WARANGAL FRIDAY MARCH 05, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 14 CITY EDITION KERALA BJP PITCHES ‘METRO MAN’ SREEDHARAN AS CM FACE The technocrat will be the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, senior party leader and Union Minister V Muraleedharan said FINAL DECISION NOT TAKEN: MURALEEDHARAN The minister’s social media post on E Sreedharan’s leadership in the upcoming Assembly polls came hours after the party’s state chief K Surendran said he has requested the national leadership to announce the ‘Metro Man’ as NDA’s chief ministerial candidate. Muraleedharan later clarified that the BJP has not taken a final decision on it | P7 ■ April 6 END OF 24-YEAR ASSOCIATION WITH DMRC ■ Meanwhile, Sreedharan’s 24-year long career with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation ended on Thursday as he quit his advisory role The 88-year-old said age has not affected his health. “Mentally I am very strong. I will not be working like a normal politician. I will still be working like a technocrat,” Sreedharan added WHEN ELECTIONS TO THE 140-SEAT KERALA ASSEMBLY WILL HE 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 8.5% Defectors to get Bengal BJP ticket Party to focus on educational qualifications and innovative leadership skills of candidates EPFO keeps interest rate for FY21 same as last year M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has fixed the interest rate on provident fund deposits at 8.5% for 2020-21 — the same as the last year. The decision was taken at the 228th meeting of the Central Board of Trustees of the EPFO, held in Srinagar under the chairmanship of Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Union Minister of State for Labour & Employment. “The Central Board recommended 8.50% annual rate of interest to be credited on EPF accumulations in members’ accounts for the financial year 2020-21. The interest rate would be officially notified in the government gazette following which EPFO would credit the rate of interest into the subscribers’ accounts,” the board said in a statement. The decision came on the back of large withdrawals and fewer contributions throughout the last year amid the coronavirus pandemic. There were apprehension that the rate might be further reduced. Sources said the EPFO will be left with a surplus of `300 crore after crediting an interest rate of 8.5% for FY21 to its six-crore subscribers. In March 2020, EPFO had reduced the interest rate to 8.5% for 2019-20 — a seven-year low — from 8.65% in 2018-19. Net new enrolments with the retirement fund body grew 24% to 1.25 million in December, indicating a return to the pre-Covid levels of subscriber growth for the EPFO, according to the payroll data released last Saturday . BJP leaders Dharmendra Pradhan, Bhupender Yadav and Kailash Vijayvargiya after a meeting the Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi on Thursday | PARVEEN NEGI PARTY TO FIELD PROFESSIONALS IN KERALA, TN “In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the BJP will give ample scope to professionals with credible public achievements besides the committed cadre in the candidate selection, while the turncoats from the Congress will get the ticket in Puducherry,” sources stated. With the former “Metro Man” E Sreedharan in the saddle, the BJP is likely to experiment in candidate selection to gain popular attention in Kerala to further its aim to emerge as the third force in the state OVER 50% HYDERABADIS HAD COVID, CITY INCHING TOWARDS HERD IMMUNITY 54% people have antibodies: Study A sero-prevalence study found that the prevalence of Covid19 antibodies was the same, around 54%, among individuals who had suffered prominent symptoms and those who were asymptomatic. 90%, who had tested positive, were found to have the antibodies when the study was conducted in Jan Prevalence marginally higher in women According to the CCMB’s findings, while most of the wards showed a similarly uniform range of seroprevalence of antibodies, between 50% and 60%, a couple of wards showed as high as 70 per cent. A couple of others had a prevalence of 30%. The prevalence of antibodies was marginally higher among women (56%) IMRAN SEEKS TRUST VOTE AFTER SHOCK SENATE DEFEAT Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan has called for a vote of confidence of the National Assembly after the shock defeat of his cabinet colleague Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the Senate on Wednesday Finance minister Shaikh was trounced by former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, the joint opposition candidate fielded by Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) Gilani won the seat securing 169 votes against Shaikh’s 164, in a polling that saw cross-voting by Imran’s senators Imran later said he was prepared to sit in the Opposition if his vote of confidence motion was defeated in the National Assembly GHMC gets dressing down over illegal constructions THE Telangana High Court on Thursday took the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to task for failing to check the illegal constructions sprouting across the city . “The GHMC officials have allowed illegal constructions to take place right under their nose. Such activities have to be stopped,” it said and directed Dr Rakesh Mishra, CCMB director EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad MORE than half of Hyderabad’s one crore population may have been infected with Covid-19 and developed antibodies against the dreaded disease. A sero-prevalence study conducted in the city, for which blood samples were collected from 9,000 people, has detected the presence of antibodies against the novel Coronavirus among 54 per cent of the participants, indicating prior exposure to the virus. The 9,000 people were selected from 30 out of the 150 divisions of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), representative of all zones of the civic body . From each of the 30 wards, 300 people aged above 10 years were selected. The seroprevalence study was a joint effort between the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Bharat Biotech, the results of which were announced on Thursday . all the six zonal commissioners to file a detailed report on the number of identified illegal constructions in every zone, the notices issued and the action taken against officials and those prosecuted. It said reasons have to be given for failing to file vacate stay petitions before courts. A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, passed this P6 order in two PILs. CCMB director Dr Rakesh Mishra said the high prevalence of antibodies suggests that Hyderabad might be slowly moving towards herd immunity which will be acceler, ated with the ongoing vaccination drive. He stressed the need for people to continue following infection-preventive measures such as wearing a mask and also getting vaccinated, amid the threat of new coronavirus variants. According to a press release on the findings of the study by the CCMB, while most of the wards showed a similarly uniform range of seroprevalence of antibodies, between 50 per cent and 60 per cent, a couple of wards showed as high as 70 per cent. A couple of others had a prevalence of 30 per cent. The prevalence of antibodies was marginally higher among women (56 per cent) P7 than men (53 per cent). the people,” said a senior BJP functionary . Also, potential candidates who have the ability to take the party forward in the next decade, too, will get picked, the functionary added, In line with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is leaning towards fielding a large number of turncoats, including sitting legislators, who joined the party from the ranks of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, with sources saying that the star powers of actors and actresses, too, will be factored in, in tune with the electoral flavour of the state. While a few sitting MPs have evinced interests to contest Assembly elections in Assam, AT HEAVEN’S DOORWAY Learner’s License Renewal of driving license for which test of competence to drive is not required Duplicate DL Change of address in DL and certificate of registration Issuing international driving permit Surrender of class of vehicle from license Application for temporary registration of motor vehicle Application for registration of motor vehicle with fully built body Application for issue of duplicate certificate of registration Application for NOC for certificate of registration Notice of transfer of ownership of motor vehicle Application for transfer of ownership of motor vehicle Intimation of change of address in certificate of registration Endorsement or termination of hire-purchase agreement EXPRESSING concern over the unbridled streaming of content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, the Supreme Court on Thursday said a few platforms even show “pornographic materials” and that there should be a mechanism to screen such programmes. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to submit by Friday the government’s recent guidelines to regulate social media, messaging and streaming platforms. The observation came while the bench was hearing the plea of Amazon Prime Video’s India head Aparna Purohit challenging the Allahabad HC order rejecting her anticipatory bail in connection with FIRs lodged against her over the controversial Tandav web series. “A balance has to be struck as some OTTs are also showing pornographic materials,” said the bench, also comprising Justice R S Reddy Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appear. ing for Purohit, termed the case as ‘shocking’. Purohit is just an employee of Amazon, he said, adding she is neither a producer nor an actor, yet has been made an accused in 10 cases. Purohit has been accused of inappropriate depiction of UP police, Hindu deities and adverse portrayal of a character playing the PM. P9 Pune, Surat, Thane beat Hyd in ease of living EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad HYDERABAD, billed as one of the best places in the world to work, was ranked much below other cities in India in the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) and Municipal Performance Index (MPI) rankings released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on Thursday . The Ministry released the EoLI and MPI rankings for 2020, in which Hyderabad ranked 24th and 17th respec- tively, in the category of cities with over one million population. A senior official in the Municipal Administration Department, who did not want to be quoted, said he was baffled over 24th rank given to Hyderabad in EoLI. A senior official says it is weird how the city could not even make it to at least the top 10 the poor ranking at a time when Hyderabad stood number one for five years in a row since 2015 in the Mercer’s Quality of Living Index in India. He said it was weird how it could not even make it to at least the top 10. “We would have understood had Hyderabad been in top three or five list,” he said. EoLI is an assessment tool that evaluates the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban develop- DRIVING LICENCE Want your driving licence renewed? No need to bribe RTO sharks, you can do it online through Aadhaar-based authentication fromnow. A look at some of the DL-related services you can avail online E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao inspects the renovated Yadadri temple on Thursday, which is likely to reopen in May | P6 sources said the party isn’t in favour of fielding members of Parliament in West Bengal, as they would be tasked with help ing build the poll campaign. The West Bengal unit has recommended Trinamool Congress defector and former state minister Suvendu Adhikari from the Nandigram constituency against incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has already decided to contest from there. While the BJP may release the names of the candidates in West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry in the next few days, the party is likely to wait for the formal announcement of seat adjustments with allies in Assam and Tamil Nadu. Now, renew DL online OTTs need screening as some show porn, says SC “If I am out of the government, I will go to the people and bring them out to continue my struggle for the country. I will not let these traitors sit in peace,” he said | P11 Imran Khan, Pak PM @ Hyderabad People should continue to wear a mask and get vaccinated, amid the threat of new coronavirus variants In a televised address, Imran lashed out at the 11-party grand Opposition alliance for “making a mockery of democracy” and said he will never let the corrupt off the hook I will ask my members to show if they have confidence in me. If they say they have no confidence, I will sit on Opposition benches EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE WITH the BJP on Thursday getting down to the business of finalising candidates for all poll bound states, the thrust was on high skill-sets and qualifications along with the ability to resonate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for “innovative leadership to execute the vision of the party and the government on the ground.” While the BJP is likely to draft in fresh blood in Assam to beat anti-incumbency, professionals who are achievers are being favoured in West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The BJP’s central election committee meeting convened by party chief J P Nadda, was attended by Modi and senior Union ministers like Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Singh Tomar. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and leaders from the West Bengal party’s unit were among those who attended the meeting. The party is likely to release its list of candidates in the next few days in a phased manner in line with the staggered poll schedule. “Special focus during screening of candidates is on their educational qualifications and innovative leadership skills to execute the vision of the prime minister to connect the initiatives of the government with ment. The rankings were released in two categories — those with a population above a million and those with less than a million. Smaller cities such as Surat, Vadodara, Thane, Kalyan, Dombivili, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Raipur, Solapur and Pune performed better than Hyderabad in EoLI. The official said the list appeared rank-ridiculous, looking at the cities that have been listP6 ed above Hyderabad. This will reduce the compliance burden on citizens, helping them avail these services in a hassle free, contactless manner It will also reduce the footfall in RTO offices Aadhaar authentication mandatory for these contactless services FATHER OF SLAIN LAWYER RECORDS STATEMENT | P2 TRS MLA Mynampally’s aides attack SI E N S @Hyderabad CYBERABAD police on Thursday registered a case against TRS Malkajgiri MLA Mynampally Hanumantha Rao and his followers on charges of assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duty (Sec 353 of the IPC) at Petbasheerabad police station. The case was registered after Hanumantha Rao’s followers abused a Sub-Inspector and damaged his mobile phone. Police said on Wednesday evening, during a routine vehicle check, SI Krishnaiah stopped a vehicle coming in the wrong direction. The vehicle owner, claiming to be a follower of Hanumantha Rao, called the MLA and got him to speak to the SI so that no action would be taken against him. Later, the owner got into a heated argument with the SI. As a result, the MLA himself came to the spot and spoke to the SI, but his followers abused Krishnaiah. They snatched his phone and damaged it. Based on a complaint by the SI, a case was registered.
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