DHARMAPURI 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 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. WIT H T H IS ISS U E The WiFi Fit List PLUS 12 PAGES Opening of public transport and cinema halls ahead of the festival season may boost local trade; operating procedures to come soon Chennai reported 690 fresh cases and 12 deaths on Saturday SUSHMITHA RAMAKRISHNAN Chief Minister announces new relaxations A b d u l R a b i @ 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). 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 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- 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 Where Nitish failed to bridge gap between promise and delivery M U K E S H 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- @ Chennai 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 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 Could Onion tears have been avoided? K U M A R V I 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 ress ne w s servi 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 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. 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. Senior IAS officer Sagayam seeks VRS 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, Sagayam, who once served as the Collector of Namakkal and Madurai districts, has been working as the vicechairman of Science City in Chennai. A source close to the officer told Express that he applied for VRS on October 2. Now, he has sent another 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,” the source said. “Sagayam has been wanting to engage himself in service of people. He felt bad about not being able to serve when the pandemic struck the State,” added the source, as reasons for his decision. The 57-year-old officer has served as an inspiration for many aspiring to crack the civil services. His office door used to bear a sign that reads: Lanjam Thavirththu Nenjam Nimirthu (Reject bribe and hold your head high). E X P RESS REA D Yogi vows new law to curb ‘love jihad’ Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said his govt will come out with a law to deal with love jihad. “It’s my warning to those who play with the honour and dignity of sisters and daughters,” Yogi said | P8 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 S p o r t s / H o t s ta r F ROM 3 . 3 0 P M
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