TIRUPATI l THURSDAY l AUGUST 27, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l LATE CITY EDITION CHINA SPRUCING UP MILITARY INFRA IN EASTERN SECTOR China has begun construction of huge habitat for large troop formation in the Eastern Sector, sources said on Wednesday Indian Army trucks move towards Ladakh on Wednesday | PTI PLA BUILDING A BRIGADE-SIZE GARRISON The Peoples Liberation Army is building a brigade size garrison at Gyantse in Tibet, which appears to be meant for the ground forces, sources said. Its construction reportedly began after January. Also, satellite images from June and July confirm that China is building and connecting roads to the border areas at multiple points in the Eastern Sector | P7 ■ 2021 STRATEGIC MISSILES ALSO DEPLOYED ■ ■ The new garrison includes six battalion headquarters and more than 600 sheds for vehicles and equipment It will be strategically positioned in Gyantse, which is not far from the Indian border states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim Sources say China has also moved strategic missiles to the area WHEN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GARRISON IS EXPECTED TO BE FINISHED 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 Opposition to move SC to postpone JEE, NEET West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suggests joint review petition by all CMs in the Supreme Court EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi AMID rising chorus against holding JEET/NEET in the midst of a pandemic, the Chief Ministers of seven Oppositionruled states met on Wednesday to discuss the prospects of filing a joint petition in the Supreme Court to postpone the exams. The development comes a day after the Centre decided to increase the number of examination centres for JEET and NEET to ensure social distancing. Both the exams are scheduled to be held in early September. During a virtual meeting called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to discuss issues faced by the Opposition-ruled states, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee mooted the idea of filing a joint petition before the apex court seeking a review after it rejected a plea on August 17 to postpone the exams. The SC had said, “Life cannot be stopped and the career of students cannot be put in jeopardy .” “Let us go to the Supreme Court and talk about this matter. This is a mental agony for students and with limited trains and flight operations, I don’t know how they will commute to sit for the exams. The situation is very serious with cases rising, we have to speak up for the children,” said Banerjee. Supporting Mamata’s suggestion, the other CMs present in the meeting said they should approach the court keeping in mind that the JEE (Main) is scheduled to be held from September 1-6 and NEET on September 13. Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren said a delegation should also meet President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. Keeping in mind the urgency of the matter, Punjab Chief Students protest Centre’s move to hold JEE, NEET exams amid Covid | PARVEEN NEGI 6.8L NEET students dowloaded admit cards: Govt New Delhi: About 6.84 lakh NEET candidatesdownloaded their hall tickets withing five hours after its allocation began on Wednesday, the government said. A total of 15.9 lakh students registered for the exam Minister Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted after the meeting: “I have asked Advocate General, Punjab to coordinate with his counterparts in other States and to file a review petition in Supreme Court on NEET/JEE issue. In the midst of the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, it is not safe for lakhs of students to appear for these examinations.” Addressing the Chief Ministers, Sonia said the government is indifferent to the difficulty students will have to endure if they have to write the exams amid Covid-19 induced restrictions. She also accused the government of handling the whole issue in a careless manner. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray cited a US report that said 97,000 children there were infected when schools reopened and expressed concern what will states do if such a situation arises here. He noted that schools could not be even opened in June when the number of cases was relatively less. How can, then, the situation be considered conducive now to hold examinations, he asked. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel and Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy agreed that they are ready to approach the apex court on the matter. “The general consensus is that the government of India should approach the supreme Court on this issue so that this problem can be tackled effectively said Gehlot. ,” However, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal reiterated that both the exams would be held next month as per schedule. Clear up your mess, SC tells Centre Stormy GST Council meet today, states not keen on mkt borrowing EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh – all BJP-ruled Thursday’s GST Council meet- states – too have conveyed their ing is likely to be stormy as displeasure over the Centre’s many states, including BJP- s t a n d o n d e l ay i n g G S T ruled ones, are miffed at non- compensation. payment of GST compensation Another sticky point is that to states. most states are not in favour of While Kerala and West Ben- opting for market borrowing. gal have been very vocal on They say the Centre should the delayed payout, many use the Consolidated Congress-ruled states Fund of India to pay have also accused the states or allow them to Centre of denying their levy some tax. rightful dues. According to the 101st Almost all states are Constitution Amendgoing through a rough ment, states will be patch as revenues have compensated for a peMeet to fallen drastically due to discuss all riod of five years from t h e c o r o n av i r u s the implementation of options pandemic. GST in July 2017. Under Punjab Finance Min- “Revenue fall is this provision, states a known fact. ister Manpreet Singh will have to be compenIn the last Badal said the state has sated till July 2022 for meeting, the received compensation any losses. Centre had only till March 2020 and The compensation shared the the Centre is sitting would meet the shortrevenue over `4,400 crore unfall in revenue to the situation. This states, assuming a 14% paid dues. meeting will Chhattisg arh has growth annually in complained the state discuss all the GST revenues. options,” a has not received a sinHowever, the GST gle penny since April senior official revenue growth was from the 2020 as compensation. less than anticipated. finance Last month, Kerala Even after three years ministry told Chief Minister of GST rollout, mop-up Pinarayi Vijayan had The New Indian has mostly remained Express also flagged the matter under `1 lakh crore per terming the Centre’s month. non-payment of GST compensaVapid GST collections and the tion to states unconstitutional. proportionately lower payout to Recently, Bihar deputy CM states have been a matter of disand state finance minister Su- cord between the Centre and shil Modi said the Centre has a states. Meanwhile, finance moral commitment to paying ministry sources said all soluthe states. tions will be discussed at the P8 According to sources claim meet. A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi ASKING the Centre not to hide behind the RBI, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed it to clarify its stand on waiving interest on loans during the moratorium period. “It is your responsibility to take steps under the Disaster Management Act. You have enough powers to decide the issue of waiver. You cannot just depend on the RBI,” the bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said. The court was hearing a petetion filed by Agra resident Gajendra Sharma. Noting that the economic distress was created by the Centre’s nationwide lockdown, the SC asked the government to decide on the matter within one week. The court’s observation came after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta referred to the RBI’s affidavit, and said the banking institutions are also distressed. “The problem was created by your (Centre) lockdown. This isn’t the time to take care of only the business interests. You must also consider the plight of the people,” the bench noted. Mehta said such observations could have some repercussions for the government, which has been issuing all necessary directions under the Disaster Management Act. “Then you must take a stand. Whether interest should be charged and any interest on interest should be charged during moratorium period,” the bench noted. STATUS QUO SC REFUSES TO STAY HC ORDER ON SHIFTING CAPITAL E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Vijayawada THE Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay the AP High Court order to maintain status quo on shifting government offices from Amaravati till August 27. The High Court on August 4 ordered status quo on shifting the offices, while hearing a bunch of petitions seeking to declare the two Gazette notifications on the AP Decentralisation Act and AP CRDA (Repeal) Act — the two new laws of the State government to form three capitals — unconstitutional. The state government filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court saying the High Court stayed the implementation of the Gazette notifications without valid reasons. When the SLP came up for hearing on Wednesday, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah refused to interfere with the interim order passed by the AP High This has brought the Court. whole thing to a Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, standstill. There are representing the state of Andhra preparations to be Pradesh, informed the court of the dif- done.... It has never ficulty considering the old Act is no happened that the longer in operation and the new Act judiciary has decided where the cannot be implemented because the HC executive will had ordered status quo. Things have function from been brought to a standstill and there are preparations to be made, Dwivedi Rakesh Dwivedi, senior said, and argued that the judiciary has advocate representing never decided where the executive Andhra Pradesh govt would function from. Senior counsel Fali Nariman, arguing on behalf of the farmers of Amaravati, said the High Court was formed in Amaravati as per a Presidential order. As such, the state government cannot decide to set up the judicial capital at Kurnool, he said. Another senior advocate, Ranjit Kumar, also representing the farmers, told the bench the main matter is pending before a full court bench of the AP High Court, which will commence its hearing from Thursday . When the state government pleaded that the apex court direct the High Court to expedite the hearing, the Bench said it cannot fix a deadline for the High Court to complete the hearing. “But we hope it will settle the issue at the earliest,” the bench said. EXPRESS READ Can Messi leave Barca? Phase II human trial of Oxford vaccine begins Barcelona star Lionel Messi has asked club to release him. Here’s a brief look what transpired... Pune: The Phase II clinical trial of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, being made by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, began at a hospital in Pune on Wednesday. Two male volunteers were administered the vaccine at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital. According official sources, in all, 25 candidates will given the vaccine in the next seven days | P8 AP VIRAL WATCH 81 new deaths 92,208 active cases 64,020 tests per mn 10,830 8,473 new cases new recoveries 61,838 new samples tested 11.19% recovery rate positivity rate 74.97% 0.93% mortality rate lMessi has told Barcelona through his lawyers he wants to leave despite a year remaining on his contract. This may lead to legal complications if both sides remain firm. Police fire tear gas shells on protesters outside the Secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday | VINCENT PULICKAL S E C R E TA R I AT F I R E Oppn sees conspiracy, protests across Kerala EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Thiruvananthapuram A day after a mysterious fire broke out at the Secretariat here, several political parties in Kerala took out protest marches across the state on Wednesday, alleging conspiracy behind the incident. The protests turned violent at many places as workers of the main opposition party HIGHWAY HEIST Congress and the BJP clashed with police, who resorted to the use of water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters. While the CPM-led government maintains it was a small fire triggered by a short circuit and all important files are safe, opposition parties allege it was a deliberate attempt to destroy crucial evidence related to the P5 gold smuggling case. lThe club buying Messi has to pay Barcelona €700 million as release fee, but the 33-year-old believes he can leave as a free agent. Few clubs can match his weekly salary of €1 million, but the names of Bayern Munich, Manchester City, PSG are doing the rounds. 2001 Year when Messi joined the club’s junior team 20 Major titles Messi won at Barcelona P11 JOB-EATING VIRUS Gang hijacks lorry, steals phones worth `6 crore Hotel worker driven to debt by lockdown EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chittoor IN a robbery that seemed straight out of a movie, a gang chased, intercepted and hijacked a container lorry, and stole mobile phones worth `6 crore from it in Nagari late on Tuesday The vehicle was trans. porting the phones from Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu to Mumbai. “Unidentified miscreants followed the lorry, intercepted and stopped it 500-900 m after it crossed the Tamil Nadu border checkpost. They threatened and attacked the driver before pushing him out and hijacking the vehicle. The gang later shifted the mobile phones to another vehicle and left the truck near the highway Of the . 16 boxes in the lorry, they took eight, which had about 7,500 mobile phones,” said Circle Inspector Rajasekhar. Based on a complaint from the driver, the Nagari police registered a case under Sections 395, 363, 341, 342 and 323 of the IPC, and launched an investigation. The Circle Inspector examined CCTV footage from the Tiruttani toll gate. The driver told the police six or seven people attacked him, took the truck further, and pulled him out. Residents of a nearby village came to his aid, and he approached the police. A similar crime was committed in Nellore district on February 12, 2019. The police had formed 10 teams to crack the case, and arrested members of the Kanjarbhat gang, including an international smuggler. The accused persons had criminal records in Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal and Telangana. K M A D H U S U D H A K A R @ Kurnool THE lockdown has turned life topsy-turvy for 25-year-old hotel worker Rajasekhar. He used to make a decent living with his earnings from the hotel and by driving an auto at night. But now, he’s in debt, struggling to make ends meet, and his auto has been seized by financiers. Rajasekhar used to earn `400 per day by working at a hotel in Maddur Nagar of Kurnool. After his eight-hour shift there, he would work as an auto driver. He got married in February and life was going well till the lockdown began in March. The hotel was shut and he couldn’t use his auto for two months. For almost four months, he had no income, and his debt mounted as he had to borrow money to feed his family The fi. nanciers confiscated the auto as he could not pay the monthly instalments. Unable to even support his wife, Rajasekhar sent her to her parents, and is trying to live off borrowed money . The hotel was reopened in the first week of August, but all the 20-odd employees were not called back as business was dull and only takeaway services were functional. Rajasekhar was called to work, but the conditions were stringent — `200 for 12 hours of work, and that too only for five days a week. “Since March 25, I borrowed `50,000 from relatives and friends. For more than three months, I could not earn even a single rupee, and now, I can’t clear my debt as my earnings are meagre,” he told TNIE.
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