HYDERABAD FRIDAY OCTOBER 23, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION WOMEN ARE SYMBOL OF DURGA, MUST BE RESPECTED: PM MODI Invoking Goddess Durga, the prime minister on Thursday reaffirmed his govt’s commitment to women’s empowerment WITH AN EYE ON BENGAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS LOW FOOTFALLS AT PUJA PANDALS Addressing the people of West Bengal at the start of Durga puja, Modi said the Goddess is also worshipped as a daughter in the state, and emphasised that women must be respected. In his address, ahead of next year’s Assembly elections, Modi also highlighted the Centre’s various schemes for the state and the initiatives taken for women empowerment ■ ■ Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Kolkata’s streets were bereft of the crowd of revellers normally seen on Mahasasthi, which marks the beginning of the five-day Durga puja festivities In many big-ticket pandals, only a handful of organisers and locals were allowed due to restrictions imposed by Calcutta HC 78,000 POLLING BOOTHS ACROSS WEST BENGAL TELEVISED THE PM’S ADDRESS 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 Outrage as Bihar BJP plays the free shot for all card to keep mandate NAYANI’S LAST RITES HELD Telangana’s first Home Minister and senior TRS leader Nayani Narasimha Reddy died of post Covid-19 complications at a private hospital in Hyderabad early on Thursday. He was 76 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. His last rites were held at the Jubilee Hills graveyard in the evening with official honours and a three-volley gun salute by police. While TRS working president and IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao helped carry the bier, scores of Nayani’s followers and party workers participated in the cortège. Nayani, a socialist, was an active trade union leader of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and others condoled his death. OBITUARY: P2 Whenever available, the doses would be given to all states at a nominal cost. It’s up to the CMs to decide how it would be administered, as healthcare is a state subject, says BJP NAYANI NARASIMHA REDDY 1944 - 2020 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE announced India’s Covid access strategy. Kindly refer to the state-wise election schedule IN what was read as the politics to know when you will get it, of vaccine, the BJP’s manifesto along with a hoard of false in Bihar promised to provide promises.” free Covid-19 shots to all people RJD’s chief ministerial canin the state if it retains power didate Tejashwi Yadav hit out in the forthcoming Assembly at the BJP for playing politics elections. The party perhaps in the time of pandemic by asksaw as it as a trump card, as the ing the people to vote for the universal free vacvaccine. Access to a cine in the state was vaccine is the funda$7 BILLION the first promise on mental right of every SET ASIDE its poll manifesto reFOR INDIA’S citizen of India and leased by Finance VACCINATION making it a vote issue Minister Nir mala is electoral blackmail, A Bloomberg Sitharaman. he said. Leaders from report quoting “As soon as the vacother non-NDA parcine is available for unnamed sources ties also lashed out at production at a mass said the Centre has the “blatant popalready set aside scale, every person in ulism” and accused about $7 billion for the BJP of exploiting Bihar will get free vaccination. This is Covid vaccination Covid-19 fears for the first promise across the country. electoral mileage. mentioned in our poll Each person needs The BJP defended two injections, manifesto,” she emits announcement with each shot phasised, adding: with party general costing $2. The “Bihar is a politically secretary Bhupender estimated cost per Yadav saying the sensitive state. Here person, including people cannot be promise has been fobbed off with emp- infrastructure and made as part of its storage, is $6-7, the public policy. Its IT ty promises.” report said Amid a barrage of department head criticism, the BJP Amit Malviya said sought to justify the announce- the Centre would provide the ment saying the vaccine would vaccine to all states at a nomibe made available at a nominal nal cost. “It will be up to the cost and it’s up to the state gov- state governments to decide the ernments to decide on provid- distribution of the vaccines.” ing it to the people free of cost Meanwhile, activist Saket since health is a state subject. Gokhale filed a complaint with In a tweet dripping with sar- the Election Commission, saycasm, Congress leader Rahul ing the announcement violated Gandhi said: “Government just the model code of conduct. @ New Delhi/Patna U.S. HOPES FOR UNIVERSAL IMMUNISATION BY JUNE If the claim of US Operation Warp Speed’s chief adviser Dr Moncef Slaoui is anything to go by, most Americans could be immunised for Covid-19 by June next. “It’s not a certainty, but the plan... should make it such that by June, everybody could have been immunised,” he said Cyberattack on Dr Reddy’s, link to Sputnik V vaccine trials suspected EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad AMIT BANDRE POLITICS OF VACCINE Not in sync with govt’s policy of prioritisation S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi THE promise of a free Covid-19 vaccine for every individual in Bihar in the BJP’s poll manifesto is not in line with the Centre’s own stated vaccine policy so far. Top functionaries of the government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had thus far said once the vaccine is available, it will be prioritised and be given to the most vulnerable groups first. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration has already recommended a serosurvey-assisted vaccine policy , which means leaving out those with antibodies. The group has chalked out a plan to make the vaccine available to 30-40 crore people in the first phase, covering healthcare workers, frontline workers, the elderly and those with co-morbidities. Earlier this month, Vardhan had said the Centre plans to receive and utilise 400 to 500 million doses covering approximately 25 crore people by July 2021. Experts meanwhile pointed out that vaccines should not be a poll issue. “I think vaccines should be free for everyone and part of universal health coverage,” said Dr Gagandeep Kang, a senior medical scientist. “For SARS-COV2 vaccines, since supply will be limited, they should be provided to those at highest need of protection using a transparent allocation MORE ON P8 strategy .” HYDERABAD-based pharmaceutical major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories became a target of cyberattack on Thursday As . soon as the attack was detected, the pharmaceutical company isolated all its data centre services. “We are anticipating all services to be up within 24 hours and we do not foresee any major impact on our operations due to this incident,” Mukesh Rathi, CIO of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, said. The cyberattack comes within a week of the announcement that the pharmaceutical firm, DON’T LOWER GUARD AFTER COVID VACCINE: CCMB Says it might take a couple of years for a vaccine candidate to prove its efficacy PAGE 4 Central team assesses damage in rain-ravaged TS V V B A L A K R I S H N A @ Hyderabad THE Telangana government on Thursday informed the fivemember inter-ministerial Central team, which visited floodaffected areas in Hyderabad and parts of Telangana, that the State has suffered a loss of `8,663 crore due to the incessant and torrential rains. In a power-point presentation, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar explained to the team the damage that the rains have wrought on crops and property . The team, led by Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Praveen Vasishta, also attended a photo exhibition based on the extent of the havoc caused by the floods. Officials of the Irrigation, Municipal Administration, Roads & Buildings, Water TODAY’S IPL MATCH MUMBAI VS CHENNAI The Super Kings are facing an early exit for the first time in IPL history. They need to win their remaining four matches to give themselves a mathematical chance of qualifying for play-offs. In a must-win match, they face defending champs Mumbai Indians, who are currently third in the table with 12 points. ODDS : MUMBAI 5/8 | CHENNAI 11/8 L I V E : S TA R S P O R T S 1/ H O T S TA R @ 7. 30 PM Board, Agriculture, Energy and Panchayat Raj departments, along with those of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), interacted with the Central team and presented an overview of the loss incurred in the State. They informed it that there was excess rainfall in the last 10 days, which resulted in flooding. Though it rained in the entire State, excessive damage has been caused in and around Hyderabad and its neighbouring districts. Breaches to three major tanks and the floods in the Musi river had inundated low-lying areas, the officials informed the team. Damage to public infrastructure has been enormous and the State government already conducted a preliminary assessment of it. CONTINUED ON P4 The five-member Central team takes stock of the crop loss at Thimmapur village in Siddipet district on Thursday WOMAN JUMPS TO DEATH AS COVID+ SPOUSE DIES EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad IN a shocking incident, a 55year-old woman jumped to her death, after her Covidpositive husband died at their Sainikpuri home on Thursday . The man had been infected by Covid-19 and was under home isolation. His wife had been taking care of him. The couple lived in Ambedkar Nagar of Sainikpuri under Neredmet police station limits. The woman, who worked at a supermarket in AS Rao Nagar, had also been in home isolation. On Thursday, the man’s condition worsened and he died at home. Distraught by her husband’s death, she jumped from the second floor of the building where they lived. She suffered multiple injuries and died on the spot, said the Neredmet police. The couple had no children, the neighbours said. in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), received approval from the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) to conduct an adaptive phase-2/3 human clinical trial for the Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 in India. The announcement was made on October 17. Earlier in September, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and the RDIF had entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine and for its distribution in India. As part of the partnership, the RDIF would supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to Dr. Reddy’s upon the regulatory approval in India, they had announced. Meanwhile, earlier this year, there were reports of cyberattacks on US and UK-based pharmaceutical firms too, which are involved in the development of Covid-19 vaccine. Ransomware attacks on health-tech firms involved in Covid-19 clinical trials were also reported. LIFE CUT SHORT 9-year-old kidnapped in Mahabubabad found charred; killer caught on October 18, the police had launched a manhunt for the FOUR days after nine-year- suspects. Superintendent of old Kusuma Deekshith Reddy Police (SP) N Koti Reddy had was kidnapped, his burnt formed several teams, combody was found early on prising Task Force and CCS Thursday morning around personnel. But they could not five km from his house at trace the accused as he had Thallapusalapally Gutta near ensured that none of the 140 Kesamudram. CCTV cameras installed in The police arrested Manda Mahabubabad town capture Sagar around 3 am, him. The police had along with two othalso interrogated 24 ers. Sagar has consuspects but failed fessed to killing the to get any leads. boy by dousing him When the kidnapin petrol and setting per called Deekshim afire. Accordhith’s parents again i n g t o s o u r c e s, at 11 am on WednesDeekshith’s uncle, day, the latter told Manoj Reddy and T , him that they were A n i l w e r e a l s o Deekshith Reddy ready to pay the arrested. ransom. Following Deekshith was the son of instructions, Ranjith took `45 journalist Kusuma Ranjith lakh cash to Moodu Kotla and Reddy and Vasantha — resi- waited for someone to collect dents of Krishna Colony in it. But when no one showed Mahabubabad town. He had up, he returned home with gone missing on the evening the money. Meanwhile, for of October 18 and the same reasons unknown, the acday, Sagar made a call to his cused killed Deekshith. family demanding a ransom The SP said Sagar, a twoof `45 lakh. He had made wheeler mechanic, had kidmade 14 internet phone calls napped the boy late in the to Vasantha, to avoid being evening of October 18 to extraced. Soon after receiving a tort his parents. CONTINUED ON P2 complaint from the parents U M A H E S H @ Mahabubabad US weighs crackdown on B-1 visas for H-1B jobs EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE US State Department on Thursday proposed to halt the issuing of temporary business visas (B-1) for H-1B specialty occupation. If implemented, the proposed plan could affect thousands of Indian IT workers and their employers. The temporary B-1 visa allowed IT companies to send professionals to the US for a short stay to complete on-site work. “The proposal, if finalised, will eliminate any mis- conception that the B-1 in lieu of H policy provides an alternative avenue for foreign professionals to enter the US for skilled labour,” the State Department said in a statement. It noted that issuing of temporary business visas “potentially encourages the workers and their employers, to circumvent the restrictions and requirements relating to the H non-immigrant classification, established by the US Congress to protect VISA American workers.” “The transparency would reduce the impact on the US workforce of aliens India restores all existing visas The Centre decided to restore all existing Indian visas suspended due to the pandemic. The Home Ministry announced it’s giving permission to all Overseas Citizen of India and PIO card holders to visit India for any purpose except on a tourist, electronic and medical visa | P7 performing activities in a specialty occupation without the procedural protections attendant to the H-1B classification,” the State Department added. Last December, California attorney general announced a settlement with Infosys in a lawsuit that involved allegations of 500 of its employees working in the US on B-1 visa rather than the H1-B. The proposal comes two weeks ahead of the Presidential election with President Trump eager to present himself as the protector of American jobs.
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