TADEPALLIGUDEM l MONDAY l AUGUST 24, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l CITY EDITION CENTRE ISSUES NORMS FOR FILM SHOOTING AMID COVID Govt on Sunday released standard operating procedures to resume production activities put on ice due to Covid-19 SOME EXEMPTIONS FOR ACTORS The SOP includes steps like social distancing and mandatory use of masks for cast and crew, except for actors in front of camera. Production aspects like scenes, sequences, positions of crew members, meal timings etc must be planned in advance to ensure distancing. Spitting is prohibited and all cast and crew members are required to follow respiratory etiquettes ■ SOP FILM FRATERNITY WELCOMES THE MOVE ■ Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said thousands of people depend on the movie industry for jobs, and as such, the resumption of production activities is crucial Members of film fraternity, including filmmakers Boney Kapoor and Ashoke Pandit, welcomed the government’s decision WAS PREPARED IN CONSULTATION WITH UNION HEALTH AND HOME MINISTRIES 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 Sonia offers to step down; CWC meet today 23 leaders demand an active, publicly visible chief for party; Rahul still unwilling to take over: Sources Demand for a party rehaul at this critical juncture would be detrimental to its interests... Sonia Gandhi should continue to helm the Congress as long as she wants R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi Amarinder Singh, Punjab CM The entire Congress party in Karnataka stands by the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and the Gandhi family D K Shivakumar, president, Karnataka Congress BUZZ ON A K ANTONY There are chances of A K Antony coming at the helm of the party, according to some Congress leaders in Kerala. State Congress leaders feel if Rahul declines to take up the role, then likelihood Antony will emerge as the next president She (Sonia) has always taken challenges head on. But if she has made up her mind, Rahul Gandhi should come ahead and be the party head Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan CM We all Congressmen want to assure you (Rahul Gandhi) that millions of Congress party workers have complete faith in your leadership Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh CM Reports of Sonia Gandhi resigning from the post of Congress interim president are false Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress spokesperson SONIA Gandhi offered to step down as interim Congress chief on Sunday, a day before the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, after 23 leaders shot off a letter seeking a change in leadership. According to sources, Sonia told General Secretary Organisation K C Venugopal to convey this to the party leaders who wrote the letter. As per party rules, the Congress chief has to send resignation to the CWC. Sources said Sonia will do so on Monday at the meeting. Following the dissent letter by a group of senior party leaders, several party men including Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel, as well as several state Congress chiefs rallied behind the Gandhis. They called upon Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins if Sonia wants to step down. However, sources said Rahul Gandhi is unwilling to lead the party. They added added that at the CWC, Sonia will be requested to continue to lead the party while a process is rolled out to look for a new chief and restructure the organisation starting with the CWC. Sources further said the letter was leaked a day before the CWC because many senior leaders feel sidelined as Rahul continues to call the shots in all major party decisions. He, along with sister Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, also attacked party leaders for not supporting the former party chief for taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “They want the matter to be discussed in the CWC and a process for organisation restructuring to be rolled out soon,” said a senior party leader. Sonia, took over as interim chief on August 10, 2019, after Rahul stepped down taking responsibility for the party’s Lok Sabha debacle. “She was reluctant and was convinced to lead the party for the time being while the party would start the process to look for a new party chief but that did not happen,” said a senior party leader. Sacked party leader Sanjay Jha, who had initially raised an alarm about such a letter being sent to Sonia, Sunday said around 300 Congress leaders from all over the country, representing all regions and states are signatories to the letter, over and above the 23 seniors already in the public domain. The issue of leadership vacuum was raised by several party leaders at various foras and even during a parliamentary party meeting with Sonia last month. Leaders who have written to Sonia include senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Shar ma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Mukul Wasnik, Shashi Tharoor, Prithviraj Chavan and P J Kurien. The dissenting group also included former ministers Anand Sharma and former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Most state units want Sonia or Rahul to lead the party EXPRESS NEWS SERVI CE @ Kochi / B’luru / Hyderabad / Vijayawada/ Bhubaneswar/ C’garh CONGRESS units in most states back the Nehra-Gandhi family . Terming the demand for leadership change untenable, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh said the Gandhis were the only universally recognizable face of the Congress. In Karnataka, party state unit president D K Shivakumar and Legislature Party Chief Siddaramaiah lashed out at the 23 senior party colleagues who sought change in leadership. Congressmen in AP requested Rahul Gandhi to take over as party chief once again. “Rahul Gandhi is the only person capable of countering the RSS and BJP forces,” said APCC chief Sake Sailajanath. Many party leaders in Kerala, too, prefer Rahul -- an MP from Wayanad -- as Congress president, though some feel party veteran AK Antony would make it if Sonia resigns and Rahul doesn’t step in. In Odisha, a majority of Congressmen feel the party cannot survive without a Gandhi at the helm. Congressmen in Telangana said they would back Rahul in case Sonia steps down. “Rahul’s has leadership mettle. His record of fighting with Narendra Modi on several issues makes him the automatic choice for the leadership position,” Said Congress Legislature Party leader Bhatti Vikramarka. I-T to clamp down on A-G refuses to approve contempt plea against unexplained income, Swara Bhaskar, petitioner approaches S-G plans higher penalties K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi IF you have done heavy cash withdrawals, large cash transfers or enjoyed luxury holidays after 2016, be ready with proper documentation because the income tax (I-T) department is likely to seek an explanation. Sources say, the I-T department is gearing up to clamp down on tax evaders and is mulling steep penalties for higher-than-disclosed income and unexplained expenditure as well as cash transactions. “While we will protect honest tax payers, starting this year the department will closely monitor any incident of tax evasion in I-T return form with strict penalties,” said a senior official. He explained that if someone has withdrawn or deposited heavy cash, spent large amounts on luxury holidays that don’t match with one’s income, or has spent a lot on credit card, it will be open to close scrutiny. If there is mismatch between the income disclosed and savings or expenditure, it could result in penalties going as high as 83%. If the tax department detects undisclosed saving, cash at home, gold jewellery or other valuable article, the value of such items will be deemed as the income of the taxpayer under Sec 69A of Income Tax Act. New Trump campaign ad features Modi Washington: US President Donald Trump’s campaign team on Saturday released a commercial that included clips from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches. Modi is seen as saying Trump “needs no introduction” and that “his name comes up in almost every conversation” | P9 TikTok’s parent firm to sue Trump admin New York: Chinese firm ByteDance, which owns videosharing platform TikTok is preparing to file a lawsuit on Monday, challenging US President Donald Trump’s executive order giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with it | P9 Centre seeks inputs from teachers on NEP New Delhi: The education ministry has invited suggestions from school teachers and principals on the implementation of the new National Education Policy, saying they are the key to its implementation. The suggestions put forth will be reviewed by an expert panel THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 93 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) AP VIRAL WATCH new deaths 3,53,111 total cases new cases 2,60,087 7,449 total recoveries 32,38,038 new recoveries new samples tested 3,282 total deaths 7,895 46,712 EXPRESS READ WITH THIS ISSUE AFTER Attorney General KK Venugopal dismissed a plea to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against actor Swara Bhaskar for her comments on Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ayodhya dispute, the petitioner on Sunday approached the Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta. In a letter to Mehta, Usha Shetty the petitioner says, she respectful- ly differs with the reasons given by the Attorney General of India Attorney General K K Venugopal in a letter to Shetty noted that Bhaskar’s comment appear to be “a factual one and is a perception of the speaker. The comment refers to the judgment of the Supreme Court, and is not an attack on the institution. This does not offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself or say total samples tested 89,742 60,637 active cases tests per million 10.91% positivity rate 73.66% recovery rate 0.93% mortality rate anything that would scandalise or lower the authority of the Supreme Court.” In February while attend, ing an event in Mumbai, Bhaskar reportedly said, “We are living in a country where the Supreme Court of our country states that the demolition of Babri masjid was unlawfully and in the same judgment rewards the same people who brought it down.” Residents of low-lying areas such as Rani Gari Thota and Taraka Rama Nagar were evacuated from their houses after the release of more floodwater from Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada on Sunday | PRASANT MADUGULA HOMES FLOODED IN V’WADA, GUNTUR; RESIDENTS SHIFTED E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Vijayawada/Guntur HEAVY inflows into the Krishna from upstream displaced several families in Vijayawada and parts of Guntur district on Sunday Hundreds of houses got inundated in both . districts, and the Krishna district administration shifted around 250 people living in low-lying areas downstream of Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada following the release of surplus water into the sea. They were taken to a relief centre set up by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium. In neighbouring Guntur district, 49 families from Ramapuram village in Dachepalli mandal were shifted to relief centres MORE RAINS set up in government schools. EXPECTED IN AP Their houses were inundated by the backwaters of the Pulichin- A low pressure area is tala project. Twenty more fami- likely to develop over lies, of Regulagadda and Vellam- the North Bay of Bengal, palli villages, were shifted to a Met dept officials said. rehabilitation centre where the Light to moderate rains government constructed houses are likely at isolated places in Srikakulam, under the Pulichintala project. In Vijayawada, though several Vizianagaram, Vizag, houses were inundated, only a East Godavari, West few families agreed to move to re- Godavari and Chittoor habilitation centres fearing the districts in next two days spread of coronavirus. Residents of Krishna Lanka expressed their anger over the temporary measures taken up by the government instead of permanent steps to prevent inundation of their residences. Sankavarapu Srinivasa Rao, a resident of Krishna Lanka, said the only time officials visit them is during the floods to shift them to relief centres, but they don’t take any concrete steps to address the long-pending demand for construction of a retaining wall. “We are also worried about our things at home, which we might lose if we are not there,” he said, adding that residents of the area are even willing to stay in the open at places at a higher altitude to keep a watch over their inundated houses. P5 Rare idol stolen on Vinayaka Chavithi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Nellore AN ancient idol of Lord Ganesh was stolen from a sub-shrine in Sri Someswara Swamy temple in Somasila of Ananthasagaram mandal on Vinayaka Chavithi on Saturday . Two unidentified persons took away the idol when the priest was performing puja to Lord Someswara Swamy in the sanctum sanctorum. The rare black stone Ganesh idol weighs over 100 kg and is about two feet tall. The duo, in the guise of devotees, went to the shrine and stole the idol. Locals realised the idol was WEIGHED OVER 100 KG, WAS ABOUT 2 FT TALL The ancient idol of Lord Ganesh was stolen by two people when the priest was performing puja to Lord Someswara Swamy in the sanctum sanctorum. Locals realised it was missing when they went to have darshan. The idol was about two ft tall and weighed over 100 kg missing when they went to the temple to have darshan. They immediately alerted the temple priest and the police. Forensic experts were pressed into service to collect fingerprints and other clues from the spot. Based on a complaint filed by the temple priest, the Somasila police registered a case and launched an investigation. BJP leader Midathala Ramesh demanded that the police speed up the investigation and arrest those who stole the idol. LOCKDOWN IMPACT Unable to sell crop, farmer tries to sell land; still finds no buyers C P V E N U G O PA L @ Anantapur FARMERS are among the worstaffected by the Covid-19-induced lockdown. Staring at huge losses, many of them have left their crop to rot in their fields. One such farmer, V Linga Reddy, from Tadimarri mandal of Anantapur district, incurred losses of `12 lakh as he could not sell the banana, tomato, and onion he cultivated on 12 acres of land. To deal with his debt, he decided to sell his land, but couldn’t find anyone to buy it for even `10 lakh per acre. Linga Reddy owns eight acres of land, and cultivated banana on six acres and tomato on two. Besides this, he took land on lease from his relatives to cultivate cucumber. Amid the lockdown, when transportation was restricted, he had no option but to leave his crop of banana in the fields. “I even asked traders to take the crop for free, but none came forward. I left the crop so at least cattle could eat it,” he told TNIE. A trader agreed to buy the cucumber crop for just `40,000, and paid a paltry sum as an advance. “But after taking the crop, he stopped responding to my calls. He still hasn’t paid me,” Linga Reddy said. But the farmer didn’t lose hope, and continued to cultivate crops — watermelon and onion on ‘EVEN THROWAWAY PRICES NOT HELPING’ “An acre used to fetch at least `17-18 lakh before the lockdown. But now there are no buyers even if I reduce the rate,” Linga Reddy said, and pointed out that he can’t find anyone to buy his land even for `10 lakh per acre. Meanwhile, he continues farming, saying it’s the only thing he knows to invest in three acres each. “It was a bumper crop. Under normal circumstances, I would have got a huge profit. But the lockdown restricted transport, and all my crop was either left in the field or didn’t even fetch me the money I invested,” he rued. Aims to clear debt of `20 lakh Linga Reddy had taken loans of `20 lakh and invested it in agriculture. But then his wife met with an accident, and the farmer had to spend `2 lakh on her treatment. To clear his debts, the farmer decided to sell two acres of land. “An acre used to fetch at least `1718 lakh before the lockdown. But now there are no buyers even if I reduce the rate. A couple of weeks ago, a farmer from a neighbouring village came forward to buy the land for `13.5 lakh per acre. But he too backed away. Even If I want to sell it for `10 lakh, there are no buyers,” he said. However, Linga Reddy has not lost hope, and is again relying on farming to rescue him. “I am a farmer. A farmer does not know anything but to invest in agriculture. Only time will tell if I get out of this situation,” he said.
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24-08-2020 of The New Indian Express-Tadepalligudem