SAMBALPUR 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 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 ■ 5.83 lakh ‘new rules may stunt u.s. Recovery’ ■ 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 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 rules tweaked Multi-specialty hospital must before starting med college E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi The government on Saturday announced new regulations to start a medical college, making it mandatory to set up a fully functional 300-bed multi-specialty hospital for at least two years at the time of application for establishing a new medical college. The norm is part of the “Minimum Requirements for Annual MBBS Admissions Regulations, 2020” notified by the newly-established National Medical Commission. The new norm replaces the “Minimum Standard Requirements for Medical Colleges, 1999,” passed by the Medical Council of India. The earlier regulations did not specify the period of functionality for hospitals for starting new medical colleges. As per the new norms, the beds required in various departments of the teaching hospital have also been rationalised to align with the annual student intake, teaching time to be spent in clinical specialties and the minimum clinical material required for undergraduate medical training. The new rules are applicable to all proposed medical colleges and to the established medical colleges proposing to increase their annual MBBS intake from the academic year 2021-22. During the transitory period, the already existing medical colleges will be governed by the relevant regulations prior to the current notification. “The new standards have been defined keeping the functional requirements of the institution,” the union health ministry said. “These allow optimization and flexibility in utilizing available resources and harnessing modern educational technology tools to facilitate the moving towards quality education even when resources are relatively scarce.” Continued on: P7 W I T H T H I S I SSUE The WiFi Fit List PLUS 12 PAGES Decision on school reopening after Diwali Opening of religious places to be decided by local administration, cinema halls to remain closed, limit on marriage gathering relaxed E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar The State government on Saturday indicated that schools may reopen after Diwali with commencement of classes from 9th to 12th standard but left the final decision to the School and Mass Education department. While it had initially announced reopening of schools with above classes from November 16 under the Unlock 6 guidelines, it later stated that the decision would be taken by the School and Mass Education department after November 15 in consultation with relevant stakeholders and issue of necessary standard operating procedure (SOP). Other academic institutions, though, will remain closed till November 30, but conduct of examinations (academic, competitive and entrance tests), evaluation and other administrative activities will be permitted. The State government has also relaxed restrictions on opening of temples and other places of worship. The guidelines allowed the local authorities, the district collectors and municipal commissioners, to permit public worship in religious places/places of worship with appropriate restrictions, based on local assessment of the situation with regard to spread of Covid-19 and in due consultation with relevant stakeholders. However, cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment complexes, theatres, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will continue to remain closed. The guidelines said that the government will take appropriate decision with regard to opening of these establishments on November 16 on further assessment of the situation. Open air theatres and similar Where Nitish failed to bridge gap between promise and delivery M U K E SH R A N J A N @ Muzaffarpur IF an example of the lack of development and infrastructure in Bihar was to be witnessed, all that is required is a visit to Aurai block, hardly 30 km from the Muzaf f ar pur district headquarters. Although Bihar is known for its network of concrete bridges, people living in 70 villages under the Aurai block have to make do with bamboo bridges, called ‘chechri pul’ in local parlance. While these bamboo bridges are the lifeline for the more than 2.5 lakh villagers, for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar they are symbols of his failure to deliver. It is no wonder the lack of development has become an election issue for which Nitish is under attack from his opponents, particularly from Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav. A recent survey by the Delhi-based think-tanks, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Lokniti, had found that development was the top issue this time around. Roads and bridges in the area are washed away every year in the floods. With no government succour, these bridges are built by local musclemen, who invest `75,000-1.25 lakh and make a quick buck by imposing “toll tax.” Those who cross the bridges on foot are charged `5 while motorcyclists have to pay `10. Some of the ‘chechri puls’ are sturdy enough for four-wheel- ers, which are charged `100150. The “toll-tax collectors” have been constructing the ‘chechri puls’ for the last several generations, locals said. According to them, politicians promise to solve their problem every election but they forget as soon as they get over. “There is a total of 52 ‘chechri puls’ in the entire block. Several politicians have come and gone, but none of them has cared to do anything for this region,” said Kaisar Imam, who was going to Muzaffarpur on his motorcycle. “If they could not construct bridges, they could have at least made it toll free,” he added. Sixty-year-old Sohi Sahni said the ‘chechri puls’ have been in existence for as long as he remembers. “These bridges were constructed even before we were born, they connect the region to Muzaffarpur.” Sahni said the bridges are temporary as they get washed away in the very first rainfall of the monsoon season following which the movement of the people gets restricted. continued on: P7 Activities/Services Restrictions Reopening of schools To start with Class 9-12. School and Mass Education dept to decide after Nov 15 Academic institutions Closed till November 30 Religious places / places of worship for public Collectors and municipal commissioners can take decision Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment complexes, theatres, auditoriums, theatres and assembly halls To remain closed. Govt to review situation on Nov 16 Large social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other congregations Prohibited till Nov 30 OPENED Swimming pools owned, recognised by govt permitted to open for training ALLOWED Marriage gatherings with ceiling of 200 persons. Funeral/last rites with ceiling of 50 persons places will be permitted to open subject to compliance of safety protocols such as mandatory wearing of face masks and physical distancing. Besides, swimming pools owned and controlled by government or recognised by the department of Sports and Youth Services for training purposes will also be allowed to open as per the SOP issued by the Ministry of Youth Af f airs and Sports. Government has also revised guidelines related to marriage and social functions. Marriage related gatherings will be allowed with a maximum ceiling of 200 persons. Similarly, gathering for funerals and last rites will have a maximum limit of 50 persons. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity will be allowed subject to these ceilings. However, in open spac- UNLOCK 6 Could Onion tears have been avoided? K U M A R VI K R A M @ New Delhi Integrated cold chain projects Heavy and unseasonal rainfall in key onion-producing states have resulted in the staple’s prices going north, but if two major central schemes were on track and not progressed at snail’s pace, then the country would have possibly weathered the current crisis. Government data have revealed that in the past five years, only 34% of the sanctioned cold chain projects were completed while nearly 24% projects were cancelled. According to the Ministry of Food Processing Industry’s submission to a Parliamentary Standing Committee on demand for grants in 2020-21, of the 253 integrated cold storages sanctioned in 2015-16, only 87 were completed while 60 were cancelled. The remaining 106 cold storage projects are in progress. But even these projects are facing delays. “Projects are delayed due to delay in obtaining statutory approvals like CLU (change of land use), CTE (consent to establish), building plan, power connection, FSSAI licence, final sanction of term loan,” the ministry said. Besides the delay in the cold storage projects, Operation Greens, a scheme for integrated development of tomato, onion and potato, has made a fitful start. A budgetary allocation of `500 crore was announced in the 2018-19 Budget, but only `5.77 crore has been spent till January this year. Year Sanctioned Cancelled Completed Ongoing 2015-16 34 8 24 2 2016-17 113 25 61 27 2017-18 76 25 2 49 2018-19 30 2 0 28 2019-20: Expression of interest was issued on 29.01.2020 for filling up the vacant slots that arose due to withdrawal of projects by promoters or cancellation Onion price volatility (Retail price in `/kg in Delhi) January 22.8 February 20.25 March 20.53 April May June July August September October 68.87 November 2019 64.33 40.54 36.97 20.87 34.03 21 26.23 2019 24.2 23.77 2020 27 22.52 33.3 22.4 47.97 37.5 53.53 49.63 98.74 December 2019 Source: Ministry of Consumer Affairs Having a robust cold storage chain is critical for onions, the most market-sensitive agri-commodity known for its huge price volatility. This was stressed in a Reserve Bank of India report in 2018 titled ‘A report on the study of onion value chain.’ “The lack of storage facility is one of the prime reasons behind high volatility in onion prices. Additional storage facilities may be planned to store rabi onion (storage facilities to store at least 25% of rabi onion production need to be ensured in all major onion growing taluks),” the report said. Why a good network of cold storage facilities is crucial is because of the nearly sixmonth gap between the rabi and kharif produce. Onion typically is grown three times a year. The early kharif sowing starts in July and is harvested in October. The late kharif season is SeptemberNovember while rabi sowing starts in November and is harvested in January-April. Given the 5-6 months gap between rabi and early kharif, there has to be enough onion stored to keep the supply chain running from April to October. But this year, there was less summer stock while the new onion supply was hit because of heavy rainfall in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, the major onion-producing states. Continued on: P7 Diamonds are forever The first and finest James Bond who embodied the suave superspy E x p r e s s ne w s s e r v i 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 actor’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 performance in the 1961 TV movie, Anna Karenina, brought him the attention needed to win a newspa- per poll, in which readers were asked to suggest the ideal actor to play James Bond. After an interview with proSean ducers Albert Broccoli Connery and Harry Saltzman, Connery reportedly 1930-2020 landed the role without even a screen test. It was a controversial choice at the time, but one that subsequent international fame has corroborated. He wasn’t just Bond, of course, having gone on to feature in many acclaimed films including The Hunt for Red Oc- tober, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Murder on the Orient Express, The Wind and the Lion, The Man Who Would Be King, and The Rock. He also delivered notable performances in several underappreciated films, most notably Sidney Lumet’s The Hill and The Offence, both of which showcased a little-known raw and vulnerable side of Connery . The duo collaborated on five films, and it can arguably be said that the director brought out the best in Connery . Connery was honoured with es, keeping the size of the ground/open space in view, appropriate number of persons will be allowed, subject to the ceilings permitted, to ensure maintenance of prescribed physical distancing norms. Wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and provision of thermal scanning, use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory in these functions. However, international air travel of passengers except as permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs will continue to remain closed till November 30. Besides, large social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other congregations will remain prohibited till November 30. Lockdown will be enforced within the containment zones where only essential services will be allowed. his first Oscar for his emotionally overpowering turn as a tough Irish cop in Brian De Palma’s 1987 classic, The Untouchables. He was knighted in 2000 for his services to film and drama, and has won two Bafta awards and three Golden Globes. Connery was married to actress Diane Cilento from 196273. He is survived by his second wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, his son by Cilento, actor Jason Connery; and a grandson from Jason’s marriage to actor Mia Sara TPR down, but concerns over hotspots persist E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar EVEN as the daily test positivity rate (TPR) dropped further on Saturday, Khurda, Cuttack and Sundargarh districts continue to remain areas of concern for the State government. The three districts have reported on an average more than 100 new infections a day in the last fortnight. On Saturday, Khurda reported the maximum 170 cases followed by Cuttack 126 and Sundargarh 112. Despite an overall decline in infection rate, Khurda registered 3,575 new cases between October 15 and 30 at an average of 238 cases a day. While Cuttack recorded 2,097 new infections during the period with an average of 139 cases a day Sun, dargarh reported 1,652 cases with a daily average of 110 cases. The death toll in Khurda, Cuttack and Sundargarh during the period was 25, 16 and 14 respectively . Apart from the three districts, the ups and downs in new cases have been witnessed in Balasore and Jagatsinghpur, which are facing by-elections besides the neighbouring Kendrapara and Continued on: P5 Jajpur. E X PRESS REA D Covid patients’ attendants get space to rest Balangir: Finally, the attendants of Covid 19 patients admitted to the district headquarters hospital (DHH) ICU have a space to rest on its premises. A space in the child immunisation building was earmarked for the purpose and became functional on Saturday | P4 today’s IPL matches KXIP vs CSK Punjab will go at least to third spot if they win. Having won five of the last six games, they begin favourites. Odds: KXIP 13/15 | CSK 6/5 kkr vs rr Another high-stakes game as the side that loses this will be out. Rajasthan have won the last two games. Odds: KKR 19/20 | RR 1 L i v e : S ta r Sp o r t s / H o t s ta r F ROM 3 . 3 0 P M
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