bhubaneswar l thursday l february 11, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION Academic regression during pandemic: Study The Loss of Learning During the Pandemic study reveals 92% kids lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year negative impact on learning levels of kids scrap vacations, redraw syllabi The language ability lost includes describing a picture or their experiences orally; reading familiar words; reading with comprehension. The study on primary school children, carried out by Azim Premji Univ, highlights the negative impact on the learning levels of children due to prolonged closure of schools and suggests immediate action to rectify the regression ■ 82% of children have lost at least one specific mathematical ability like identifying single and two-digit numbers; using basic problem solving operations; describing 2D/3D shapes ■ Report suggests measures like eliminating vacations, extending academic year, reconfiguring syllabus as ways to arrest the slide 16,067 kids of MP, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand surveyed 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 Amid full-blown freedom of speech spat with Twitter, govt begins Kooing B i sm a h M a l i k @ Bengaluru Caught in the eye of a political storm over the ongoing farmers protests, US social media giant Twitter on Wednesday said it had suspended more than 500 of the 1,178 accounts the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) wanted purged citing the possibility of inciting violence and threat to national security . However, the site took a dig at the government saying the others were not suspended as the blocking orders were not consistent with Indian law. “Keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. To do so, we believe, would violate their Shed status quo mindset and let new laws help empower small farmers, urges PM Ready for talks, says Modi amid reform hardsell E x p r e ss N e w s S e rv i c e agitation path On 77th day of their protest on the borders of the National Capital, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Tuesday prepared a detailed pan-India protest plan. The finer details will be decided later @ New Delhi Nobody had asked for the triple talaq or dowry laws, but they were still enacted, for reforms must be attuned with changing times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday as he rebutted the Opposition’s charge that farmers had not sought the contentious agri reform laws. Wrapping up the Lok Sabha debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Modi reiterated his gover nment’s willingness to resume talks while describing the laws as progressive. “Besides creating an additional, but optional, avenue has there been any change after the enactment of the laws? When the laws offer only an option, there can’t be any reason for protest,” he reasoned. Conceding that 100% acceptance to any new measure was not possible, Modi, however, said progress could not be gained without shedding the status quo mindset. Recalling the late farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh’s words on farm fragmentation, he said: “We cannot progress if we do not care for small farmers, who constitute 80% of the farming community Fragmentation is a re. ality, and this is what the farmers’ producers organisations aim to address.” “A new world order is in the Feb 12: All toll plazas in Rajasthan will be made toll free Feb 14: Candle and mashaal march across the country Feb 16: Solidarity day to mark birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram Feb 18: Four-hour rail roko across the country making in the post-Corona era, and we have to choose between being a mute spectator and making reforms. An Atmanirbhar Bharat will play a crucial role in the new world order,” the prime minister asserted. When Congress members began disrupting his speech, Modi took potshots at them, saying it was divided and confused. “The party has different stands in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. It can neither work for its own good nor solve the country’s challenges,” he said even as Congress and TMC members staged a walk-out. He also made a distinction between andolankari (protesters)and andolan jivi (professional protesters), saying the former is pious while the latter is an anarchist. The kisan anP7 dolan is pious, he said. fundamental right to free expression under Indian law,” Twitter said. The ministry termed Twitter’s statement as ‘unusual’, posting its response first on a rival platform, Koo, which garnered more than three million downloads in two days. Later, MeitY Secretary Ajay Sawhney ticked off top Twitter officials Monique Meche and Jim Baker at a virtual meeting. “India has a robust mechanism for protection of freedom of speech and expression un- Fully Indian firm Aprameya R, the co-founder and CEO of Koo, said it is an India registered firm backed by investors like 3one4 capital. A Chinese investor, Shunwei, is also a shareholder, but will exit fully China, India pull back combat vehicles in Ladakh Odisha Govt moves Supreme Court over Kotia dispute Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government is reported to have moved the Supreme Court challenging the process initiated by the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission to hold panchayat polls in three disputed villages in Kotia panchayat in Koraput district. Besides, a contempt petition will also be filed against Andhra Pradesh government by Odisha for flouting a 2006 interim order of the Supreme Court to maintain status quo in respect of the Kotia cluster of villages. Deputy secretary in the Law department Bhagaban Nayak confirmed that a decision has been taken to file two petitions, one challenging the panchayat polls and the other, a contempt petition. Andhra Pradesh has fixed February 13 and 17 for holding rural polls in the three villages. wrong tunnel Search faces layout crisis; direction changed V i n e e t U pa d h yay @ Tapovan (Uttarakhand) It’s not just the topography that has made the rescue of 37 workers stuck in the Tapovan tunnel following flash floods on Sunday, difficult. “For the first two days, we were blind,” said a senior rescue official as they did not have the layout of the tunnels they were negotiating with. The layout plan was shared only on Tuesday and a course correction was ordered the following day . Till Wednesday, the assumption was 37 workers were trapped at a point 180 metres deep into the Tapovan tunnel at a bend, which was why sludge was cleared up to 130 E x p r e ss N e w s S e rv i c e @ Bhubaneswar @ New Delhi express read Rescue operations continue at Tapovan Tunnel in Joshimath | Shekhar Yadav metres and beyond. The plan changed to start drilling the ground at 70-75 metres inside the tunnel to reach a silt filtration tunnel there, as officials now think the workers could be trapped there. The decision was taken at a combined meeting of state officials, the armed forces and the NTPC, which is developing the power plant. Confirming the change, R Raman, commissioner of Garhwal division, told TNIE, “Information is constantly emerging and developing because everything is based on anticipation on the basis of the tunnel’s layout. Today we found that the sludge is pushing back from the tunnel. A consensus was reached to look for the workers in silt filtration tunnel below the tunnel.” Why the Hyderabad-based tunnel developer, Rithwik Projects Pvt Ltd, took this long to share the layout when network connectivity was available and the company’s officers were very much on site boggles P7 the mind. acted by Parliament must be followed,” he emphasised. Legal experts said Twitter may have very few options since it has only partly complied with the government orders, while free speech activists denounced the government’s crackdown on social media by using ‘legal weapons’. India remains a key market for the social media giant with more than 75 million active us- ers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has a 65.5 million strong user base with his key cabinet colleagues as well as government departments active on the site. Ministers Piyush Goyal and Ravi Shankar Prasad and actress Kangana Ranaut were amongst those who shifted to Koo, which also onboarded key government departments on Wednesday . Where’s the chill? Warmer Jan for Odisha, Capital hottest in a decade M AYAN K S IN G H a n d P U S H K A R B ANA K A R After a nine-month-long stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, the situation appeared to ease a tad on Wednesday as both China and India began a “synchronised and organised” disengagement process. While Indian sources said it was limited to armoured vehicles, the Chinese Ministry of National Defence claimed that the frontline troops from both sides along the Pangong Tso had started disengaging. Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defence, said: “The Chinese and Indian frontline troops at the southern and northern banks of the Pangong Tso started synchronized and organised disengagement from February 10.” It was in accordance with the consensus at the ninth round of China-India Corps Commander level meeting, he added. From the Indian side, a senior Army officer confirmed the pullback of armoured vehicles, including infantry combat vehicles. “The armoured vehicles are moving back but troops at the frontline have not been thinned,” he said. The disengagement is expected to happen in phases, another senior officer said. “The infantry moving back will be the last step; it will depend on compliance of the phased disengagement from the Chinese side,” the officer said. The disengagement began on a day when the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, in an article said that the two countries should meet each other half way in addressing problems while putting the boundary issue in an appropriate place in bilateral ties. “We should put the boundary issue in an appropriate place in bilateral relations.... “It’s important for China and India to respect each other, enhance mutual trust, seek common ground while shelving differences and meet each other half way,” Sun suggested. der Article 19 (1) of the Constitution. But freedom of expression is not absolute and it is subject to reasonable restrictions as mentioned in Article 19 (2),” he said. Sawhney said Twitter it is welcome to do business in India but must respect local laws and institutions. “Twitter is free to formulate its own rules and guidelines, like any other business entity but Indian laws en, Easterly winds penetrated in lower troposphere levels for a longer period in many parts of Odisha which is one of the reasons behind higher maximum and minimum temperature in the State last month Umasankar Das, scientist Capital city Bhubaneswar saw the warmest January in last 10 years, says an analysis by India Meteorological Department. That is also because the month was hotter across Odisha. At least 17 places in the State recorded temperatures which were warmer than the normal for the month. Bhubaneswar’s monthly average maximum and minimum temperature in January was 31 degree C and 17.4 degree C respectively, the highest between 2012 and 2021. At many places of the state, the monthly maximum temper- ature was above normal by over 2 degree C, especially in the interior districts. Sambalpur was warmer by 3.4 degree C, Sundargarh 2.9 degree, Baripada 2 degree, Bhawanipatna 1.9 degree, Keonjhar 1.8 degree and Bhubaneswar 1.7 degree. Similarly , Cuttack and Puri recorded 1 degree C and 1.1 degree C above normal in January . The Met office attributed the warmer nights and days in January to the easterly winds blowing towards the State. “Significant number of strong easterly waves passed through peninsular India consecutively causing excessive rainfall over south peninsular states. Under its influence, east- erly winds penetrated in lower troposphere levels for a longer period in many parts of Odisha which is one of the reasons behind higher maximum and minimum temperature in the State last month,” said Umasankar Das, scientist of Bhubaneswar Meteorolo gical Centre. Similarly in December last year, the monthly temperature was above normal by over 2 degree C at some places over north-west Odisha. However, monthly average minimum temperature during the same period was near normal in most places except Sambalpur where it was over 2 deCONTINUED ON: P5 gree C.
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