CHENNAI SUNDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 30 LATE CITY EDITION NAVY DEPLOYS MARINE COMMANDOS IN LADAKH The Marine Commandos (MARCOS) have been deployed at Pangong lake area in eastern Ladakh amid tensions with China File photo of Indian Navy’s MARCOS conducting a drill in the Arabian Sea TO ENHANCE INTEGRATION OF THREE SERVICES Air Force’s Garud operatives and Army’s Para Special Forces have been in eastern Ladakh since the June clash in the Galwan Valley. With the deployment of MARCOS, the government hopes to enhance the integration of the three services, according to reports. Besides, the Marine Commandos will also get exposure to extreme cold weather conditions MARCOS WILL CONDUCT OPS IN PANGONG LAKE India has boosted its special force presence along the Line of Actual Control since the June 15 clash ■ In August, India used special forces to take control of a key piece of strategic land near Pangong lake’s southern bank ■ The MARCOS is expected to conduct operations in Pangong lake ■ HAS CONDUCTED OPERATIONS IN KASHMIR’S JHELUM LAKE IN THE PAST 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 Shah steps in to quell farmers’ ire Says Centre ready to hold early talks as soon as they vacate roads and move to the designated protest site in Burari H A R P R E E T B A J W A , G AYAT H R I M A N I & N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Chandigarh/New Delhi/Lucknow Prime Minister Narendra Modi tours Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad | PIB Modi takes 3-city tour to review vaccine progress hand, has partnered with AstraZeneca-Oxford University to scale up the production of PRIME Minister Narendra Covishield, which is also beModi on Saturday undertook ing tested on 1,600 volunteers a whirlwind trip to Ahmeda- in India. bad, Hyderabad and Pune for “The PM’s visit serves as a reviewing the Covid vaccine great inspiration to our team,” development and manufactur- Bharat Biotech said. ing process by Zydus Cadila, Zydus Cadila, which is testBharat Biotech and Serum In- ing a DNA-based vaccine, said stitute of India. it is committed to the At each of the three Atmanirbhar Bharat facilities, the PM Mission and to prospent over an hour vide the nation safe each, took a tour of The Centre wants and efficacious vacthe facilities, met top the 300 to 400 cines, therapeutics executives and inter- million doses (of and diagnostics for acted with scientists Oxford vaccine) by fighting Covid. Following the PM’s to understand the tri- June-July. We are working on that visit, SII CEO Adar al status, issues and timeline. We are Poonawala said in a ch a l l e n g e s b e i n g working on virtual press conferf aced in vaccine delivery and development. distribution of the ence that his company will apply to the He also asked scisystem country’s drug reguentists for their opinAdar Poonawala, lator for emergency ion on how the counCEO, Serum Institute use authorisation of try could further of India Covishield in the next improve its regulatotwo weeks. Interim ry process and sought their suggestions to improve analysis of the vaccine, from t h e p ro c e s s o f va c c i n e its late-stage trial in Brazil and the UK, showed that its averdistribution. While the indigenously de- age efficacy in two different veloped vaccine Covaxin by dosing regimens was 70.4%. Poonawala said that the OxBharat Biotech, in collaboration with ICMR, is undergo- ford vaccine will first be used ing phase 3 testing, another in India and African countries. developed by Zydus Cadila is “The vaccine will be affordanow in the second stage of hu- ble and accessible to everyman trials. SII, on the other one,” he said. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Hyderabad/Mumbai UNION home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the government will hold talks with the agitating farmers before December 3 if they vacate the roads and national highways and move to the Nirankari ground in Burari, north Delhi. Earlier, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had invited protesting farmers for talks on December 3. “If farmers’ unions want to hold discussions before December 3, then I want to assure you all that as soon as you shift your protest to the structured place, the government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day Shah ,” said in a video message on Saturday . Shah added the government had made all the arrangements for the farmers at the designated ground for their protest, including water, toilet and medical facilities. However, the farmers turned down Shah’s offer with BKU (Ekta-Ug rahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan saying the protest will continue “till our demands are met”. BKU (Rajewal Group) general secretary Omkar Singh said the home minister’s offer would be discussed in the Sunday meeting of 30 farm unions. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, meanwhile, urged the farmers to heed to Shah’s appeal, saying it was in the best interest of the farming community and the nation at large. “Shah’s offer to advance talks with farmers from December 3, and his statement reflecting the Centre’s willingness to listen to the farmers was a welcome step,” he said. Earlier in the day the agitat, ing Punjab and Haryana farmers said they were contemplating sealing the borders of Delhi and staying put at the Singhu and Tikri borders. “It is just a plan. The final decision will be taken in meetings of all leaders, which are being held on a regular basis. As of now we are at the Singhu and Tikri borders of Delhi,” a farm leader said, adding, “In a few days, the entire Punjab and Haryana will join us.” On Saturday, traffic movement on both the national highways continued to be disrupted. Farmers from Uttar Pradesh also closed in on Delhi, with hundreds of them reaching the Ghazipur border with their vehicles on Saturday afternoon. Suspecting a long standoff at the borders, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has started providing langar to the agitating farmers. “This is an agitation of farmers and not by any political party said Manjinder Singh Sirsa, ,” P13 DSGMC president. Haryana police book youth who switched off water cannon on attempt to murder charges H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh NAVDEEP Singh, a young farmer from Ambala who flung himself from his moving tractor trolley towards a police vehicle to turn off water cannon, has been booked by the Haryana Police on charges of attempt to murder, rioting and violation of Coivd-19 norms. The incident happened near the grain market at Ambala Farmers from Punjab and Haryana shouting slogans against the Centre during their Delhi Chalo march at Singhu Border in New Delhi on Saturday | SHEKHAR YADAV Cantt on NH-44 on November 25 during the farmers’ march towards Delhi. Navdeep leaped from his tractor, turned the water cannon tap off and jumped back in no time. The Haryana Police have booked Singh as well as Bharatiya Kisan Union Haryana president Gurnam Singh Chaduni for allegedly breaking police barricades and trying to run the police personnel over. READY FOR THE LONG HAUL The farmers have come well prepared to stay on the road for a long time. They have food and essentials for six months They have also brought with them warm blankets to ward of winter blues, mattresses and pillows F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar People stand in a queue to cast their votes in Srinagar on Saturday | PTI BRAVING winter chill and the Covid-19 threat, 51.7% voters in Jammu and Kashmir cast their vote in the first phase of the eight-phase District Development Council elections, the first electoral exercise in J&K after the dilution of Article 370 of the Constitution last year. The turnout was an improvement from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when 45% voters exercised their franchise. The im- provement was more marked in the Kashmir Valley, where the turnout was 40.65%. In the general elections it was 18.8%. Kupwara recorded a turnout of 50.74%, Bandipora 43.57%, Baramulla 32.51%, Ganderbal 48.62%, Srinag ar 33.76%, Budgam 56.96%, Pulwama 6.70%, Shopian 42.58%, Kulgam 34.35% and Anantnag 43.32%. The overwhelming sense across the Kashmir Valley was of a vote for development, peace, employment and against the revocation of J&K’s special status. A voter said their vote was against the Bharatiya Janata Party. “We are voting against the BJP and we hope that the representatives and parties whom we vote in the DDC polls will be able to get back what was snatched from us on August 5 last year,” he said. A young graduate said their vote was against the revocation of Article 370. “Our jobs have been snatched after Article 370. Woman spends a night EPS: WILL START 2,000 in the middle of a river MINI CLINICS ACROSS in spate, rescued later STATE BY DEC 15 MIN @ Chennai TWO THOUSAND mini clinics to treat minor ailments such as fever, headache, etc., would be started in the State by December 15, announced Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday. These clinics would have a doctor, a nurse and an assistant, and medical equipment, and medicines. Palaniswami had first announced the opening of such clinics on September 8, and said that it would come up in areas where there are no PHCs. Pointing out that the Covid situation in the State had been brought under control due to the concerted efforts taken by his government, the Chief Minister said, “Some more time is required to return to complete normalcy.” He was chairing a meeting with district Collectors through video conference, to take a decision on the extension of lockdown and on bringing in more relaxations in the State. He also chaired a meeting with the health experts committee to seek its views in this regard. The government is likely to announce the decision within a day or two. Recalling the efforts taken to contain Covid, Palaniswami said that the State had so far, spent `7,525.71 crore toP4 wards relief measures. Brace for another depression ahead, from the Bay S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai BARELY two days after the very severe cyclonic storm Nivar made a landfall over the coast of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry , a new low pressure area has formed in southeast Bay of Bengal, and would intensify into a depression in the next 48 hours, said the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday The weather system . has formed over south Anda- man sea and its neighbourhood, said N Puviarasan, director of Area Cyclone Warning Centre at Regional Meteorological Centre. He added, “It is likely to move towards south Tamil Nadu, where heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur at isolated places from December 1.” Meanwhile, overcast conditions would continue in Chennai with the maximum and minimum temperatures hover- A leader said 6,000 protesters are at Singhu border, adding, “In a few days, the entire Punjab and Haryana will join us” Art 370 weighs heavily in 1st J&K poll since bifurcation ing around 30 and 22 degree Celsius, respectively . Frequent tropical cyclones Experts opined that a growing proportion of tropical cyclones are developing quickly, known as rapid intensification. According to multiple studies, these changes are linked with climate change. Warm ocean waters are one factor that drive rapid intensification, which is a threat because it makes it harder to forecast how a storm will behave and so to prepare before its landfall. A recent study said “ocean surface and subsurface conditions played a vital role in the genesis and intensification of cyclone Ockhi,” that hit Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Sri Lanka three years ago, resulting in over 800 casualties. Unusually warm ocean temperatures had favoured its evolution into a cyP5 clone in just 9 hours. R S I V A K U M A R @ Vellore NOT many in Tamil Nadu know that the River Koundinya flows into Vellore from Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. But, 55-yearold Ellammal knew it like the back of her hand. She and her husband Muniappan earned a living raising pigs on the riverbed. Their simple dwelling stands by the river bank, in Ponnampatti village. The parched river bed was a good place to graze the pigs, until Thursday night when the river was reborn, thanks to cyclone Nivar. On Thursday evening, Ellammal was grazing the pigs all alone, while Muniappan had gone to fetch them some food. Thanks to the copious rainfall, water level started rising rapidly in the river, leaving Ellammal marooned on a sand dune. It was getting dark, and water kept rising. Ellammal was right there, on a tiny dry patch, amid a gushing river. She seemed to be waiting forever, hoping her husband would fetch help. He did. The revenue department officials alerted fire and rescue personnel, MAX 220C 290C WEATHER 02 VELLORE SUNDAY FORECAST Scattered showers Committee probing Surappa takes charge Sunrise 06.18 am Sunset 05.44 pm Moonrise --.-- Moonset 03.41 am 29 11 2020 Meet the heroes who helped us get back to the normal after Nivar wrecked havoc and left! (Clockwise from right) A rescue worker wading through the knee-deep water in Ram Nagar, Velachery on Thursday; a corporation worker clearing the garbage at Satyamurthy Nagar; residents seen helping the volunteers at Velachery; corporation workers clearing the streets at Radha Krsihnan Salai in Mylapore and K K Nagar | ASHWIN PRASATH, P JAWAHAR, DEBADATTA MALLICK, R SATISH BABU THEY WILL NIVAR GIVE UP Every time a disaster strikes, a bunch of people risks their lives to ensure that our cities are safe. Meet a few such heroes who stood up against this cyclone This duo accomplished what would otherwise take seven men K R I T H I KA S R I N I VASA N @ Villupuram F The four constables of Grand Bazaar police station in Puducherry | G PATTABI RAMAN Four policemen win race against time to save family D E B J A N I D U T TA @ Puducherry I T was a good three hours since the cyclone had made landfall. The Bolero in which they were travelling was going deeper into water. As the power supply had been cut in advance, as a precautionary measure, it was pitch dark around them. Yet, four Puducherry policemen in that car kept inching forward, knowing very well that it was a risky operation. The water level kept rising, well above the tyres. But, giving up was not an option. There was a family of three marooned in its home, waiting for help to arrive before its too late. And, help they must. The mission began at 1.50am, Thursday when the emergency , operation centre received a distress call from a woman living in Rainbow Nagar. Water had entered her home, and was rising rapidly She was stuck there . with her 71-year-old mother and 9-year-old son. Officials at the centre soon alerted the Grand Bazar police station. Four constables were assigned the task of rescuing the family -- S Subastipan, S Sasikumar, A Manjinin and V Murugan. “Trees had fallen on the main road, blocking access to the area,” said the team speaking with Express. “We had to take a detour. It was dark, raining heavily, and there was strong wind. Water was gushing across the narrow street in which the home was located. We could not take the car forward beyond a point.” Here, three of the policemen stepped out into the street, and started wading through waist-deep water. “We went into the house and saw the trio sitting on top of a cot, scared and shivering.” They were carefully moved from there to the vehicle. “The driver kept the engine running, to ensure that water does not enter the motor.” They were taken to their relative’s home nearby . “By the time we left, water on the road was almost chest-level,” says the woman who made the phone-call, the daughter of an ex-serviceman. “My dad has passed away and my husband was not in town that night. When the water started entering our home, we had no clue of how we would manage. If not for these policemen, we would have been in real danger.” True leader is one who’s there during distress OR a large municipality that is Villupuram, it has only two sanitary inspectors against a sanctioned strength of seven. But, until date, the shortage of hands was not a major problem. N Thinnairamoorthy and E Ramanan managed to ensure the job is done without major hassles or complaints. But, last week was not like any other. A major storm was brewing, bringing with it copious rainfall, waterlogging, and the possibility of disease outbreaks. The spread of Covid, which seems to be abating, was looming large as people were brought in to relief camps across the State. “We received information about Nivar last Monday,” recalls Thinnairamoorthy. “We had to plan several things -- removal of trees, wet garbage, sludg e overflowing from drains, and solid waste disposal. We were already in the process of undertaking a clean-up operation as the northeast monsoon is upon us, but the cyclone was a bolt out of the blue. We did not have much time at hand.” There were just two of them and a good five kilometres to cover. “We had to work without rest, without sleep for three full days,” says Ramanan. “We had to coordinate workers for all divisions within the municipal limits, check on their availability and arrange protective , gears for them. A lot of paperwork was involved.” To get things effectively organised, the duo decided to divide and conquer. Ramanan was to take care of the first two kilometres and Thinnairamoorthy the outer three kilometres. “We hit the ground in person. Sanitation inspectors in our neighbour- N Thinnairamoorthy and E Ramanan ing districts were equally helpful in sharing the workload. We had to ensure that two major river channels -- Koliyanur channel and Periyavaikal -had to be kept clear of any blockages. If not, the water would enter residential areas,” says Ramanan. The focus on A ILLUSTRATION: TAPAS RANJAN When every other door shut, some opened to strays O M J A S V I N M D @ Chennai P HOTOS of dogs stranded on rooftops or searching for its owner within debris is a requisite for media covering floods; and, the readers too lap it up mournfully Come next ca. lamity few people provide shel, ter or some food to these creatures, but the photo next day is a blockbuster tear-jerker. However, this time, members of several NGOs in Chennai came N I R U PA S A M PAT H @ Cuddalore W HEN the drum was beat announcing cyclone Nivar in Tamil Nadu villages, most families had barely overcome the damages previous cyclones had wrecked on them. In TS pettai near Pichavaram, the dread was palpable that day as reports predicted Nivar to touch land in their district. The village which houses 450 families, including fisherfolk, knew the drill. Fortify valuables, gather absolute necessities and wait for help. together and rescued around 50 dogs and cattle from severely inundated areas. Rahul Muthukumar of Manitham Pottruvom NGO said his team rescued 15 dogs. “We rescued the dogs from Kelambakkam side and housed them at a temporary shelter there,” Rahul added. People for Cattle in India (PFCI) founder Arun Prasanna said 16 of his team members were spread across the inundated areas in Muttukadu, On the same night, not far away TS pettai panchayat pres, ident R Mohan Gandhi was irritably waiting for the officials to finish giving instructions. He knew hundreds of families were waiting. A relief camp for them was allotted in a nearby village. Several communities now have to put up under the same roof, sweeping under the rug the issues that get under their skin otherwise. Mohan Gandhi has his job cut out. Meanwhile, Irulas at Tsunami Nagar in the village refuse to leave for the camp which is over half a kilometre from their Vandalore, Tambaram and Red Hills to rescue and feed animals. “We rescued ten dogs that required immediate medical care and shelter. We also provided food to around 300 dogs and cattle,” he said. The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) also teamed up with the NGO for rescue efforts. Apart from this, several residents also opened their doors to temporarily shelter dogs. area. Their area name testifies to the tragedies they have faced and leaving behind the little something they have built for themselves terrified them. “We couldn’t just leave them there, though they refused to move. Finally we housed them in a community centre in Tsunami Nagar itself. But, bringing food to this area once the rains begin was going to be a challenge,” Gandhi says. Then the rains began on Wednesday. In an extended preface to Nivar, it rained and rained. Everyone looked out the temporary shelters with man hiding inside a manhole for shelter was just one of the appalling sights the relief volunteers had to witness on Wednesday night. The person had no place to go, and he found no other way to escape the torrential downpour, says Ram Kumar, a member of Nivar Meetpu Kuzhu, a team of over 100 NGOs across the State. The team attended to over 10,000 emergency requests in a span of 48 hours. “The team had first come together during Gaja cyclone. When the government issued warning for Nivar, we again connected through social media and hit the field. Since there are over 100 NGOs involved, we were able to work on numerous kinds of relief o p e r a t i o n s, ” s ay s H a r i Krishnan, a member of the team. They worked on mobilising senior citizens, providing food, rehabilitating homeless people and also drove around an ambulance for two days to attend to emergencies. When the rains began on bated breath in wait for the tempest. Some children fell asleep as Nivar planned a midnight entry. Others witnessed the cyclone come with screaming winds. Even in the pitch dark they saw trees getting uprooted and invisible gods playing a game of pole vault. By morning the rains reached an elderly composure as if after a boisterous youth. The waters began to recede and the families itched to return and see the destruction that lay in the way . But Gandhi decided against sending them back before the water receded further and elec- Tales of extraordinary humanity and bravery, amid a cyclone; READ ON: Panchayat chief R Mohan Gandhi; (Left) TS pettai residents eating together at relief camp | EXPRESS Thursday however, was not on , clearing fallen trees. It was on quickly disinfecting the thickly-populated and low-lying areas. Over 600 workers including 160 from Madurai and Tirunelveli corporations were deployed for sweeping roads, spraying/dispersing chlorine powders in all the areas within Villupuram town limits. Water was chlorinated to prevent disease outbreak. “A brilliant team of supervisors and ground workers made sure the work was done, along with us.” When the sun finally returned to the skies, shining bright, the duo returned home to catch a break. Volunteers who believe in feed, pray, love, repeat K V N A V YA @Chennai We used to have SC/ST quota jobs in J&K. But after Article 370 revocation, the state subject law has been abolished. Now we have to compete at the allIndia level, which is not possible for us,” she said. Jave d A h m a d , a n o t h e r youngster, said not only development, they were also voting for peace. “Since last year, there is fear among the people and we want to get rid of this fear. We want development and jobs,” CONTINUED ON: P14 he said. EXPRESS READ REVIEWING COVID IN TN EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Navdeep said the farmers have the rights to organise peaceful protests. “I have no issues with the police; they did their job and we are doing ours,” he added. The Haryana Police on Friday registered two cases against unidentified protesters on charges of rioting, obstructing public servants from performing duty assault, and violation , of Covid-19 norms. the first day we never thought , it would get this intense, says Banu Priya, another volunteer. “Firstly we helped people , in the low-lying areas and provided blankets to destitutes. On the second day, we began receiving a lot of requests for food packets,” she adds. The team supplied food to various flooded areas, including Villivakkam, Kolathur, Tambaram, Mudichur, Velachery Ta, ramani, Red Hills, Madhavaram, Thiruvottiyur and Saidapet. Around 200 members worked the entire Wednesday night supplying food and attending to other emergencies. Nivar Meetpu Kuzhu also tied up with the city corporation’s relief centres and rehabilitated over 500 homeless people. With the cyclone passing, all people in relief camps were sent back home. “The tarpaulin and thatched roofs of many houses were damaged. Now, most of the requests we get are for helping with house repairs,” another team member says. So far, the team has helped with the re pairs of over 100 houses. tricity supply was restored. He arranged for more food. “Tsunami Nagar was the worst affected as expected. So we decided to shelter them at the community hall for two more days. We all worked a lot in the last one week. Hopefully , the worst of this monsoon is over,” Gandhi adds. As per the latest update from the IMD, another low-pressure area has formed over Bay of Bengal. This system is expected to bring heavy rains to TN between December 1 and 3. Gandhi and his team might have to get moving again soon. P2 but they failed to rescue her. Then, the collector intervened and called in the National Disaster Response Force. The lighting was poor, so the team used a drone to survey the area. Locating her was the biggest challenge. Once that was done, the team swung into action. With the help of firemen, some long ropes, and an inflated boat, she was rescued. “If not for these men, I don’t know what would have happened,” says Ellammal. Chennai: The inquiry committee that was set up to investigate the alleged administrative irregularities by MK Surappa, the ViceChancellor of Anna University, took charge on Saturday. The public can continue writing their complaints to the probe panel until December 6 | P5 Petrol, diesel prices up for 8th time in 9 days New Delhi: Petrol price on Saturday crossed `82 in Delhi and diesel surpassed `72 a litre after eighth increase in rates in the past nine days. Petrol price on Saturday was hiked by 24 paise per litre and diesel by 27 paise as hopes of a vaccine development led to a rally in international oil prices | P16 WITH THIS ISSUE THE HOME HUB PLUS 12 PAGES
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