MADURAI MONDAY AUGUST 24, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 28 LATE 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. EXPRESS READ 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 WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) 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 TN to set up clinics to treat people suffering ‘aftershocks’ of Covid 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.” O MJASVI N M D @ Chennai SERIOUS AFTER EFFECTS Doctors say they have been observing serious lung damage and vascular problems among several discharged patients FRESH CASES 5,975 DEATHS 97 ALMOST eight months after the coronavirus started its fatal globe-trot, health experts are still grappling to come into terms with all the complications associated with the novel infection. It has come to light that besides forcing the immune system to go haywire, the virus leaves long-lasting imprints on patients even after they are discharged with Covid-negative tag. These post-discharge effects range from minor issues such as brain fog and giddiness to serious problems like lung fibrosis and vascular disorders. Taking note of the aftershocks of Covid-19, experts are pitching for follow-up clinics to treat people with post-recovery issues. Treading a similar path, the Tamil Nadu Health Department recently inaugurated Covid follow-up clinics in Chennai and Madurai. Officials in the department say the government medical colleges in each district will soon have such clinics. Meanwhile, officials with the Chennai Corporation say they stay in touch with patients up to 14 days after discharge. However, the discharged patients Express spoke to say they have P2 not received any follow-up calls. POOR INTERNET GIVES TRIBAL KIDS AN UPHILL TASK K E Z H I L A R A S A N @ Tiruchy STAYING connected with the classroom has literally become an uphill task for tribal children in the foothills of Pachamalai in Tiruchy Ever since social distancing and . online classes became the norm, education has turned a distant pursuit for them. As the morning sun awakes the verdant hilltop, children from at least five tribal villages — Manalodai, Thonur, Chinna Iluppur, Thalur and Melur — walk uphill to a spot where they can catch mobile phone signal so that online lessons can be promptly downloaded to their smart phones. S Deepika, a Class 12 Biology-group student of the Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School at Manachanallur, explains her ordeal: “From August first week, our teachers began taking classes online. They send recorded videos to a WhatsApp group of students. We have to download those videos to listen to the lessons. But we do not have the internet connectivity in our village. Only when we come to this spot, we get notifications. However, signal is very weak here and we have to wait for a long time to download the videos.” The spot Deepika says looks like a cave and the students sit there waiting for the invisible signals to wake up their phones. Students from the tribal villages here are studying in schools situated at least 25km away Most of them had been . P4 staying in hostels before the pandemic outbreak.
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