dharmapuri l thursday l december 17, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION Ahead of 2021 assembly war, ldf wins local body battle The ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala on Wednesday appeared to make a clean sweep of the local body elections Cong loses shine, bjp set to improve tally Befitting reply to Centre, says Vijayan With counting still going on, the LDF was leading in 514 of the total of 941 grama panchayats, 3 corporations and 10 district panchayats. Congressled United Democratic Front was in the 2nd spot, leading in 375 grama panchayats, 3 corporations and 4 district panchayats. BJP was ahead in 23 panchayats and 2 municipalities against 14 and 1, respectively, in 2015 P5 ■ ■ In the last local body elections, the Congress had won 365 panchayats, 41 municipalities and two corporations Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who has come under a shadow of doubt following the gold smuggling case, said the results are the people’s reply to the central agencies trying to “wreck the state” Apr-May 2021 When elections to the Kerala Assembly are expected to be held 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 SC panel in the works to seek stir’s solution List of trusted telecom sources to be out soon, blocking Chinese firms E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Fears matters could snowball; impleads 8 farmer unions; extensive hearing today E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi With the deadlock persisting on the farmers’ protest against three contentious farm sector laws, the Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated its intention to set up a committee of all stakeholders to open talks, adding the issue could soon snowball into a national one if not quickly resolved. “This is what we propose to do tentatively. We will form a committee to resolve this dispute,” the bench told solicitor general Tushar Mehta while hearing three petitions related to the protests. “This panel will comprise members from BKU or any other farmer association that are protesting, government representatives and other farmers groups,” the CJI said while issuing notice to the Centre on the three petitions. As per the order, eight farmer organisations have been included in the case: Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rakesh Tikait), BKU (Sidhupur), BKU (Rajewal), BKU (Lakhowal), Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, BKU (Dakaunda), BKU (Doaba) and Kul Hind Kisan Federation. Mehta told the bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde that the government is keen on engaging with the farmers, but it can happen only when the other side is open to discuss the laws, clause by clause. Instead, “they come with just one demand of taking back the law,” Mehta rued. At this, CJI Bobde observed, “Your negotiations have not worked apparently Mehta claimed the .” agitation had been taken over by vested interests. “Whenever they came to meet our ministers, they carried placards with ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Also, when the ministers spoke to them they turned around in their seats to show their back to the Central ministers,” he said. Delhi government counsel Rahul Mehra batted for the farmers saying they were compelled to protest in winter. “The Centre must do something to resolve their problems,” he added. The case will be heard at length on Thursday . New CJs for Madras, J&K and Gauhati HCs E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi The Supreme Court collegium’s decision to shake-up the higher judiciary, as reported in these columns, including the transfers of chief justices of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, was formally uploaded in its website on Wednesday . In all, 14 judicial officers were part of the recommended shuffle: promotion of five judges as chief justices; transfer of four chief justices to various high courts; and transfer of five judges. Apart from the elevation of Justice Dr S Muralidhar as Chief Justice of Orissa High Court and Delhi High Court judge Hima Kohli as Chief Justice of Telangana High Court, the collegium approved proposals to promote Calcutta High Court judge Sanjib Banerjee as Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Allahabad High Court judge Pankaj Mithal as Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand High Court judge Sudhanshu Dhulia as Gauhati High Court Chief Justice. The judges whose transfers have been approved include Justice Sanjay Yadav, presently serving as the acting Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. His name has been recommended for transfer to the Allahabad High Court. Justice Rajesh Bindal, who is currently the acting Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, has Half-yearly examinations cancelled, says minister E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Erode/Chennai Half-yearly exams for government and government-aided school students have been cancelled, School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan told the media on Wednesday on the sidelines of an event in Erode. “Private schools, however, are free to conduct the exams online if required,” he said. Earlier last week, the minister said the exams had been postponed, and the new dates would be announced soon. The government’s decision to cancel the half-yearly exams comes even as the IIT-Madras reported a total of 199 Covid cases as on Wednesday within , days of reopening the campus. The government, following the IIT cluster, has taken up a testing drive across campuses, which has shown that there are a few positive cases also at the Anna University . With most gover nment schools lacking the technical infrastructure and the knowhow to conduct online exams, parents were skeptical about the process. The government’s announcement now has come as a relief for most of them. Educationists, however, feel the cancellation would leave the students unprepared for the final examinations due to be held in April. “With Chief Minister’s permission, the syllabus for class IX has been reduced by 50 per cent and syllabus for classes X to XII has been reduced by 65 per cent,” added the minister. Farmers shout slogans against the new farm sector laws, at the Singhu border in New Delhi on Wednesday | Shekhar Yadav Wary unions want to wait and watch H a r p r eet Ba j w a @ Chandigarh Protesting farm unions on Wednesday reacted cautiously to the Supreme Court’s proposal to set up a committee to resolve the deadlock over the three contentious farm laws. While some said they will decide on the court’s suggestion only after receiving it in writing and taking legal advice, others claimed the new panel was meaningless since they had already rejected the Centre’s proposal to amend the three laws. Harinder Singh Lakhowal, General Secretary of BKU (La- khowal) and Omka General Secretary of BKU (Rajewal) said, “After discussion among farmer leaders today it was de, cided that once we get any notice from the court, we will take legal advice and decide as to what to do.” Forming a new committee at this stage may not work, according to Sukhdev Singh, Punjab General Secretary of Bhart i ya K i s a n U n i o n ( E k t a Ugrahan). “The government should have formed a committee of farmers and others before enacting the new agriculture laws,” he said. Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, who is also a member Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, said the SC can decide only the constitutionality of the farm laws but it is not for the judiciary to decide on the desirability of these laws. “SC monitored negotiation would be a wrong path,” he noted. Meanwhile, a 65-year-old religious leader Baba Ram Singh shot himself dead at the Singhu border. He reportedly left behind a suicide note in Punjabi saying he took this extreme step as he could no longer see the struggles of the farmers. Agitation figured in talks, says Rabb New Delhi: Visiting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Wednesday said he had discussed the ongoing farmers’ protests at Delhi’s borders with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during their interaction. India, he said, had a “vibrant heritage of peaceful protests”, and the United Kingdom respects it Promotions Name of judge Present HC HC where appointed as CJ Dr S Muralidhar Punjab & Haryana Orissa Hima Kohli Delhi Telangana Sanjib Banerjee Calcutta Madras Pankaj Mithal Allahabad Jammu & Kashmir Sudhanshu Dhulia Uttarakhand Gauhati Transfer of Chief Justices Name High Court from High Court to R S Chauhan J K Maheshwari Mohammad Rafiq A K Goswami Sudhanshu Dhulia Telangana Andhra Pradesh Orissa Sikkim Uttarakhand Uttarakhand Sikkim Madhya Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Gauhati Transfer of judges Name High Court from High Court to Sanjay Yadav Madhya Pradesh Allahabad Rajesh Bindal J&K Calcutta Vineet Kothar Madras Gujarat Joymalya Bagchi Calcutta Andhra Pradesh Satish Chandra Sharma Madhya Pradesh Karnataka been proposed for a transfer to the Calcutta High Court. The other transfers of judges are Madras High Court judge Vineet Kothari to the Gujarat High Court; Calcutta High Court judge Joymalya Bagchi to the Andhra Pradesh High Court; and Madhya Pradesh High Court judge Satish Chandra Sharma to the Karnataka High Court. India on watchlist for currency manipulation The US on Wednesday added India along with Taiwan and Thailand to the “monitoring list” of currency manipulating countries that includes major trading partners like China | P11 After taking a slew of steps against Chinese mobile apps, India will soon come out with a list of ‘trusted sources’, only from whom telecom equipment can be purchased by service providers. Senior officials said the move is aimed at building indigenous capacity in the manufacturing of the telecom equipment, and cut down on the dependency on imports. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday decided that a panel headed by the deputy national security advisor will prepare the ‘trusted sources’ list, which seeks to secure India’s communication network. The panel will also prepare a ‘negative list’ of companies, whose products will not be allowed in the country. The black list is likely to contain Chinese firms. The National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector, cleared by the CCA, directs all service providers to mandatorily source equipment from “trusted sources”. However, it will not affect equipment that have already been deployed. “The CCS has approved the directive in line with the needs of the national security , and accordingly the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector has been given the nod,” said Union law and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The panel will comprise members from relevant de- Next round of spectrum sale The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal for the auction of 2,251.25 megahertz of spectrum worth `3.92 lakh crore. The sale will be held in March 2021 | P10 partments, ministries, besides two from the industry and also independent experts. The directive has provisions to qualify telecom gears made by domestic players in the trusted category, while those that meet the criteria of the DoT’s “preferential market access scheme” will be certified as India trusted sources. Palaniswami inaugurates slew of projects worth `118 crore E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Salem/Karur THE AIADMK will continue to be in alliance with the BJP and other existing partners, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami clarified on Wednesday . Addressing the public and mediapersons during his whirlwind tour of Karur and Salem, he said the alliance formed for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls still holds good. “The BJP has not denied the alliance between both parties,” he said. Palaniswami inaugurated a slew of projects during his tour. In Salem, he inaugurated an Amma Mini Clinic in Kondalampatti area, the first one in the district. “Within the next ten days, a total of 100 clinics will be opened in Salem district,” he said. Attacking the DMK for alleging that he had done nothing for Salem, Palaniswami said, “I have the list of projects we have implemented, which runs into 10 pages. I am not reading it out because it’s that long.” Hinting that Salem has a special place in his heart be- Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami distributed assistance to beneficiaries of the government’s welfare schemes, at the Karur Collectorate on Wednesday cause it’s his home district, Palaniswami said he visits it every month so that the public here can visit him without any hinderance. Later, he also inaugurated a private eye hospital in the city In Karur, he laid . foundation stones for projects worth `627 crores and inaugurated 28 projects completed at a total cost of `118.53 crore. Speaking on the issue of farmers protesting across the nation, Palaniswami dismissed the dissent saying, “the agitations were being held by agents who could not benefit from the legislation.” He also assured that the free electricity scheme for farmers would “neither be suspended nor be cancelled.” P4 no-sense When food smells like sewage: A rare after-effect of Covid! S U S H M I T H A R A M A K RIS H N A N @ Chennai IMAGINE if lemons smell like petrol, or dosas like rotten cabbage! Twenty-five-year-old Sanjana (name changed), a doctor pursuing post graduation in general surgery, is living this nightmare. Even her favourite food items now smell like raw sewage. She was treated for Covid in August-September. Like many others, she too suffered Anosmia – the loss of smell and taste. However, instead of recovering from it, she started experiencing a new one –Parosmia. This is a disorder that distorts smells, often making them unpleasant. Experts say smell dysfunctions are common after-effects of viral illnesses. However, in Sanjana’s case, the conditions persists a good three months after recovery, making her wonder if she will ever go back to enjoying in other news l TN permits social, political, sports, education, culture, entertainment and religious gatherings from Saturday her food again. “By the end of August, I lost my sense of smell and taste,” she says. “For most people who develop Anosmia due to Covid, the symptoms l Owing to dip in Covid cases RGGGH has reduced number of doctors posted on Covid duty l 14 more people, mostly students, tested positive for Covid at higher educational institutions in Chennai on Wednesday persist for only about two weeks. But for me, it stayed for over six weeks. “I could smell things again in mid-October, but it was not the same. Just being around food made me want to throw up.” After a lot of trialand-error, she has standardised a meal of plain rice, fresh yogurt and select boiled vegetables. The big problem that Sanjana is now facing is that, she is unable to find an effective treatment for her condition.
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