TIRUNELVELI l sunday l November 01, 2020 l `8.00 l PAGES 24 l CITY EDITION top u.s. firms bACK ACTION AGAINST TRUMP’S h-1b RULES Forty-six firms including Facebook and Google have filed an amicus brief backing a legal challenge to the new H-1B rules The bone of contention ‘new rules may stunt u.s. Recovery’ It comes days after US President Donald Trump’s administration proposed to scrap the computerised lottery system to grant H-1B work visas and replace it with a wage-level-based selection process. The US government said the new selection process will incentivise employers to offer higher wages or petition for positions requiring higher-skilled workers ■ ■ The amicus curie states the new process’ thrust on higher wages will make it harder for US firms to hire skilled foreign workers It may “stunt the US economy’s recovery from the pandemic, and lead to greater reliance by US firms on operations abroad,” the document, also signed by Twitter, Apple and Microsoft, warned 5.83 lakh People are currently working in the U.S. on H1-B visas, says the report 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 fatal twist Bank officer keeps his promise to god, ends life Schools in TN set to reopen after Deepavali Covid battle fresh cases Deaths TOLL 2,511 31 11,122 7,24,522 Chief Minister announces new relaxations A bdul R abi @ Nagercoil His prayers were finally answered when he got a government job, and the 32-yearold Navin, a newly-recruited assistant manager of a bank in Mumbai, stuck to his promise. Expressing his gratitude to god for fulfilling his dream, he ended his life by jumping in front of a train! A suicide note recovered from Navin’s shirt said that he had been trying hard fo r a g ove r n m e n t j o b for years in vain, and that he took the extreme step to ‘kee p his promise to god’. When railway police contacted his family members in Erumbukadu near Nagercoil, it was hard for them to digest the news. They reportedly told the officials that Navin was in Mumbai and had called them over telephone even on Friday morning. A railway police officer said that the man, who was a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) graduate, joined the bank in its Mumbai branch some 15 days ago. “Navin reached Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala by flight on Friday and from there he travelled to Nagercoil by road,” he said. A source said that the man, who was very religious, belongs to an affluent f amily and had a brother. Nagercoil railway police registered a case under Section 174 CrPC (suicide). Started job at the bank 15 days ago When railway police contacted his family members in Erumbukadu near Nagercoil, it was hard for them to digest the news. They reportedly told the officials that Navin was in Mumbai and had called them over telephone even on Friday morning. A railway police officer said that the man, who was a BE graduate, joined the bank in its Mumbai branch some 15 days ago. WITH THIS ISSUE The WiFi Fit List PLUS 12 PAGES total cases November 2 Wholesale fruit market in Koyambedu will start functioning while retail sales of fruits and vegetables will start in three phases from November 16 Entertainment/ amusement parks, large auditoriums, seminar halls, zoos, and museums can be opened to public, adhering to SOPs from November 10 November 16 Schools, colleges, research institutions and educational institutions can function. But, only Classes 9 to 12 will function at the schools. Maximum 100 persons can take part in wedding functions and funeral processions S u b u r b a n t r a i n Earlier, gyms were allowed to permit people till the age of 50. From November 1, persons up to the age of 60 will be allowed s e r v i c e s November 10 Cinema halls in multiplexes can function from with 50 per cent occupancy 50% Shooting for films and small screen can go on with 150 persons at a time. Spectators will not be allowed Religious gatherings, social, political, entertainment, cultural and educational functions and meetings related to these events can take place from November 16 with no more than 100 participants t o r e s u m e Could Onion tears have been avoided? spent till January this year. Having a robust cold storage chain is Heavy and unseasonal rainfall in key critical for onions, the most marketonion-producing states have resulted in sensitive agri-commodity known for its the staple’s prices going north, but if huge price volatility This was stressed . two major central schemes were on in a Reserve Bank of India report in track and not progressed at snail’s 2018 titled ‘A report on the study of onpace, then the country would have pos- ion value chain.’ sibly weathered the current crisis. “The lack of storage facility is one of Gover nment data the prime reasons behave revealed that in hind high volatility in the past five years, only onion prices. Addition34% of the sanctioned al storage facilities may cold chain projects were be planned to store rabi completed while nearly onion (storage facilities 2 4 % p ro j e c t s we re to store at least 25% of cancelled. rabi onion production According to the Minneed to be ensured in Onion price istry of Food Processall major onion growvolatility ing Industry’s submising taluks),” the report (Retail price in `/kg in Delhi) sion to a Parliamentary said. 22.8 January 64.33 Standing Committee on Why a good network 20.25 demand for grants in of cold storage faciliFebruary 40.54 2020-21, of the 253 inteties is crucial is because 20.53 March 36.97 grated cold storages of the nearly six-month 20.87 sanctioned in 2015-16, gap between the rabi April 34.03 only 87 were completed and kharif produce. 21 May 26.23 while 60 were cancelled. O n i o n t y p i c a l ly i s 2019 24.2 The remaining 106 cold grown three times a June 23.77 2020 year. The early kharif storage projects are in 27 July 22.52 progress. sowing starts in July 33.3 But even these and is harvested in OcAugust 22.4 projects are facing detober. The late kharif 47.97 37.5 lays. “Projects are de- September season is September53.53 layed due to delay in November while rabi October 49.63 obtaining statutory apsowing starts in Noprovals like CLU vember and is harvest(change of land use), November 2019 ed in January-April. December 2019 CTE (consent to estabGiven the 5-6 months Source: Ministry of Consumer Affairs lish), building plan, gap between rabi and power connection, FSearly kharif, there has SAI licence, final sanction of term to be enough onion stored to keep the loan,” the ministry said. supply chain running from April to OcBesides the delay in the cold storage tober. But this year, there was less sumprojects, Operation Greens, a scheme mer stock while the new onion supply for integrated development of tomato, was hit because of heavy rainfall in onion and potato, has made a fitful Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra start. A budgetary allocation of `500 Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh crore was announced in the 2018-19 and Gujarat, the major onion-producBudget, but only `5.77 crore has been ing states. Continued on: P7 K U M A R V I K R A M @ New Delhi 68.87 98.74 Diamonds are forever Bond who embodied the suave superspy E x p re s s n e w s s ervi c e Legendary actor, Sir Sean Connery, known widely for playing James Bond, has died at the age of 90, after a prolonged battle with illness. The actor’s tryst with playing Bond began with Dr No (1962), when he was . 32, and lasted for as many as seven Bond films. Legend has it that Bond author Ian Fleming, who was initially sceptical of Connery playing the part, was so impressed by the Scottish ac- tor’s portrayal that he gave the Bond character Scottish ancestry in his later books. A poll by a British weekly magazine this year, on the occasion of Connery’s 90th birthday, declared him as the best James Bond ever. The actor’s robust physique landed him the role of a battered prizefighter in the 1956 BBC production, Requiem for a Heavyweight. His first film to get a theatrical release was No Road Back, a 1956 crime movie. A noteworthy per- for mance in the 1961 Television movie, Anna Karenina, brought him the attention needed to win a newspaper poll. He wasn’t just Bond, of course, having Sean gone on to feature in Connery many acclaimed films including The 1930-2020 Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Murder on the Orient Express, The Wind and the Lion, The Man Who Wo u l d B e K i n g , a n d The Rock. Chennai reported 690 fresh cases and 12 deaths on Saturday Opening of public transport and cinema halls ahead of the festival season may boost local trade; operating procedures to come soon S U SH M I T H A R A M A K R I SHN A N @ Chennai AFTER a long wait, the State government on Saturday announced that students studying in schools — from class 9 upwards — colleges, and research institutions can return to regular classes from November 16, while adhering to Standard Operating Procedures. Similarly, cinema halls that have been shut for more than seven months now have been allowed to resume shows with just 50 per cent capacity . The announcements were made by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, while extending the lockdown further till November 30. While the reopening of schools has evoked mixed reactions, announcements on cinema theatres, mar- Senior IAS officer Sagayam seeks VRS kets, and public transport, have come as a blessing for traders ahead of the Deepavali festival season. The measures are expected to revive demand in local trade sectors. Classes in batches? Departments concerned are likely to issue detailed SOPs to be adopted by institutions and establishments, in the next few days. In an advisory issued in September, the government had said that students can attend the regular classes on a voluntary basis, after getting a letter of consent from their parents. The advisory had also proposed holding classes in batches that come to schools only on alternate days. Saturday’s announcement evoked mixed responses. “We T M U R U G A N A N D H A M @ Chennai SENIOR IAS officer U Sagayam — who received widespread acclaim for cracking down on corruption and illegal mining in the State — has sought voluntary retirement from service. Since 2014, Sa- gayam, who once served as the Collector of Namakkal and Madurai districts, has been working as the vicechairman of Science City in Chennai. A source told Express that he applied for VRS on October 2. Now, he has sent anoth- are willing to comply with any guideline laid out by the government, as long as students can attend classes,” said KR Nandhakumar, who heads an association for private schools in the State. “Schools already had to do away with quarterly exams. If students do not take up the half-yearly exams, they will not be equipped for the final test.” A section of students and teachers are concerned about returning to colleges and university campuses that served as quarantine centres in the recent past. “Students will be at great risk. Officials need to ensure that these campuses are well sanitised before the commencement of regular classes,” said PK Ilamaran, who heads the State government teachers association. er letter to the government asking to be relieved by December 30 or earlier. The source denied rumours that Sagayam was quitting from service to take a political plunge. “He might engage himself in intensively serving people after retirement.”
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