tirupati l wednesday l march 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l anantapur EDITION India SKIPS votE on UNHRC Resolution ON sRI LANKA However, the resolution was adopted at the United Nations body as it garnered the support of 22 of the 47 member states India ASKS lanka to empower Tamils Eleven members voted against the resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ tabled by the Core Group on Sri Lanka consisting of countries such as the UK, Canada and Germany. India, however, reiterated its demand to devolve political power to Tamils in Sri Lanka including holding early polls to provincial councils ■ 14 gLOBAL PRESSURE to probe war crimes ■ The resolution calls upon the Sri Lankan government to ensure thorough and impartial investigation on all its alleged war crimes The resolution was moved after a scathing report released by the UN rights watchdog in January warned that Colombo’s lack of accountability increased the risk of war crimes Countries, including India, abstained from voting on the sri lanka resolution 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 Adani to acquire controlling stake in GPL E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Vijayawada The Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) on Tuesday said it is acquiring the controlling stake of 58.1 per cent held by DVS Raju and Family in the Gangavaram Port Limited (GPL). The acquisition is valued at `3,604 crore and subject to regulatory approvals. Gangavaram Port located next to Vizag port, is the second largest non-major port in Andhra Pradesh with a 64 million metric tonnes (MMT) capacity established under the concession from the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) that extends till 2059. It is an all-weather, deep water and multipurpose port capable of handling fully-laden super capesize vessels of up to 200,000 DWT. At present, the GPL operates nine berths and it has freehold land of 1,800 acres. The GPL handles a diverse mix of dry and bulk commodities, including coal, iron ore, fertilisers, limestone, bauxite, sugar, alumina and steel. The GPL is the gateway port for a hinterland spread over eight States across eastern, southern and central India. “With a master plan capacity for 250 MMT per annum with 31 berths, the GPL has sufficient headroom to support future growth,” a statement by the Adani Ports and Logistics said. The GPL will benefit from the APSEZ’s pan-India footprint, logistics integration, customer centric philosophy operational efficiencies , and strong balance sheet to deliver a combination of high growth, the statement P4 said. express read 3 caught stealing from Srivari Hundi Tirumala: TTD vigilance sleuths caught three persons when they stole cash from Srivari Hundi in the temple on Tuesday. The trio hailing from Chittoor, visited Tirumala on Monday. After darshan in the morning, they stole currency notes from the Hundi on the pretext of making offerings to the Lord. The guards caught the trio and recovered `30,000 from them. They were handed over to Tirumala police SC ends moratorium interest riddle Rules compound interest during grace period be waived; asks banks to refund amounts collected E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that compound interest on loans of all borrowers between March and August 2020 will be fully waived. This is nothing but a fiscal stimulus bearing an SC imprint and is, strangely, effective retrospectively It may also be . the first time interest-on-interest is being waived uniformly which , will cost the exchequer `15,000 crore. Of this, the Centre had presumably spent `5,500 crore. Hearing a batch of petitions, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan refused to allow a complete waiver of interest on loans, which the government pegged at `6 lakh crore. Such a sum could charge the earth and seriously impact the financial health of a string of banks. The SC also refused to extend the moratorium period beyond August 2020 Last October, the Centre agreed to waive interest-on-interest component for retail and small business loans up to `2 crore for six months. The benefit was extended to MSMEs, education loans, housing loans, loans ‘Fiscal policies not amenable to judicial review’ Noting that policy decisions are better left to the government and regulators, the bench said economic policies are not amenable to judicial review and court can’t interfere unless there are malafides and arbitrariness for consumer durables, credit card dues, auto loans, personal and professional loans and consumption loans. The waiver will now be extended to all borrowers, including large industries. Any amount collected as compound interest shall be adjusted to the next instalments payable. The SC also lifted asset standstill on loans. This means, banks are now free to classify loans as bad if they deemed so and make recoveries. It is estimated the NPAs will swell by `1.3 lakh to P12 `8.5 lakh crore. Vax eligibility for 45+ from next month S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday approved Covid-19 vaccination for all citizens above 45 years across the country beginning April 1, adding an estimated 18-19 crore people to the beneficiary list. By expanding the ambit, about 30% of the India’s 1.3 billion population can expect to shield themselves against the pandemic. The vaccines can be taken free of cost in government hospitals or by paying `250 per dose in private facilities. “I appeal to every citizen who is 45 or above to register for vaccination,” Union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said after the Cabinet meeting. “This decision has been taken by the Cabinet on the basis of the advice of the coronavirus task force and experts,” he said, assuring there is enough supply of vaccine to ensure immunisation of all eligible beneficiaries. The expansion of the vaccination drive comes in wake of what looks like a second wave of the pandemic in several states with chief ministers of Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab, asking the Centre to let all above 40 or 45 years take the jab. So far, nearly 4.85 crore across categories have got the shots, of whom about 80 lakh have completed the two dose regimen. from 40,715 New cases across India, 80.9% of which areand TN Maharashtra, 202.3 Case doubling time on March 23 Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh as against 504.4 on March 1 Parents of the students who tested positive for Covid-19, throng a residential college in Rajamahendravaram on Tuesday, demanding that they be sent home | Express Plea to resume poll process Plan to give Covid jabs to 3 lakh a day E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Vijayawada With the spurt in Covid-19 cases, the State government has decided to conduct massive awareness programmes to sensitise people on the preventive measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. Deputy Chief Minister (Health) Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas (Nani) and Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy convened a review meet on Tuesday and decided to organise awareness programmes involving all the government departments. Officials were asked to expedite the vaccination drive by administering Covid vaccine to more than three lakh beneficiaries a day The . vaccination drive will be continued in all the village and ward secretariats, 1,930 government and 634 Aarogyasri network hospitals. AP records 492 cases, 163 quarantined in EG college E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Vijayawada / Rajamahendravaram Andhra Pradesh witnessed a sharp spike of 492 new Covid infections in the 24 hours ending Tuesday 9 am. This is the highest daily count in the past two months. Out of the total 492 cases, 168 were reported from East Godavari district alone. The total infections in East Godavari have now breached the 1.25 lakh mark, the highest among the districts in the State. As many as 163 students of a private residential college in Rajamahendravaram rural mandal tested positive for the virus, which led to the sharp spike in the new infections. District Medical and Health Officer Dr Vegi Nagabhushanam said the area was declared a containment zone. On the directions of the Collector, the inmates of the residential college were not allowed to leave the premises. The infect- ed students were shifted to a separate block while the others were put in another block. The entire college premises was taken over by the Medical and Health Department. There are 900 students in the college. Tests were conducted for all students. Police and medical teams were deployed in the college. “All the affected students are asymptomatic. We directed the college management to suspend classes indefi- nitely the DMHO said. ,” Meanwhile, a large number of parents thronged the college, raised slogans against the management and demanded that their wards be handed over to them. However, the district authorities said the affected will be provided medicare on the college premises itself by converting one block into an isolation ward. The authorities said if the students are allowed to go out, virus will spread to other parts P4 of the district. covid spread Telangana shuts schools, colleges E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Hyderabad for god’s grace Table tennis player Naina Jaiswal visits Tirumala on Tuesday to seek divine blessings | Express All educational institutions in Telangana, except for medical colleges, will be temporarily closed from Wednesday due to spike in Covid-19 cases. Education Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy made a statement to this effect in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday The decision was . taken in the wake of students in several educational institutions testing positive for Covid-19 of late. “Covid-19 is spreading again in the country Same is the case . with the neighbouring States. Sporadic cases of Covid-19 have also been reported in educational institutions in the State. The government is of the opinion that sporadic cases could again explode into a pandemic if teaching and non-teaching activities continue on a mass scale,” the Education Minister said. She stated that educational institutions have been closed in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and other States. Sabitha said that parents were apprehensive following the rise in Covid cases. “We have received requests from parents to close the educational institutions in the State tempoP4 rarily . Six hotspots Andhra Mahila Sabha area Doodhbowli Agapuura Chintal Basti Golconda Ameerpet Officials say prevalence of hostels and shared accommodation spaces in these areas is the main reason for Covid clusters We are planning to increase vaccination in the district. At present, there are 77 vaccination centres in Hyderabad, which will be increased in the next few days Dr J Venkati, DMHO, Hyderabad HC refuses to direct SEC to hold MPTC, ZPTC elections E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Vijayawada The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday made it clear that it could not give any interim order to the State Election Commission (SEC) to conduct polls to MPTCs and ZPTCs. Justice DVSS Somayajulu, who heard the petition filed by Mettu Rami Reddy of Guntur seeking the court directions to the SEC to conduct the MPTC and ZPTC elections, said it could not come to a conclusion that SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar is not taking for- Court cannot ward the election process as he is direct SEC on proceeding on leave for three polls: Judge days. Justice Somayajulu Rami Reddy, in his petition, said the court can maintained that Ramesh Kumar point out any was not taking any steps to resume mistake committed the stalled process of MPTC and by a constitutional ZPTC elections to protect the inter- body but cannot ests of the opposition TDP in the direct it to discharge wake of the ruling YSRC’s thump- its duties in a ing victory in the elections to gram particular manner, panchayats and urban local bodies. refusing to give any The petitioner sought directions to interim orders to the the SEC for the conduct of polls. Election Commission Justice Somayajulu said the petitioner filed the writ petition before the completion of election process for urban local bodies. The petitioner made certain serious allegations against Ramesh Kumar of being biased and acting unilaterally P4 and made the SEC a respondent in the case. govt backs Bharat Bandh on March 26 The State government extended support to March 26 Bharat Bandh, which was called to protest against the Centre’s move to privatise Vizag steel plant | P4 Ex-CS Nilam among 3 probables for SEC post S V i s w a n at h @ Vijayawada As the incumbent State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar is due to retire by the end of this month, the State government is learnt to have sent a list of three former IAS officers to the Governor to appoint one among them as the new SEC. Apart from former Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney, who is now Principal Advisor to the CM, the government has also proposed the names of M Samuel, advisor to the Though all the three CM, and another retired IAS offic- retired bureaucrats in the list of probables, er L Premachandra Reddy . Though all the three retired bu- enjoy good rapport reaucrats enjoy good rapport with with Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Nilam Sawhney may be Reddy Nilam Sawhney may be the the first option of the , first option of the government for State government for the SEC post, sources said. Despite the SEC post the fact that the government had recently issued an order finalising Sources emoluments and staff for her office in the capacity of Principal Advisor to the CM, Nilam’s name has been included in the list of probables. As the government has allocated several crucial subjects to Nilam Sawhney to deal with in her capacity as Principal Advisor to the CM, the Governor may consider the name of one of the two other retired bureaucrats and in such circumstances, Samuel has a good chance to be P4 the new SEC, the sources said.
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