tadepalligudem l wednesday l march 17, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION sreeshankar takes giant leap to book olympic berth Long jumper M Sreeshankar’s cleared 8.26m for the Games cut, TN’s Dhanalakshmi stuns Dutee Chand Sreeshankar dhanalakshmi too hogs limelight Tamil Nadu’s S Dhanalakshmi stunned the Asian Games medallist and national record holder Dutee Chand to win the 100m event at the Federation Cup. It was also the 22-year-old’s maiden title at the nationals. In the much-anticipated sprint final, Hima Das was shown the red card for a false start ■ 8.26 new national record en route tokyo ■ The 21-year-old from Kerala bettered his own national record in Patiala. Not a part of the jumps national camp, Sreeshankar is training separately under his father S Murali in Palakkad. Five race walkers, two javelin throwers and the mixed 4x400m relay team have earlier qualified for the Olympics | P11 sreeshankar improved on his own National mark of 8.20m 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 Double mutation variant detected in Maharashtra Its role in second Covid wave under study; 20% of Maha samples had the mutations S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi Scientific institutes tasked with genome sequencing of the Covid-19 virus in the country have alerted the Centre on a virus variant with double mutation in Maharashtra, whose possible role in the surge in cases is being probed, this newspaper has gathered. The institutes working on a project under the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have alerted the Union health ministry to label the variant with the double mutation as a likely variant of concern (VOC). VOCs have potential public health implications like the ones in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Sources working on the project said so far 7,000 virus samples have been sequenced, of which 200 were lifted from parts of Maharashtra, which has been hit the hardest with the fresh rise in cases. “Of the samples from Maharashtra, about 20% have two mutations, E484Q and L452R,” said a source. “While it is difficult to conclusively say that the variant is behind the surge, it has been established elsewhere that E484Q can escape antibody neutralisation and L452R is known to increase infectivity and has been linked to large pockets in the US.” The Centre in December had formed a genomic surveillance consortium — INSACOG — of 10 institutes under the NCDC to work on genome sequencing of virus samples from various parts of the country amid concern over detection of the UK variant in India. A team sent by the health ministry to Maharashtra had also pointed to a possible role of the variant virus causing the second wave of infections in the Maharashtra. Officials said an epidemiological investigation being undertaken by the NCDC, will involve probing whether variants are causing the disease to spread in clusters and whether they are more infectious. Epidemiologists will also examine whether there is significant digression in clinical outcomes in patients, found positive with the variant and whether people with previous history of infection are also being found re-infected with the mutant virus. The government has earlier categorically denied the role of the virus with E484Q or any other mutation in the surge, but this mutation appearing with L452R in a region with a massive surge of infections has triggered fresh worries. Trends and the big picture n MP govt to impose night curfew in Bhopal and Indore from Wednesday (10 pm to 6 am). Also, shops ordered to close at 10 pm in eight other cities n Gujarat to increase night curfew timings by two hours in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot from 10 pm to 6 am n India recorded 24,492 new COVID-19 cases, going past 20,000 for the sixth day in a row. Total cases in the country stood at 1,14,09,831 n 5.86 crore doses of Made in India Covid vaccines provided to 71 countries both as grant as well as commercial sales as of Monday n Amid concern over adverse effects of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, the European regulator said there was no indication the shot was responsible for blood clots, adding benefits outweighs risks n China makes it mandatory for people from India and 19 other nations to get Chinese-made vaccines if they want to visit the country @ Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh witnessed another sharp spike of 261 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours ending Tuesday 9 am. The fresh spike came from just 23,417 samples tested, indicating the rapid spread of virus in the State. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, at a review meeting with officials, said more focus can be put on Covid vaccination once the elec- tions to MPTCs and ZPTCs are completed. According to the media bulletin released by the State Command Control Room, Guntur reported the highest number of 41 new infections, followed by Visakhapatnam with 39 cases. Nine districts reported a double digit daily count. Vizianagaram is fresh cases Deaths samples tested 261 0 125 23,417 araman told reporters. @ New Delhi The DFI will get tax benefits for 10 years. The governThe Union Cabinet on Tues- ment will also amend the day cleared the proposal to Indian Stamp Act to attract set up a Development Fi- global pension funds and nance Institution (DFI), sovereign funds. which seeks to fix the financ“Union gover nment is ing problem of long-term in- also planning to issue some frastructure projects. securities to Development As announced in the Finance Institution, by Budget, the governwhich cost of funds ment will initially will come down. All infuse `20,000 crore this will help DFI in the DFI and raise leverage initial capup to `3 lakh crore ital and draw funds in the next few from various sourcyears. While DFI es; will also have a will start off as positive impact on 100% government Nirmala Sitharaman the bond market in owned, the Centre India,” FM said. will bring down its stake Allaying fears over the gradually to 26%. fate of similar infrastruc“Past attempts to have al- ture finance companies in ternative investment funds the past, the FM said DFI were taken up, but for vari- will have a 100% professionous reasons, we ended up ally managed board with at with no bank which could least 50% of them being nontake up long-term risk and official directors. The board fund development. Follow- will comprise persons of ing this, Union Cabinet has eminence and the chairpercleared the setting up of a sonship will also be an emiDFI,” Finance Minister Sith- nent person, the FM added. E x p r e s s ne w s s e r v i c e the only district, which did not report a new case. The combined count of new infections in four Rayalaseema districts went past 100, while the three north coastal Andhra reported 45 new cases. The spike in daily count has led to rise in the number of active cases, which surged P5 past 1,500. Recoveries Cabinet NOD FOR d.f.i. TO FUND INFRA PROJECTS An u r a d h a S h u k l a @ New Delhi The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the finance ministry are at loggerheads over cryptocurrency . While the RBI is pushing for a blanket ban on cryptocurrency, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman prefers to keep all options open, sources said. “RBI has strongly communicated its reservation against cryptocurrency and has recommended a blanket ban,” said a senior finane ministry official, adding that this was communicated to the government during an informal meeting last week. “From our side, we are not shutting all options off,” Sitharaman said recently This had given some . hope to the cryptocurrecy industry , which was fighting for acceptance in the country . However, if RBI and the government are not on the same page, then the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, slated to be taken up in Parliament in the current session, could be delayed Sources say RBI’s strong position in last week’s meeting has forced the ministry to soften its stance. Naidu asked to appear before CID on March 23 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The Andhra Pradesh Crime Investigation Department (CID), which filed a First Information Report (FIR) against former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in connection with the alleged Amaravati land scam, served a notice on him at his Jubilee Hills residence in Hyderabad on Tuesday Naidu has been directed to . appear in person before the Investigating Officer at the CID regional office in Vijayawada on March 23. “Failure to attend or comply with the terms of the notice, you will be liable for arrest under Section 41 (3) and (4) of CrPC,” the notice warned. The New Indian Express first broke the story of the C I D ’s F I R a g a i n s t Naidu for allegedly facilitating alienation of assigned lands in violation of the law. The notice served by investigating of ficer A Lakshmi Narayana Rao identified Naidu @ Vijayawada The Election Commission on Tuesday announced that byelection to Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency will held on April 17. The bypoll was necessitated following the death of sitting MP Balli Durgaprasad Rao of YSRC in September 2020 due to Covid-19. The counting of votes will be held on May 2. Soon after the announcement of bypoll date for the SC reserved constituency, the YSRC finalised the name of physiotherapist M Gurumoorthy as its candidate. The TDP had already announced the candidature of former Union minister Panabaka Lakshmi for Tirupati byelection. Initially, Durgaprasad Rao’s son Kalyan Chakravarthy was tipped to be the YSRC candidate for the bypoll, but YSRC chief and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy chose him for the Legislative Council. In the 2019 elections, Durgaprasad Rao, a four-time MLA, defeated TDP nominee Panabaka Lakshmi by a margin of more than 2.28 lakh votes. He secured more than 7.22 lakh votes, while the TDP candidate could get a little over 4.94 lakh votes. Interestingly, it was NOTA which got 25,000 votes. Congress, BSP and BJP were polled less than NOTA votes. The YSRC is riding high on its landslide victory in the recently held elections to urban local bodies. It won all the four urban local bodies that fall in the limits of Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency, including Tirupati Municipal Corpora- SEC can’t probe unanimous polls: HC E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday struck down the order of the State Election Commission (SEC) to the district collectors to reinstate the nominations, which were withdrawn under duress or force by some candidates in the elections to MPTCs and ZPTCs. The process to conduct elections to MPTCs and ZPTCs commenced last year, but were postponed due to Covid-19. as Accused No.1 and asserted that it was deemed necessary to examine him to “ascertain facts which are within your exclusive knowledge.” A similar notice was served on TDP leader Ponguru Narayana Rao, who was the minister for municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD) during the TDP regime. The notices were served under Section 41 (A) of the CrPC. The FIR was registered based Tirupati Lok Sabha byelection on April 17, YSRC fields Gurumoorthy E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e AP sees sharp spike of 261 Covid cases, focus on vaccination after MPTC polls E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e FinMin under pressure as RBI wants complete ban on Bitcoin On February 18 this year, the SEC issued the order directing the district collectors to receive complaints if any from the candidates who withdrew their nominations under duress, enquire into them and submit a report to the commission. Following this, some candidates who were declared elected unopposed and given For m 10, moved the High Court challenging the SEC order. After hearing the case, Justice DVSS Somayajulu said the Returning Officer can declare the result of the unanimous election and if there are any objections, the same should be challenged before the Election Tribunal. Justice Somayajulu made it clear that the Election Commission does not have the power to inquire into the complaints after the declaration of P4 poll results. tion and Naidupet, Sullurpet and Venkatagiri municipalities. Opposition TDP and BJPJana Sena combine fared poorly in all the civic bodies. Banking on its alliance with the Jana Sena Party the BJP is , keen to win the bypoll to prove itself as an alternative to the YSRC in the State politics. Dr Gurumoorthy was Jagan’s physiotherapist during his Praja Sankalpa Yatra. Hailing from an agricultural family from Mannasamudram village in Yerpedu mandal of Chittoor district, he is a strong follower of former Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy While stud. ying Bachelor of Physiotherapy, he got an opportunity to meet Rajasekhara Reddy several times and with the help of the latter, he established the AP State Physiotherapy Council. on a compliant by Mangalagiri MLA and YSRC leader Alla Ramakrishna Reddy The CID reg. istered cases under Sections 166, 167, 217 and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) r/w 34, 35, 36 and 37 of the IPC and Section 3(1) (f) and (g) of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 and Section 3 of the Assigned Land Act (POT) 1977. The FIR also mentions unnamed officials besides Naidu, and Narayana. Sources said the then Guntur district Kantilal Dande might be named in due course of inP4 vestigation. Election schedule March 23 March 30 Issue of poll notification Last date to file nominations March 31 april 3 Scrutiny of nominations Last date for withdrawal of nominations April 17 Polling date May 2 - Election result Dr Maddila Gurumoorthy Panabaka Lakshmi YSRC candidate TDP nominee BJP candidate yet to be finalised express read 11 children taken ill due to food poisoning Visakhapatnam: Eleven children fell ill due to ‘food poisoning’ at an Anganwadi at Jagannadhavalasa in Srikakulam district on Monday. The kids were admitted to hospital at Cheepurupalli in Vizianagaram district. P K Sinha Pm Modi’s principal advisor steps down Urban local bodies to have two deputy chiefs Vijayawada: The AP government has decided to issue an ordinance and a supplementary notification in a day or two, facilitating election of two deputy mayors to municipal corporations and two vice-chiefs to municipalities. P4 The former Cabinet Secretary has resigned on personal grounds. Earlier, the PM’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra had resigned after LS polls in 2019 bomb scare at Ambani’s residence Mumbai Police Commissioner faces axe over Waze S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai After the embarrassing arrest of police officer Sachin Waze by the National Investigation Agency, Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh is likely to be replaced soon. In the talks Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had with NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday over the mishandling of the bomb scare attempt outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence and the death of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiren, both leaders agreed on sacking Singh. The meeting went on for more than an hour at the chief minister’s official residence. A senior minister said it has now come to light that Waze had stage-managed the bomb holes. Also, top leaders of the scare on the instrucstate were not also kept tions of Singh. The alin the loop. In sum, leged aim was to show Singh was peddling his that even India’s richown agenda and not est man’s family is not working for the govsafe from threats to ernment. In fact, he their lives and need Zhad slowed down work plus security urgently . in politically sensitive Sachin Waze “But the plan went cases,” he said. awry because of multiple loopFor instance, the second chargesheet in the TRP scam has to be filed. A couple of names for appointment as the new Mumbai Police commissioner are doing the rounds, including that of Rajnish Seth, who is serving as Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Interestingly, Seth met Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday .
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17-03-2021 of The New Indian Express-Tadepalligudem