CHENNAI FRIDAY FEBRUARY 19, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 VELLORE EDITION FARMERS’ RAIL BLOCKADE PEACEFUL TRAINS HALTED AT STATIONS IN FEROZEPUR CAUTIOUS DELHI METRO In Punjab, protesters sat on tracks at many places on the DelhiLudhiana-Amritsar railway route. The Ferozepur division halted trains at stations so that passengers faced less inconvenience during the protest Entry and exit at four metro stations, including at the Tikri border, were shut by the DMRC authorities for nearly four hours in view of the security situation due to a rail blockade. The Tikri Border metro station is near the farmers’ protest site. The entry, exit points were reopened after the four-hour protest ended. Meanwhile, the Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel kept a tight vigil in several parts of the National Capital RESUMED NORMAL OPERATIONS AFTER 4 PM The noon to 4 pm agitation had minimal impact on train services across the country, Indian Railways officials said No untoward incident was reported. Train movement in all the zones resumed normal operations after the agitation. The railways had deployed 20 additional companies of the RPF across the country, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal ELSEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY At least 12 people were detained at Lasur station in Aurangabad after they stopped the Jalna-Mumbai Janshatabdi train ahead of the protest schedule In Rajasthan, the Rewari-Sri Ganganagar special train was cancelled. Apart from this, the protest was largely symbolic with little impact on traffic In Bengaluru, the protest was lowkey but there was a good turnout of protesters in Raichur, Belagavi and Davangere, where some were arrested 25 TRAINS REGULATED DURING THE STIR Farmers leader Rakesh Tikait said there would be no let up in the protest, and urged his colleagues to even be prepared to sacrifice their standing crop 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 BIG SPLASH L 14.25 cr Glenn Maxwell (RCB) Franchises spent big on all-rounders and bowlers at the IPL player auction in Chennai on Thursday L 16.25 cr Chris Morris (RR) L 14 cr Jhye Richardson (PK) L 9.25 cr K Gowtham (CSK) L 15 cr Kyle Jamieson (RCB) L 8 cr Riley Meredith (PK) L 7 cr Moeen Ali (CSK) TENDULKAR SON IN MI The last buy at 2021 Player Auction was that of Arjun, the son of Sachin Tendulkar. Mumbai Indians bought the left-arm seamer at his base price of `20 lakhs PACERS ARE THE NEW SEXY Bowlers capable of generating heat (think Ferguson, Bumrah, Nortje, Rabada Archer) have done well in recent seasons. So it was no surprise to see the likes of Meredith -- who touches north of 145 km/ ph easily -- commanding attention. Put Milne (Mumbai) and Richardson (Punjab) in the same bracket. SPECIALIST OPENERS FAIL If recency bias was anything, Alex Hales, who was an inspiration at the Big Bash, should have got a bid. But he didn’t. One reason maybe he doesn’t bowl. Ditto Jason Roy. Liam Livingstone, a six-hitting machine, got a bid but only because he bowls the odd over. Pondy govt to face Nephew and son in the spotlight as trust vote on Mon Shah, Didi trade barbs on nepotism EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Puducherry WITHIN hours of taking charge, Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Thursday directed Chief Minister V Narayanasamy to prove his government’s majority on the floor at a special session of the Assembly to be convened on February 22. According to a Raj Nivas release, following the disqualification of one MLA and resignation of four others, all from the Congress, the strength of the Assembly has changed — with both the ruling and Opposition alliances having 14 legislators each. The release said the Lieutenant Governor had passed orders directing the summoning of the Assembly and had , also conveyed the matter to the Chief Minister. As per the directions issued, the voting will take place by a show of hands, and the entire proceedings will be videotaped. The floor test should be completed by 5 pm, and proceedings must not be ad- journed, delayed or suspended at any cost. The Lieutenant Governor has also directed the Chief Secretary and the DGP to take necessary steps to ensure there is no restraint or hindrance whatsoever on any of the MLAs in attending the trust vote. Currently in the ruling alli, ance, Congress has 10 MLAs, DMK has 3, and 1 is an independent candidate. In the opposition, NR Congress has 7 MLAs, AIADMK has 4, and BJP has 3 nominated members. Earlier in the day, Opposition leaders called on the Lieutenant Governor and reiterated their request for the Narayanasamy government to prove its majority on the floor. The current Lieutenant Governor, Tamilisai Soundararajan, assumed additional charge of Puducherry only on Thursday morning, in a simple ceremony held at the Raj Nivas. Chief Justice of Madras High court Sanjeeb Banerjee administered the oath of office and secrecy to her. She took the oath in Tamil. NGT PANEL TO PROBE CRACKER FACTORY BLAST E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai/Virudhunagar THE principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken suo moto cognizance of the Virudhunagar firecracker factory blast and formed an eight-member committee headed by former Madras High Court judge Justice K Kannan. The committee, among other things, has been tasked with visiting the site of the explosion, studying how it happened, and suggesting steps to prevent the recurrence of such mishaps. It is to submit a report within a month. The police, meanwhile, have arrested five people, including the owner of Sree Mariyammal Fireworks Factory of Achankulam, Santhanamari, and have added six more people to the list of accused persons. The NGT took up the matter based on an article published in TNIE, and issued notices to the State government, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Virudhunagar District Magistrate and Sree Mariyammal Fireworks Factory The blast, which occurred . CONTINUED ON: P3 on February 12, left 19 people dead. P R A N A B M O N D A L @ Kolkata UNION home minister Amit Shah and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee were on Thursday locked in a war of words while addressing two separate rallies in South 24 Parganas district on the issue of nepotism. With Shah accusing Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee of siphoning off the Centre’s grants meant for people’s welfare and warning that the BJPled government, after wresting power in Bengal, would bring all culprits to book, Mamata hit back saying Shah’s son will also not be spared either for earning crores of rupees. Abhishek represents Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas in the Lok Sabha and Jai Amit Shah is the powerful secretary of the Indian cricket board. @ Coimbatore A three-month-old boy died at Masakalipalayam on Wednesday hours after he was admin, istered the pentavalent vaccine. While the parents blamed the vaccine, a health department official said the baby died of pneumonia. In a complaint lodged with the Singanallur police, the child’s mother said they took him to an Anganwadi at Masakalipalayam, where vaccines, including Pentavalent, Rotavirus (RVV), and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) were administered. Two hours after returning from the hospital, the child developed breathing difficulties and was taken to a PHC in Uppilipalayam. He was referred to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH), where doctors declared him dead. “Preliminary investigation Amit Shah, Union home minister While addressing a rally at Namkhana, Shah said, ‘’Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government gave financial assistance of `3,59,000 crore in the past five years for the people of West Bengal. But the money was siphoned off by the nephew and his men. If the BJP wrests power in Bengal, the new government will find the culprits even if they take refuge under the ground, and put them behind bars.’’ A riled Mamata for the first time responded to the nephew barb. “Every day you (Shah) Your son is earning crores of money. How? Your son will also not be spared Mamata Banerjee, chief minister raise the nephew issue. Your son is earning crores of money . How? Your son will also not be spared,’’ she growled. Alleging corruption in distributing relief to cyclone Amphan’s victims, Shah said the Centre’s grant was stolen by Abhishek and TMC’s goons. A few kilometres away from Shah’s rally venue, Mamata gave it back while addressing a gathering in Pailan in the same district. “My family will not do anything that could malign the image of Bengal... Abhishek is facing attacks because of me.’’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday suggested the creation of special visas for doctors and nurses in neighbouring countries to help them respond to health emergencies in the region more effectively . The prime minister was addressing a workshop, initiated by India, on Covid management. “Over the past year, our health cooperation has already achieved so much. Can we now think of raising our ambition further? Can we consider creating a special visa scheme for our doctors and nurses, so that they can travel quickly within our region during health emergencies, on the request of the receiving country?” he said. The workshop assumed significance as for the first time in years, Pakistan attended an With fresh Covid cases spiralling again, Maharashtra ordered a 10-day lockdown in Yavatmal district from Thursday night. Also, weekend lockdown was announced in Amravati district from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday. The state reported 4,787 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest one-day count this year Mystery shrouds death of 2 UP girls, 3rd critical ... over a proposed law to force it to share ad revenue with media. Here’s why it’s putting the squeeze THE BIG NUMBERS 17 million N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow Australians disenfranchised from sharing news content 50% People dependent on Google and Facebook for news access 2.8 billion Facebook users worldwide can’t share articles from Australian publishers OZ BILL Aims to make big tech firms compensate local media for losses in advertising revenue FB COUNTERPOINT 5.1 billion $315 million Free referrals Worth revenue for Australian generated for publishers created publishers WHY WORRY Fear Australia’s action can inspire similar laws across the world Google is already signing deals with publishers in other countries | P9 and postmortem revealed the child died of pneumonia. He was down with pneumonia for more than a week, but the parents were unaware and failed to give immediate treatment,” said deputy director of the Health Department G Rameshkumar. He added that the baby was among 14 children who were administered the vaccine at the centre on Wednesday, and the other 13 have no complications. event initiated by India. Representatives of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles and Sri Lanka participated. Modi made a slew of other suggestions, including the creation of an air ambulance agreement and a platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of Covid vaccines among the population. Recalling how a Covid19 Emergency Fund was created last year by the SAARC member states, he sought cooperation for rapid deployment of vaccines. All countries, including Pakistan, supported Modi’s proposals, said sources. They suggested a structured discussion for regional cooperation on these proposals to take them forward. All countries, except Pakistan, thanked India and Modi for vaccine supply, and of medicines, equipment and training in the past. LOCKDOWNS BACK IN PARTS OF MAHARASHTRA FB ‘unlikes’ Australia Kovai baby dies hours after vaccination EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE The Centre’s grants have been siphoned off by the nephew and his men Modi moots spl visas for docs, nurses in India’s neighbourhood Edappadi K Palaniswami carries a baby while addressing a public meeting at Vallioor in Tirunelveli on Thursday | EXPRESS What is the point? Petitions given to Stalin end up nowhere, says EPS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Tenkasi/ Tirunelveli LASHING out at DMK president MK Stalin, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday said the Opposition leader didn’t resolve any grievances of the public when he was deputy chief minister, but has now “suddenly woken up at the age of 70 and started collecting petitions from the public.” Campaigning at Alangulam, Pavoorchatram and Tenkasi ahead of the Assembly elections, the CM demanded that Stalin explain the status of the petitions he collected before the Parliamentary elections in 2019, and urged the public to call the government’s new helpline instead of submitting petitions to Stalin. “The government received over 9 lakh petitions so far, and 5 lakh have been disposed of,” he asserted. Comparing the AIADMK and the DMK while campaigning at Valliyur in Tirunelveli district, Palaniswami alleged the Opposition party was functioning as a corporate company while his par, ty was a democratic one. “In AIADMK, any cadre who works hard can become chief minister... Stalin’s son Udayanidhi Stalin’s age is equivalent to my years of experience,” he stated. He further accused the DMK of making false promises, and cited how former DMK leader Karunanidhi had, in 2006, promised 2 acres each to landless farmers. “But, the farmers didn’t receive it,” he asserted. DMK MAKES FALSE PROMISES, SAYS CM Accusing the Opposition of making false promises, the CM cited how former DMK leader Karunanidhi had, in 2006, promised 2 acres each to landless farmers. “But, the farmers didn’t receive it. It’s the AIADMK govt that waived the loans of farmers and introduced many schemes for them.” ‘NO SECURITY FOR WOMEN UNDER DMK’ Interacting with women’s wing members in Kalakkad, the CM recalled an incident that happened in the Assembly in 1989 when former CM Jayalalithaa’s saree was pulled by DMK partymen, and said when DMK was in power there was no security for women | P4 TWO Dalit girls died while their sister was battling for life at a Kanpur hospital after they were found unconscious, with their hands tied, on their farm in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district on Wednesday . Police said the three girls were rushed to a community health centre (CHC), where two — aged 13 and 15 — of them were declared dead on arrival. The third girl, aged 17, was referred to the Regency Hospital in Kanpur, where she remains on life support. Regency Hospital official Paramjit Arora said: “On the basis of her medical checkup and condition, the doctors have called it a suspected case of poisoning. No external injury has been found on her body. Her condition is stable.” Meanwhile, the autopsy report of the two girls, too, ruled out physical or sexual assault and suggested poisoning as the cause of death. A three-doctor panel, which conducted the postmortem, has sent the samples of the girls’ viscera for chemical examination. According to Unnao SP Anand Kulkarni, the three girls had left their home around 3 pm on Wednesday to gather fodder. When they did not return till 9:30 pm, the family launched a search. The searchers found the girls lying unconscious in the field, their hands tied and frothing from their mouths. Their limbs were tied with a dupatta belonging to one of the girls.
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