nagapattinam l monday l October 19, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l city EDITION Community spread of covid in some states, govt admits The Centre for the first time admitted on Sunday that the dreaded community spread has occurred in some states Limited to certain districts: Harsh Vardhan ‘Kerala paying price for negligence’ Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said, “Community transmission is limited to certain districts, occurring in a limited number of states.” In pockets of various states, including West Bengal, community transmission is “expected to occur”, especially in dense areas, the minister said. On virus mutation, Vardhan said it has not been detected in India as yet ■ ■ The minister criticised Kerala for its spike in virus cases, saying the state is paying “the price for gross negligence” during Onam He said Kerala’s experience ought to serve as “a good lesson” for all the state govts, especially in view of the looming festival season. He urged people to follow Covid-19 guidelines religiously 61,871 Fresh coronavirus cases reported in India on Sunday 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 Difficult time for democracy: Cong Sonia assails the Centre, says it is bartering away people’s interests to crony capitalists E x press N e w s S er v i c e & New Delhi Launching a broadside against the Centre, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said it was systematically bartering away the interests of citizens at the altar of profiteering by a handful of crony capitalists, hurting the Constitution and India’s democratic traditions. In her first address to party general secretaries, in-charges as also members and invitees of the reconstituted Congress Working Committee, she urged the cadre to defeat the autocratic designs of the ruling BJP. “Your responsibility is even more onerous as our democracy is passing through its most tumultuous times,” she emphasised. Referring to the party’s cam- WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST paign against the farm reform laws, Sonia said: “The current BJP government has attacked the very foundation of our resilient agrarian economy by bringing in three anti-agriculture black laws. A conspiracy has been hatched to defeat the gains of ‘Green Revolution’.” Claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no strategic thinking on tackling Covid-19, she said the stark truth is that a PM who promised to defeat corona within 21 days, has abdicated responsibility towards the citizens. The government has simultaneously demolished the economy, she alleged. “Today, the young have no jobs. Nearly 14 crore jobs have been lost. SMEs, small shopkeepers and other small enterprises are shutting, yet the government remains a mute spectator.” YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) TN TALLY ON THE FALL? 5,015 4,879 4,666 4,462 4,410 4,389 39K active cases in TN 4,295 3,914 Oct 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Oct 18 TN currently has 39,121 active cases. Among the 56 deaths reported on Sunday, one victim didn’t have comorbid conditions. The positivity rate on the day was 4.4 per cent DAILY COUNT SLIPS below 4K E x press N e w s S er v i c e @ Chennai After a gap of over three months, number of fresh Covid cases in the State fell below 4,000-mark on Sunday . As many as 3,914 cases and 56 deaths were reported on the day taking the tally to 6,87,400 , and the toll to 10,642. The State last recorded fewer than 4,000 daily cases on July 11, when the count was 3,965. Since then, the daily count had been surging above 4,000 and it went on to touch 6,000-mark within a month. Even as the infections in Chennai and its suburbs continue to fall gradually, the western districts are adding a significant number of cases to the daily count. While Chennai added 1,036 cases, its three neighbours — Chengal- pattu (174), Kancheepuram (130) and Tiruvallur (195) — reported only fewer than 200 cases each. Meanwhile, Coimbatore alone saw 319 cases. According to the Directorate of Public Health, the State tested 90,286 samples and 88,643 people on Sunday . Also, 4,929 people were discharged, taking the total number of people discharged to 6,37,637. Passing NEET just another hurdle for this disabled girl N I R U PA S A M PAT H @ Cuddalore On the crowded racetrack of NEET aspirants, 17-year-old P Banupriya trudged alone. While students armed with expensive coaching and smart gadgets sprinted past her, this physically disabled Dalit student from a government school in Cuddalore had to cross several hurdles, one after another, to step past the finishing line. She is among the only three disabled students from government schools in Tamil Nadu to have cleared the highly competitive national- level medical entrance test this time. Banupriya suffered severe disability on her left leg in an accident when she was still a child. “My parents had to struggle a lot to take care of my medical expenses. However, they always motivated me to study says ,” Banupriya, who is a student of the Government Higher Secondary School at Pudunagar in Vadalur. Being inspired is one thing and having the means to aspire is another thing. Sadly for Ban, upriya, they never came handin-hand. P4 bihar elections Few takers for buses & choppers, LED TV screens are the rage R a j esh K umar T hakur @ Patna This election season, Bihar is missing its VIP choppers as well as hordes of buses used for ferrying crowds to political rallies. The traditional ‘business’ of elections has almost come to a halt as state goes to polls amid the pandemic. Yet, guess who is happy? The LED TV and screen shop owners, as virtual rallies have made a smart entry into the scene. In the 2015 Assembly polls, 32 helicopters were booked by political parties, including 16 by the BJP. This time around, only 11 have been hired — six by BJP and the rest by the JD(U) and others. “Party rallies are limited for the three-phase polls. The focus is on virtual rallies through digital platforms,” says a senior BJP leader. Money thus saved is being used for renting big LED screens and other platforms, he adds. A single-engine helicopter is available for hire anywhere between `80,000 and 1.5 lakh per hour depending on its seating capacity. Hiring a twin-engine chopper can cost around `4 lakh. At present, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJP chief J P Nadda are the only ones travelling by helicopters to address rallies. Uday Kumar Singh, president of Bihar Motor Transporters Federation, says virtual rallies have reduced the bus renting business to almost 2% compared with the 2015 and 2019 elections. Compared to around 35,000 big passenger buses hired in 2015 polls and 40,000 in the 2019 elections, this time just100 buses have been booked so far. “This year, hardly any party has approached us for buses,” says Singh. But many electronic shop owners are a happy lot. A trader who doesn’t want to be named says more than 1.5 lakh pieces of LED screens and TV sets of bigger sizes were sold in the last three months while around 50,000 pieces were rented to political parties.
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