few people with political motivations were propagating fake news, posting objectionable content against the Central government, the party and its leaders on social media. “The BJP cautions those who post and telecast fake news, videos, ima g e-tar nishing contents against the Central government and the BJP state and Central leaders through this warning. The action won’t just be limited to criminal proceedings. If those involved in such news peddling are jobholders, the party and its leaders will write to the employers seeking disciplinary action. If they are abroad, the Indian Embassy of the respective country will be intimated,” the warning said. To identify such social media accounts, YouTube channels, and WhatsApp groups, the BJP has started a monitoring mechanism. “We appeal to the public and to BJP workers to share information to the social media cell on such social media activities and accounts to initiate action,” the warning said.
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