HYDERABAD WEDNESDAY MARCH 17, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE 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 NEW NATIONAL RECORD EN ROUTE TOKYO 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 ■ ■ 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 8.26 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 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 Trends and the big picture Gujarat to increase night curfew by 2 hours in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara from 10 pm to 6 am 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 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 that benefits outweigh its risks India recorded 24,492 new Covid cases, going past 20,000 for the sixth day in a row Double mutation variant detected in Maharashtra Its role in 2nd Covid wave under study; 20% of samples had 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 state. 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. FinMin under pressure as RBI wants complete ban on Bitcoin A N 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 Fi, nance 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 indus. try 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. 36 students of Keesara school contract Covid-19 The battle’s on: N’sagar bypoll on April 17 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad A new cluster of Covid-19 cases emerged in Medchal-Malkajgiri district after 36 students of the Telangana Minorities Welfare Residential School in Keesara, aged between 13 and 15 years, tested positive for the virus. The school has over 165 students and 19 faculty . It is learnt that the principal of the school rang up the local PHC on Monday, as many students began exhibiting symptoms of Covid19. T h e PHC t e am rushed to the school, and conducted Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) on all the residents. Among them, 36 were found positive for the virus. “At present, all of them are stable. As this is a large building with five floors, the patients have been isolated on the fifth floor. A full-time medical camp has been set up to monitor the students, regardless of whether they tested positive or negative in the RAT, and a 108 ambulance has been placed on standby in case of an emergency If . there is any complication, we will take the students to TIMS, Gachibowli, for treatment,” said Dr Mallikarjun, DMHO of Medchal-Malkajgiri district. It is unclear how these children contracted the virus, as the school had reopened in the first week of February for Classes IX and X, and the students have been housed inside, since then. All the 19 faculty, meanwhile, tested negative for the virus. “We have taken samples from those who tested negative in the RAT for RTPCR tests as well. The results will be in on Wednesday,” added the DMHO. The Covid-19 cluster has sent panic waves across the school with several parents insisting that their children return home with them. The school authorities and health department permitted those students who tested negative to go home, while prescribing them a 14-day compulsory home isolation. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE Election Commission of India (ECI) has sounded the bugle for byelection to the Nagarjunasagar Assembly seat in Telangana. The bypoll to the constituency will be held on April 17, according to the schedule released by the ECI on Tuesday . The seat fell vacant following the death of TRS MLA Nomula Narasimhaiah on December 1, 2020. According to the schedule, the byelection notification will be issued on March 23. The last date for filing nominations is March 30, and their scrutiny will take place on March 31. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 3. The votes will be counted on May 2. Though all the three major political parties in the State — the TRS, BJP and the Congress — consider the bypoll as a matter of prestige, no political party has announced their candidates yet. Recently, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had visited the Assembly segment and sanctioned 13 lift irrigation schemes worth more than `3,500 crore. The BJP is also very serious about defeating the ruling TRS candidate in the byelection. The Congress, which will most likely field former minister K Jana Reddy again, is trying to regain its past glory by winning the segment, which was once a Congress bastion. Amaravati land scam: CID summons Naidu EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Similar notice served on another TDP leader The notice served on Naidu said it was 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 during the TDP regime. The notices were served under Section 41 (A) of the CrPC @ Vijayawada THE Andhra Pradesh Crime Investigation Department (CID), which filed an 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. On Tuesday, TNIE broke the story of the CID’s FIR against Naidu for allegedly facilitating alienation of assigned lands in violation of the law. The notice served by investigating officer A Lakshmi Narayana Rao identified Chandrababu Naidu as Accused No.1. CONTINUED ON: P5 NOD FOR D.F.I. TO FUND INFRA PROJECTS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Parents take their wards home after 36 students of Telangana Minorities Welfare Residential School in Keesara test positive for Covid-19 | VINAY MADAPU EXPRESS READ 43 Osmania Medical College students fall sick; admitted to Gandhi Hosp Hyderabad: Around 43 students of Osmania Medical College were rushed to the Gandhi Hospital late on Monday night after they came down with severe diarrhoea. The students were diagnosed with food poisoning. It is being investigated whether they were infected by one of the canteen staff at the college. Two protesters shot dead in Myanmar as violence continues Yangon: At least two people protesting last month’s military coup in Myanmar were reported shot and killed by security forces on Tuesday after a morning of peaceful marches in parts of the country. The UN rights office corroborated that a total of 149 people had died in the crackdown since February 1 | P9 THE Union Cabinet on Tuesday cleared the proposal to set up a Development Finance Institution (DFI), which seeks to fix the financing woes of long-term infrastructure projects. As announced in the Budget, the government will initially infuse `20,000 crore in the DFI and raise up to `3 lakh crore in the next few years. While DFI will start off as 100% government owned, the Centre will bring down its stake to 26%. “Past attempts to have al- ternative investment funds securities to the DFI, by were taken up, but for vari- which cost of funds will come ous reasons, we ended up down. All this will help DFI with no bank which could leverage initial capital and take up long-term risk and draw funds from various fund development. sources; it will also Following this, the have a positive imUnion Cabinet has pact on the bond marcleared the setting up ket,” Sitharaman of a DFI,” Finance said. Minister Nir mala Allaying fears that Sitharaman said. DFI could face the The DFI will get Nirmala Sitharaman same fate of similar tax benefits for 10 infrastructure fiyears. The government will nance companies in the past, also amend the Indian Stamp the FM said DFI will have a Act to attract global pension 100% professionally manfunds and sovereign funds. aged board with at least 50% “The Union government is of them being non-official also planning to issue some directors. COMPENSATION ROW Apex court sends back Ananthagiri Sagar oustees case to Telangana HC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad IN a significant development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday remanded the case concerning the payment of compensation to Ananthagiri Sagar Reservoir oustees to the Telangana High Court for hearing again. The said reservoir is part of the mammoth Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS). Now, the High Court division bench, headed by the Chief Justice, must adjudicate the matter at the earliest. On June 3, 2020, a High Court division bench, headed by Justice MS Ramachandra Rao, had heard the batch petitions filed by several small farmers of Allipur and Ananthagiri villages in Siddipet and Rajanna-Sircilla districts respectively, whose lands were acquired or submerged under the Ananthagiri Sagar reservoir. The bench rejected the memo filed by the State Advocate General seeking adjournment of these cases. It held that the petitioners were entitled not only to compensation in accordance with Section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, but also to the lump sum amounts for rehabilitation and resettlement as per Section 31-A of the Act. The bench backed the farmers’ contentions that they were SC directs State AG not to seek any adjournment Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for TS govt, contended that the HC had passed the order without fully hearing the arguments. Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the State Advocate General did not argue the case in spite of the opportunities given by the HC. After hearing both the sides, the SC bench decided to remand the matter to the State HC for fresh adjudication and directed the AG not to seek any adjournment unwilling to sell their lands voluntarily as per the procedure prescribed in GO 123, and that the State government had paid a compensation of `13 lakh per acre in May 2017, to others own, ing similar lands abutting theirs in Lingareddypally village. The petitioners alleged that they were discriminated against, and were paid only `6.5 lakh per acre. The bench declared that the consent awards entered into by the petitioners with the State were vitiated by coercion, and held that the actions of the government were violative of Article 14 and 300-A. Further, the bench directed the State to pay costs to the tune of `2,000 to each petitioner. Aggrieved with the orders, the Telangana government had filed the present appeals. While dealing with the appeals by State government, a Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari, stayed the impugned judgment until the subsequent hearing of the case. The TRS and the BJP are exploring various options when it comes to candidate selection. It appears that the saffron party is waiting for the TRS to announce its candidate. If the TRS gives its ticket to Nomula Narasimhaiah’s son Bhagath or any other leader from the Yadava community, then the BJP will decide its candidate accordingly . Reddys and Yadavas are the main contenders for the ticket in both the BJP and the ConP2 gress. BOTCHED PROBES Mumbai Police chief 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 by 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. A senior minister said it has now come to light that Waze had stage-managed the bomb scare on the instructions of Singh. The alleged aim was to show that even India’s richest man’s family is not safe from threats to their lives and need Z-plus security urgently. “But the plan went awry because of multiple loopholes. Also, top leaders of the state were not also ke p t i n t h e loop. In sum, Singh was peddling his own Sachin Waze agenda and not working for the government. In fact, he had slowed down work in politically sensitive cases,” he said requesting anonymity . For instance, the second chargesheet in the TRP scam has to be filed. “But the Mumbai Police crime branch team that was investigating it, has been dragging its feet. The second chargesheet has more incriminating details, but the police claimed they were under pressure from Delhi to stall the process. This has annoyed the political leadership,” said a highly placed source. A couple of names for appointment as the new Mumbai Police commissioner are doing the rounds, including that of Rajnish Seth, who is currently serving as Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.