MADURAI SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 20, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 26 LATE CITY EDITION 66% OF FOOD GRAINS MEANT FOR MIGRANTS NEVER DISTRIBUTED 2.67 LAKH MT OF FOOD GRAINS GIVEN AWAY In May, the Centre had allocated eight lakh tonnes of food grains under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package for migrant workers stranded due to the lockdown. However, till August 31, only about 2.67 lakh metric tonnes of grains were distributed. In the meantime, there were many reports of stranded migrant workers dying of starvation | P7 The Centre says only 34% of food grains allocated to stranded migrants could be distributed till August 31 ■ 5 kg STATES IDENTIFIED 2.8 CR BENEFICIARIES ■ ■ In the absence of data on stranded migrants, the govt put the number of estimated beneficiaries at 8 cr (10% of 80 cr migrants) Later, the state governments put the number of stranded migrants who could benefit from the scheme at 2.8 crore Until August 31, grains were distributed to about 2.67 lakh people OF FOOD GRAINS PER MIGRANT PER MONTH UNDER THE PACKAGE 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 Hire-and-fire norms for cos with less than 300 workers E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi Members of various farmers’ organisations stage a protest against the Central government over agriculture-related ordinances, in Patiala on Saturday | PTI Protests mount as RS to take up farm bills today BJP reaches out to regional parties, Cong wants select committee to peruse bills E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi THE Rajya Sabha is set to witness noisy scenes on Sunday as three contentious farm bills will come up for discussion and voting. While the Centre is reaching out to regional parties to muster support, the Opposition wants the bills referred to a select committee for further deliberation. The farm bills in question are Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. While the Centre hopes the bills will sail through, it is going to be a numbers game as some regional parties have not indicated which way they will vote. Plus, around two dozen Rajya Sabha members are absent on health grounds, which will bring down the strength of the House. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a whip to its MPs to be present on Sunday In . the House of 245 with two vacancies, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 111 while the Opposition has around 100. The Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress, and the AIADMK have previously supported the Centre and are expected to extend support this time too but NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal has announced it will vote against the bills. Considering the far-reaching impact of the proposed laws on the farming community, the Opposition wants the bills to be discussed threadbare and states’ inputs also be taken into account, as agriculture is a state subject. Congress leader K C Venugopal has submitted a notice to the Rajya Sabha secretariat to refer the bill to the select committee. A few other MPs have also given similar notices. The Congress has appealed to other opposition parties to vote against the bill. The party has also called a meeting of its all general secretaries, state incharges and the six-member advisory committee to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to NUMBERS GAME A look at which way various parties are expected to vote 245 2 Total strength of RS Vacancies POLITICAL PARTIES OPPOSING THE BILLS Congress 40 Trinamool Congress 9 Telangana Rashtra Samithi 7 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 7 Shiv Sena 3 Rashtriya Janata Dal 5 Shiromani Akali Dal 3 Samajwadi Party 8 Aam Aadmi Party 3 Bahujan Samaj Party 4 Left parties 6 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1 Nationalist Congress Party 4 Total 100 PARTIES IN SUPPORT Bharatiya Janata Party 86 Biju Janata Dal 9 Yuvajana Sramika Rythu 6 Congress Party Telugu Desam Party 1 All India Anna Dravida 9 Munnetra Kazhagam Total 111 Status of some smaller parties having a dozen MPs not known 14 On leave due to ill health 8 Rajya Sabha MPs tested positive discuss the future course of action. Other opposition parties are also shaping strategy to oppose the farm bills. While the Centre has insisted the bills will help small and marginal farmers sell their agriculture produce at competitive price, the Opposition says the move will do away with the minimum support price (MSP) system and benefit only big corporates. Claiming the farm bills undermine the food security system, Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday urged Opposition parties to collectively oppose the bills so that they do not become law in their present form. VIRUS THREAT MAY CUT SHORT MONSOON SESSION New Delhi: As Covid-19 cases among MPs rise, official sources said the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament is likely to be curtailed and may end by the middle of next week. A final decision will soon be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. After some MPs, including Union minister Nitin Gadkari, tested positive for Covid-19 during the session, some opposition parties conveyed that conducting the full 18-day session could be a risky affair. The government is seriously considering their suggestion, sources said THE Centre on Saturday introduced three legislative proposals of the labour ministry in the Lok Sabha, allowing companies with up to 300 workers to adopt the controversial hire-and-fire policy. Earlier, only companies with less than 100 employees were allowed to do retrench workers without gover nment permission. The proposed changes are aimed at giving flexibility to state governments to frame industry-friendly labour laws. The three legislative proposals are the Occupational Safety Health and Working Condi, tions Code, 2020; the Code of Social Security, 2020; and, the Industrial Relations Code. The Code on Wages Bill was passed last year. Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar withdrew similar bills which were introduced last year, which were referred to the Parliamentary standing committee. The Opposition slammed the gover nment for trying to make radical changes in labour laws without holding consultations with stakeholders. Cong ress MP Manish Tewari said the mandatory pre-legislative consultation hasn’t been held for the three bills. He also stressed that there are definition nightmares in the bills. RSP MP N K Premchandran said the bills are extensive, and the copies of the bills should have been provided to the MPs two days in advance. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the bills fail to address the interests of the interstate workers. He singled out provisions to allow the states and the Centre to lower the threshold for lay off and retrenchments. He also noted that the bills are discriminatory for there’s no mention of , women’s welfare. However, Gangwar said the government has accommodated 74% of the recommendations of the Parliamentary standing committee, adding that 29 labour laws have been simplified into four labour codes. 3 HELD IN KERALA, 6 IN BENGAL Pak-sponsored Al-Qaeda module busted in 2 states E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi/Kolkata/Kochi THE National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday busted a Pakistan-sponsored Al-Qaeda module and arrested nine suspected terrorists from West Bengal and Kerala. A preliminary probe found that the suspects, radicalised by agents based in Pakistan through social media, were preparing to carry out attacks targeting vital installations in multiple locations, including the national capital. Acting on a tip-off from the central intelligence agencies, the NIA carried out simultaneous early-morning raids in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district and Kerala’s Ernaku- TN becomes first to unveil ethical AI policy C S H I VA KU M A R @ Chennai TAMIL Nadu has become the first State to come out with Tamil Nadu Safe and Ethical Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and Cybersecurity policies. They were unveiled by Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami at the valedictory of the 19th edition of Connect 2020. Highlighting that Tamil Nadu continues to be a “destination of choice” for IT and IT-ES sector, Palaniswami said the State will soon be rolling out a Knowledge Proof Identity Based Services Delivery Project, which will revolutionise the way government services are offered. It will be implemented by establishing and leveraging the State Family Data Base and Block-Chain Backbone infrastructure. lam district. Six suspects were nabbed from West Bengal and the other three from Kerala. Those arrested in Kerala had migrated there from Bengal. NIA’s Kochi unit was monitoring them for a week. The six men arrested from Murshidabad district are Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman. The three others rounded up from Kerala are Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen. The men were in the final stages of procuring arms and ammunition to carry out the attacks, an NIA official said. The sleuths recovered sharp weapons, country-made pisP5 tols and explosives. TN COVID BATTLE FRESH CASES DEATHS 5,569 66 5,36,477 5,556 46,453 STATEWIDE TALLY CM Edappadi K Palaniswami distributing appointment orders to junior assistants in School Education Department “This initiative will take government to the citizens, eliminating the need for the citizens to request government to citizen services,” he said. Talking about the three policies, Information Technology secretary Hans Raj Verma said these are foundational policies in leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Block P4 Chain technology . CM LAYS STONE FOR `17-CR CHECK-DAM Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami laid the stone or the construction of a `17.39crore check-dam across the Vaigai , through video conference on Saturday.The dam will ensure a storage of 215.89 MLD of water. It will irrigate over 3,360 acres of agricultural land. 25 SUB-STATIONS INAUGURATED Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami inaugurated 25 TNEB sub-stations at a cost of `353.11 crore — in Erode, Chennai, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Kallakurichi, Krishnagiri, Nagapattinam, Salem, Thanjavur, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, Tiruchy and Vellore. Discharged today Active cases WITH THIS ISSUE INDIA’S MOST POWERFUL STAR PLUS 12 PAGES The judge who let her judgments do the talking JUSTICE RUMA PAL & DHVANI MEHTA IN India, we are not used to public outpourings of grief at the demise of judges. The passing of a judge is marked by respectful tributes, usually from the bar and bench, editorials celebrating the judge’s career, and perhaps a memorial lecture that attempts to preserve their legacy. We might wonder, then, at the overwhelming sadness with which the news of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death at the age of 87 has been met. Justice Ginsburg believed her very life to be a bulwark against the liberty-eroding machine of the Trump administration. Days before her death, she told her granddaughter that it was her fer- vent wish not to be replaced until a new President was installed. In her later years, Justice Ginsburg became something of an international cultural icon — the Internet abounds with RBG memes and Tumblrs, and she has even inspired an action figure (Wrath Hover Ginsbot) on The Cartoon Network. As they describe the phenomenon that is Justice Ginsburg, writers Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, in their book, The Notorious RBG (another affectionate moniker inspired by the late rapper, Notorious B.I.G.), give us an insight into a life that stands out for its decency , integrity, and ultimately, fearlessness. CONTINUED ON: P11 RELIEF, JUMBO SIZE With at least 20 elephants dead this year in Coimbatore forest division alone, this drone picture taken by forest officials in Pethikuttai forest under Sirumalai range on Thursday evening gives a big relief to jumbo lovers | EXPRESS NEW STUDY ‘Ranipet residents’ health at risk due to pollution’ IPL 13 GETS UNDERWAY IN ABU DHABI Mumbai Indians posted 162/9 in 20 overs after Chennai Super Kings won the toss and elected to field first in the opener P13 S US H M I T H A RA M A K R I S H N A N @ Chennai A severe health crisis may hit residents of Ranipet soon, if continued chromium and lead pollution by industries in the region goes unchecked. The ground and surface water used by the residents for drinking, irrigation and domestic purposes have been recently contaminated with these heavy metals, which could cause serious issues, a study has shown. Use of lead and chromium contaminated water leads to both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health problems. Toxicity level of chromium and lead due to oral ingestion and skin absorption would cause hypertension, reproductive dysfunction, cardiovascu- lar effects, lung cancer, cardio pulmonary arrest, damage to liver and kidney in future. Residents have been fighting the effects of chromium contamination in their ground and surface water for decades now. While fingers have been OPEN TO A WIDE RANGE OF ISSUES Toxicity level of chromium and lead can cause hypertension, reproductive dysfunction, cardiovascular effects, lung cancer, cardio pulmonary arrest, damage to liver and kidney in future pointed largely at Tamil Nadu Chromates and Chemicals Limited (TCCL) factory which , was abandoned 25 years ago, a new study by researchers from Anna University has shown that a more recent source of contamination is in place. “New industries continue to pollute the area hiding under the mask of the old contamination. Our study clearly shows that the pollution is recent,” geology professor E Elango, who led the study said. ,
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