KOttayAM l saturday l november 28, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION Govt caps cab AGGReGATORS’ COMMISSION AT 20% of fare As per the guidelines issued by the Union Transport ministry on Friday, 80% of the total fare must go to driver partners surge pricing limit fixed at 1.5% All-female pool option for women In what could be a relief to the riders, the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines stipulate that for the surge price imposed during peak hours be capped at 1.5 times the base fare. It also allows the aggregator to charge a fare that is 50% lower than the base fare when the demand is low. Where taxi fare has not been determined by the local government, J25-30 will be the base fare | P12 ■ ■ ■ Drivers welcomed it, but said the commission should be capped at 10%. At present, cab aggregators charge 25-30% According to the guidelines, women riders opting to pool their trips should be able to do so with only female passengers Cancellation fee of 10% applicable to drivers if they cancel trips 15-day Training must be provided for new drivers by the Aggregator 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 Delhi gate opens after clashes Farmers permitted to hold protest at capital’s Burari ground, but opt to stay put at border E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi/Chandigarh/Lucknow Police fire water cannon on farmers marching towards Delhi, protesting the Centre’s farm reforms, at Singhu Border | Shekhar Yadav After intense clashes at the Delhi border, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar reaches out, invites farmers’ organisations for a fresh round of talks on the new farm laws on December 3 With the AAP supporting the agitation, the Delhi govt rejects the Delhi Police’s request to convert stadiums inside the city into temporary jails to house the detained farmers “While a section of farmers want to block the highway to pressure the Centre, others want to protest at the designated Nirankari ground,’’ said a farmer leader on condition of anonymity Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana clashed at least thrice with the Delhi Police on Friday as they were prevented from entering the Capital even as Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar urged them to end the agitation and come for the third round of talks on December 3. “The government has always been ready to discuss issues. We have invited farmers’ organisations for another round of talks on December 3,” Tomar said in a statement. But his appeal hardly found any takers as the far mers stayed put at Delhi’s doorstep, blocking the national highway to Chandigarh. They also ignored the Delhi Police, which after blocking their entry into the Capital, permitted them to go to the Nirankari ground in north Delhi’s Burari area to stage their protest. The Punjab and Haryana farmers received support from their Uttar Pradesh counterparts, with the Bharatiya Kisan Union holding sit-in protests across several districts of west UP and blocking highways. Other than the Yamuna Expressway the BKU protested at , Ba ghpat, Muzaf f ar na g ar, Meerut, Bijnor, Hapur, Shamli, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Noida, Moradabad and Saharanpur. Officials in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs maintained that the government is in constant touch with the concerned states to maintain the law and order situation. In many areas along the Delhi border, such as Tikri, Singhu border, protesters refused to move to the Nirankari ground. At Tikri border, the Delhi Police took hundreds of farmers to the Nirankari ground but the protestors returned to the border. At the Singhu border, the farmers instead sought permission to protest at the Ramlila maidan instead. “We are not moving anywhere now. We have enough dal, wheat and gas to prepare our own food. We will stay here till Saturday morning as more farmers are coming to join us. We are also in talks with our unions and representatives. Once they reach, we will move to the Nirankari ground,” said farmers at the Singhu border. Fearing CPM’s Covid whisper, Recession stays, but recovery faster than thought Cong, BJP call for early voting E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi cal leaders to ensure the polling of the maximum number of The coming local body elec- the party’s votes in the first sestions may witness a high voter sion itself. M T Ramesh, BJP turnout at booths in the morn- state general secretary, said, ing hours as major political “We usually ask our workers parties are learnt to have asked and sympathisers to cast their their respective cadre to cast votes as early as possible as the their votes before 11am, which CPM often foments trouble in may lead to crowding, that too the post-noon session to disin times of Covid-19. Party suade others. In the past, they workers are being told there had also resorted to violence. will be a silent door-to-door This time, they may capitalise campaigning by rivals to create on the Covid situation and the Covid panic to disparty is well aware of suade voters from exsuch tactics,” he said. ercising their franKodikunnil Suresh, chise in the afternoon KPCC working presiArrangements have and evening sessions. dent, said, “The poll been made for In a video circulatprospects of UDF will Covid patients to ing on the social mebe affected is there is cast their votes. dia, KPCC vice-presiany such scare. Since The commission won’t allow any dent T Siddique is CPM and BJP are cadseen urging his party malicious campaign re-based parties, their members to ensure to scuttle free and votes will be polled fair elections that all party votes are whatever happens. cast before 11am as The UDF voters hesiV Bhaskaran, State the CPM is planning Election Commissioner tate to come out to to cast their votes by vote if there is any ad10-10.30 am. After that, they are verse situation like heavy rain likely to carry out a door-to- or lightning. Hence, we expect door murmur campaign, he a deliberate attempt to create says. Covid panic to scare away our “They will run a campaign voters and we have asked booththat some Covid patients have level party workers to bring reached the polling stations maximum voters to the booths and the situation is out of con- in the morning session adhertrol. Normally our people, espe- ing to the Covid protocol.” , cially the elderly, will hesitate CPM central committee to go to polling stations if there member K Radhakrishnan said is any such campaign. Hence, their political opponents leave our maximum votes must be no stone unturned to discredit polled before 11am,” he tells the party before elections. party workers in the video. This campaign is also such a ● More on P4 The BJP too has asked its lo- move. D h i ne s h K a l l u n g a l @T’Puram UDF men seek CRPF presence in booths Kochi: The High Court has sought the views of the State Election Commission and the government on a plea filed by two UDF candidates in Vengad panchayat, seeking a directive to deploy security forces such as CRPF officials and install web cameras in the polling booths in wards 3 and 4. India’s economy on a slow, down path since March 2018 and pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic, has officially entered recession with GDP growth contracting 7.5% year-on-year in the July-September 2020 quarter. This is, however, a notable improvement from the mind- Core output shrinks Contracting for the 8th straight month, the output of eight core infra sectors fell 2.5% in October, mainly due to decline in production of crude oil, natural gas, refinery products and steel E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Voters shut doors on candidates Alappuzha: Tired of frequent visits by party workers and candidates amid rising Covid cases, many concerned families in Alappuzha municipality have resorted to locking up their gates and putting up signs asking campaigners not to enter their house anymore. P2 Doc leaves cotton in Sabarimala on alert woman’s abdomen as 3 cops test +ve T’Puram: The first elected director board of the Kerala Bank assumed office on Friday. Gopi Kottamurikkal, ex-MLA who was elected the representative of urban banks, is the president, while M K Kannan is the vice-president. P5 T’Puram: A 22-year-old woman was found to have a cotton wad stitched into her abdomen post her C-section at the Women and Child Care Hospital in Thycaud here. An FIR has been registered against a doctor at the hospital for medical negligence. P7 Sabarimala: Three police personnel on Sabarimala shrine duty — two deployed at Pampa and one at Sannidhanam — tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, forcing the authorities to sound a high alert at these two points and Nilakkal. P4 babies’ day out A migrant worker shepherds a flock of ‘well-behaved’ ducklings at Balussery in Kozhikode on Friday | T P Sooraj bengal CPM sends out message, Raveendran out of hosp transport minister Adhikari resigns Heavyweight Trinamool minister Suvendu Adhikari was a known critic of CM Mamata Banerjee. He sent his resignation letter to the CM and the Governor. State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said Adhikari is “welcome to join” ‘Diego is not dead, Diego lives in the people’ Argentinian Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players ever to have graced the beautiful game of football, was buried amid a global outpouring of grief. The coffin with the mortal remains of Diego Maradona is carried by his family and friends at the Jard’n Bella Vista cemetery in Buenos Aires province | AFP President Alberto Fern’ndez appeared at midday and placed on the casket a jersey from the Argentinos Juniors team, where Maradona started his career in 1976 mists, shows the economy is healing faster than thought. In absolute numbers, national output fell to `33.14 lakh crore from `35 lakh crore recorded in the year-ago period. In the previous quarter, it had stood at `26.9 lakh crore. So, on a sequential basis, it amounts to a growth of 23.2%. Experts believe the worst may be over as most economic parameters have improved on the back of resumption in economic activities. Sushil Modi gets NDA’s RS bypoll ticket T’Puram: Criticising UDF’s silence on BJP in its manifesto, CPM state secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan alleged that UDF was going soft on the saffron party in view of the local body polls. The Congress is turning to dangerous affiliations for narrow political gains, he said. Kerala Bank gets its first elected board “Diego is not dead, Diego lives in the people,” people chanted as the coffin was taken to a cemetery outside Buenos Aires as a relief as various projections had pegged GDP growth to be much worse. Even Reserve Bank of India’s forecast was a contraction of 8.6%. This, according to econo- CPM questions UDF silence on BJP express read About two dozen people gathered at Jard’n Bella Vista cemetery for the burial. Maradona was buried next to his parents, Dalma and Diego numbing 23.9% decline in the previous three-month period (April-June 2020). Recession is when economic growth rate is negative for two consecutive quarters or more. Assuming a 5-6% trendline growth, the effective output loss during the first half of the current fiscal is upwards `20 lakh crore. On the brighter side, the data released by the National Statistics Office on Friday have come Tens of thousands of fans, many weeping, filed past the coffin of Maradona in ceremonies that mixed head-of-state-like honours with the chaos of a rowdy stadium. Viewing was halted shortly before 6pm local time as the family wished and the body of the Argentine icon was taken away for burial, frustrating many who were waiting to pay their respects and causing tension at the gates of the cemetery. day after evading quizzing E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram A DAY after he submitted a medical report to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and informed the agency that he cannot appear for interrogation, the chief minister’s Additional Private Secretary C M Raveen, dran, was discharged from the Medical College Hospital here. Sources said the CPM leadership had sent out message to the bureaucrat that he has the responsibility to appear before the agency and there should not be unnecessary delay in doing so as it could create an impression that there is something for him to cover up. A CPM official told TNIE that Raveendran cannot evade questioning forever. “It’s a matter related to his health issue. The party won’t interfere in anything. If a central agency summons him for interrogation, then he should appear once his health condition improves. There’s no at- tempt to cover up anything. He can’t stay away from questioning forever,” said a senior leader. A state secretariat member who said the CPM feels there could be political motives behind summoning him, however, added the party had nothing to do with his hospitalisation. “The party hasn’t given him any direction regarding hospitalisation,” he said. It is learnt the ED would now serve a third summons on him. The ED had issued a second notice to Raveendran to appear at its Kochi office on Friday as part of its probe into the money laundering angle in the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channel. Hospital sources had said on Thursday that Raveendran had developed post-Covid problems and was admitted to the medical intensive care unit on Wednesday and that he had breathing troubles and low oxygen level in ● More on P4 blood. The BJP on Friday nominated former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi for the Rajya Sabha by-elections from the state necessitated after the demise of former Union minister and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) founder Ram Vilas Paswan. While the LJP was hoping to get a party nominee into the Rajya Sabha, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) didn’t want any truck with the Chirag Paswan-led outfit. With the BJP leaning towards Nitish’s side, the JD(U) appears to have won this round against the LJP . The Rajya Sabha ticket is also a clear indication of the BJP taking Sushil Modi out of active politics at the state level, creating the ground for a role for him at the national level. It also indicates that the BJP wants to groom an alternative leadership in Bihar to expand its footprint by accommodating representatives of the extremely backward castes. India lose first ODI down under Sydney: Hardik Pandya’s career-best effort wasn’t enough to compensate for a forgettable bowling effort as India slumped to a 66-run defeat against Australia in the first ODI, making a rather unimpressive start to the tour, here on Friday. Virat Kohli’s men had started on a note they wouldn’t have liked, giving away 374 runs in 50 overs with rival captain Aaron Finch (114 off 124 balls) and his illustrious predecessor Steve Smith (105 off 66 balls) hitting contrasting hundreds.
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