MADURAI WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION ‘AIR POLLUTION KILLED 1.7 LAKH INDIANS IN 2019’ 1.4% GDP LOST DUE TO POOR AIR QUALITY As much as 18% of the total deaths last year were due to air pollution, says a new paper published in Lancet Planetary Health According to the paper, air pollution shrank India’s GDP by 1.4%. However, the study found household air pollution decreased in India, resulting in 64% drop in the death rate attributable to it between 1990 and 2019. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava attributed this to govt schemes such as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ and ‘Unnat Chulha Abhiyan’ `2.6 lakh cr NORTHERN STATES BIGGEST LOSERS ■ ■ The scientific paper noted that the economic loss due to air pollution as a percentage of the state GDP was higher in the northern and central India states, with the highest in Uttar Pradesh (2.2% of the GDP) and Bihar (2% of the GDP) Delhi had the highest per-capita economic loss at $62 P9 LOSS TO ECONOMY AS PREMATURE DEATHS SHRANK INDIA’S PRODUCTIVITY 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 20 fliers from UK positive, Nov 25 start date for scan THE FRESH CASELOAD Six of those who tested positive were on a flight that landed in Delhi at 11.30 pm on Monday; two in Kolkata on Sunday night; four in Ahmedabad on Tuesday; and eight, in Amritsar, including a crew member. All had taken direct Air India flights from London Flight ban kicks in; detailed SOP issued to states to track passengers; samples of all those infected will be subjected to spike gene test S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi With at least 20 fliers from the UK testing positive for Covid-19 upon their arrival in India on Tuesday, the government tightened its screening protocol a day after announcing a temporary flight ban, as a new variant of the virus in Britain is creating havoc. To do so, the Centre opened the window for tracking incoming fliers from November 25 by sharing with all states the full list of international arrivals from the UK since that date. The list includes those who transited via Britain as well. Fliers who arrived between November 25 and December 8 need to be contacted by the district surveillance officers and advised to self-monitor their health. Those with symptoms must be administered the RTPCR test and if they test positive, their genetic sequencing must be done, the standard operating procedure said. As for those who arrived between December 9 and 23, district surveillance officers have to track them daily till 14 days after their arrival in India. The new variant is estimated by the European Center for Disease Control to be more transmissible and affecting the younger population, the SOP pointed out. The variant has a set of 17 changes or mutations. The ban on flights from the UK comes into effect from Wednesday and will continue till December 31. Fliers arriving from the UK on Monday-Tuesday will be mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests and those testing positive quarantined institutionally . Samples collected from positive patients will be subjected to spike gene-based RT-PCR tests in appropriate labs to assess whether they carry the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 identified in the UK. If anyone has the new variant, the patient will remain in a separate isolation unit. All others will follow the normal treatment protocol, the advisory said. Those who contract the new variant, too, will get treatment as per the existing protocol. They will take a repeat test on the 14th day after the initial positive test. In the sample is still positive, further samples may be taken until two consecutive samples taken 24 hours P9 apart test negative. Passengers arriving from UK at the Chennai International Terminal being taken to quarantine centres | ASHWIN PRASATH IN the first major electoral exercise after Article 370 revocation, the Gupkar Alliance on Tuesday emerged the single largest group in the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu & Kashmir. Notably the BJP made inroads , and won three seats in Muslim-majority Kashmir — in Srinagar, Bandipora and Pulwama. In the 280 DDC seats, elections for which was held in eight phases, People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration comprising NC, PDP, PC, ANC, JKPM, CPI and CPM was ahead in 116 seats (86 won and leading in 30 seats). The BJP has emerged as the single largest party. It was ahead in 73 seats, having won 65 seats and leading in eight others. The independents have emerged as the third dominant force with 55 seats (36 won and leading in 19). Top leaders of Gupkar Alliance, which was formed in October to fight for Article 370 restoration, had stayed away from the poll campaign and let the second-rung leaders lead the campaigning. PDP leader Waheed Para, who was arrested by NIA last month in militancy-related case, won the polls even without campaigning from his hometown Pulwama seat. However, the Gupkar Alliance suffered a major setback RESULTS OUT Party BJP J&K NC Independent J&K PDP INC JKAP JKPC CPI (M) JKPM PDF BSP JKNPP Total Result awaited Total DDC seats EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Seats Won 65 54 39 25 20 10 6 5 3 1 1 1 231 49 280 in Srinagar, where it got only three seats. Independents emerged a dominant force in Srinagar with seven seats followed by J&K Apni Party with thee seats and the BJP one. While the PAGD contested the polls on the plank to demand restoration of Article 370 and statehood, BJP fought the polls on the plank of development and asserted that Article 370 had gone forever and cannot be restored. The Congress, which initially aligned with PAGD but later ended its alliance with PAGD, was ahead in 25 seats (18 won and leading in seven). The J&K Apni Party of influential businessman and for mer PDP leader Altaf Bukhari won nine seats and was leading in five. @ Thoothukudi REFUTING the charges levelled by DMK president, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday lashed out at MK Stalin for his alleged attempts to promote his son, Udhayanidhi Stalin, in active politics. Talking to reporters in Thoothukudi , Palaniswami said, “Former DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s aim was to bring his son Stalin into politics. Now, Stalin’s only aim is to bring his son into active politics. Other members of his family like Kanimozhi and Dayanidhi Maran are just conducting election campaigns.” Unlike in the DMK, minis- Screening process took many hours, resulting in a bit of chaos and confusion at airports India is part of about 40 nations that have barred flight from Britain We are yet to spot such a virus in our country. We will be safe if we suppress the genomic sequence - Dr V K Paul, NITI Aayog member (Health) TN student returns home from UK, tests positive EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai AMID scare of a highly infectious strain of Covid gripping the United Kingdom, it has come to light that 12 passengers who have arrived in India from there have tested positive for the virus. This includes one person who landed at the Chennai Airport after a stop in Delhi. Reports claim the new strain is 70 per cent more transmissible than the earlier version. “Samples from the passenger in question have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune,” said Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, who inspected the airport on Tuesday. “A genomic analysis will be performed to check if the patient has contracted the new strain. All the passengers who entered Tamil Nadu from UK in the last 10 days are being monitored via e- pass list,” he added. The State Health Department is on high alert after receiving information that 138 air passengers from the UK have entered Karnataka without a Covid-negative certificate. “As a preventive measure, we have begun checks along the Karnataka border. The State is prepared to track passengers entering the State through any transit point,” the Health Secretary said. Gupkar Alliance leads EPS slams Stalin for promoting his in 116 J&K DDC seats son in politics, refutes graft charges F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar In Kolkata, those sitting near the two passengers who tested positive were asked to stay in home isolation for two weeks ters of AIADMK have the freedom to express their views. “Even in press meets where I am present, ministers get an opportunity to talk,” he said. “This will not happen in the DMK. Any party can grow only if it has an ideology Our allies . have their ideologies and act accordingly But, the allies of . the DMK are afraid to speak out. The AIADMK-led alliance has no fissures at all,” Palaniswami said. Later, talking to reporters at Our allies have their ideologies and act accordingly. But, the allies of the DMK are afraid to speak out Palaniswami the airport on his way to Nagercoil, Palaniswami refuted the corruption charges levelled against him by Stalin. “Since the World Bank insisted that the government conduct the tender process online, we did so. This is the tender which the Opposition party is referring to. I did not know that my relative, whom the DMK mentioned in its petition submitted to Governor Banwarilal Purohit, had applied for the contract. There is no possibility for anyone to involve in corrupt practices when the tender process is conducted online,” Palaniswami said. He also accused the DMK of levelling baseless charges against AIADMK leaders. P4 TN MAN IN BIDEN’S TOP COUNCIL P3 EXPRESS READ Insolvency law on ice for 3 more months New Delhi: The government has extended the suspension of fresh proceedings under the insolvency law by three more months. A notification for the extension of the suspension, which was to end on December 24, was issued by the corporate affairs ministry on Tuesday | P12 Nepal Communist Party on the verge of a split Kathmandu: The ruling Nepal Communist Party was on the verge of a split with its faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ removing Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli from the post of party chairman and appointing Madhav Nepal to the position instead | P11 The patient from UK has been admitted to The King Institute in Guindy Chennai. “He , is asymptomatic and is being monitored. The patient is a student pursuing a course in the UK.” Radhakrishnan asked people not to panic, as the government was taking all necessary precautions. “We are allowing passengers from other countries only if their RT-PCR test, taken 96 hours prior to arrival, shows them negative for the virus.” CBSE exams won’t be held before Feb EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi CENTAL Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations for classes 10 and 12 will not be held until February 2021, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said during an interaction with teachers on Tuesday . “I received a lot of requests from students and teachers to postpone the CBSE exams for classes 10 and 12,” the minister tweeted. He said the board exams would be held later, but did not specify dates saying it would be announced soon. Unlike classes, the board exams would not be held online since “many schools are in rural areas”, the minister said. “CBSE board exams will be conducted on a reduced syllabus,” the minister said, adding that 30% of the total syllabus for the exams has been scrapped. There will also be 33% internal choice in the exam, he added. AGRARIAN UNREST Farmer unions to decide on talks today SEA OF SUPPORT People greeting Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami during a rally near Tirunelveli on Tuesday New Delhi: Protesting farmer unions deferred a decision on the Centre’s offer for fresh talks to Wednesday, even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar expressed hope the impasse will be resolved soon | P9 Kerala guv says no to special House session T’Puram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has declined approval for a special Assembly session planned on Wednesday by the Left front government to discuss and pass a resolution against the contentious central farm laws After 28 years, CBI court holds Kerala HC gives innovative solution to property frauds priest, nun guilty of Sr Abhaya’s murder QUICK FIX H A R I S H M U R A L I @ Chennai IN a significant move, the Madras High Court has declared a fraudulently registered settlement deed of a property as void, while passing a direction for the sub-registrar office to register the court order so that such fraud entries in the future are automatically reversed. The first-of-its-kind order was passed by the court as currently there are no provisions in the Registration Act that enable authorities to cancel entries made in the property record. The matter was raised when the court was looking into a batch of peti- tions moved by owners of 3.11 acres of land falling under the Alandur sub-registrar office. Challenging the settlement deed registered in connection with the property owned by them, by a third party, the petitioners sought a court direction to the sub-registrar office to remove the fraudulent entry made in the property record. In his order, Justice Anand Venkatesh noted that there are no provisions in the Registration Act that enable officials to cancel fraudulent documents. How the property rights were handled While the civil courts have declared the petitioners as rightful owners of the property, father of one D Suresh managed to get a patta for the property, and managed to get the necessary correction in the Town Survey Field Register, Abudu Kumar said. However, defying the court orders, the father of Suresh executed a settlement deed in favour of his son with respect to the property. The court allowing the plea ruled in the favour of the petitoners “Usually, in such situations, expecting the parties to go before the civil court every time an illegal document is registered, makes it almost impossible for the real owner to deal with his own property,” the judge noted. “It is a known factor that proceedings initiated before the civil court does not come to an end that quickly it’s ... a long-drawn journey .” Arguing for the petitioners, advocate Abudu Kumar Rajarathinam submitted that the petitioners were fighting various civil suits over the ownership of the property since 1979 and succeeded in every suit. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram AFTER 28 years, the CBI Special Court here pronounced Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sr Sephy guilty of Sister Abhaya’s murder. Special Judge K Sanil Kumar will pronounce the sentence on Wednesday after hearing the convicts. In a case that has been eagerly watched by the entire country, the court on Tuesday took less than five minutes to pronounce its verdict. Apart from murder (IPC 302), the two were also found guilty of destroying evidence (IPC 201). Sr Sephy Fr Thomas Kottoor When the verdict was read out, Sephy broke down while Kottoor stood straight-faced. Later, Kottoor told the press that he was innocent and that he was not afraid. Abhaya, a 19-year-old Knanaya Catholic nun and member of the St Joseph’s Congregation, was found dead in the well of Pius X Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. The local police and the Crime Branch had termed the death as suicide, but a probe headed by then CBI Kochi unit DyS P Nandakumar Nair revealed it was a cold-blooded murder. The CBI’s finding was Abhaya had gone to the convent’s kitchen to fetch water and saw Fr Kottoor, Fr Jose Poothrikkayil and Sr Sephy in a compromising position. Fearing for their reputation, Sephy bludgeoned Abhaya with an axe and threw her into the well with the help of the two priests.
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