KOZHIKODE l thursday l September 02, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Air pollution cuts avg life expectancy by 6 yrs: Study Average Indian life expectancy cut short by 5.9 years, relative to what it would be if WHO guidelines were met, says a study Delhi, UP worst-affected states: study India’s average particulate matter concentration in 2019 was 70.3 microgram per cubic metre (μg/m3) compared with the WHO’s guideline of 10 μg/m3, according to a new study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. It said air pollution shortens lives of people by 9.7 years in Delhi and 9.5 years in Uttar Pradesh, the worst-hit states ■ 40% 1.3 billion Indians breathe dirty air? The study says air pollution has reduced the average life expectancy by 8.8 years for the people of Bihar, 8.4 years for Haryana and 7.3 years for Jharkhand. It further states that all of India’s 1.3 billion population lives in areas where the annual average particulate pollution level exceeds WHO norms | P7 of Indians exposed to pollution levels not seen in any other country 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 Taliban govt in the works, parleys on Forget numbers, restart economy, open schools: Experts tell state govt Express News Service U n n i k r i s h n a n S @ T’Puram With the US forces completely withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Taliban leaders are holding hectic negotiations to form a government in the wartorn country While some lead. ers of the outfit have claimed they have finalised the broad contours of the government, no formal announcement has been made yet. According to various reports, the delay is due to differences among various factions of the Taliban are vying for lucrative posts. It is widely believed that top Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada will head the regime as Supreme Leader from Kandahar, with his deputy Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar running the daily affairs of the government from Kabul. There are talks about including women in the government to make it inclusive, but the top posts are likely to be held by men. With the Kabul airport remaining inoperable after the withdrawal of US troops, the Taliban are in touch with both Qatar and Turkey for help to resume commercial flights. A Qatari aircraft landed in Kabul on Wednesday carrying a technical team to discuss the resumption of airport operations, Saudi Arabian TV channel Al Arabiya reported. In his address to the nation, US President Joe Biden defended his decision to withdraw all US troops ahead of the August 31 deadline. “This decision is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” he said. P9 A CROSS SECTION of senior doctors and healthcare professionals drawn from different parts of the world who joined an online discussion on Kerala’s Covid management strategy on Wednesday advised the government to resume economic activities in full scale as the staggering number of daily cases alone will not pose any threat to the state for the time being. Current restrictions such as Sunday lockdown and night curfew will not do any good to control the daily count, opined the experts who suggested that the government should relax them and focus on vaccinating each and everyone of the adult population at the earliest. After reviewing the situation, the experts also hinted that the high number of daily cases reported in Kerala will drop soon as vaccination and disease penetration will together give society a formidable level of herd immunity very soon. As long as the number of serious cases could be controlled, there is no need to worry about the daily count, they said. A dozen experts joined the discussion with CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Health Minister Veena George. They lauded the government for the strategies adopted so far to manage Covid and hailed the clarity of the statistics the state health de- Afghanistan Girls returning home after their first day of school, ever since the pandemic forced a months-long break, in Madurai on Wednesday | k k sundar Schools reopen, students upbeat Sense of joy, some trepidation and a smattering of bending of the Covid SOPs on Day One Express News Service Kerala students exempted T’Puram: Kerala students visiting Karnataka for exams have been exempted from institutional quarantine if their stay is for less than three days. This has come as a relief for students who have chosen Karnataka to appear for PG NEET. However, institutional quarantine is must for Kerala students studing in Karnataka.P5 Have you ever yearned to go to school so badly that you’d even brave a downpour to get there? Well, if you haven’t been a school student during Covid, you might not get that feeling. On September 1, a whole 17 months after she last set foot in a classroom, Sanjana Sen, a Class XI student from Delhi was halfway to school when it started raining in Delhi. Her father wanted to take her back home. But she was adamant. “I wanted to go to school very, very badly So we somehow got . there even without an umbrella,” said the teenager who hadn’t met her friends in what seems like forever. A student of Sharda Sen Rajkiya Kanya Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, she added that getting back to school was an exhilarating experience for her. “I met new teachers in Class XI Dirty money sting: 2 Didi Sprinklr deal Panel gives mins in ED chargesheet Sivasankar not to go after two other heavyweight accused, Suvendu Two Trinamool Congress min- Adhikari and Mukul Roy both , isters, one party lawmaker, a defectors from the Trinamool former mayor and an IPS of- to the BJP had strengthened al, ficer were named as accused in legations that the probe agency the Narada sting money laun- was a caged parrot. By then Sudering chargesheet vendu Adhikari had filed by the Enforcebecome Leader of OpKnow ment Directorate in a position in West Benthe two Ko l k a t a c o u r t o n gal. Mukul Roy later Hakim is the Thursday. All five had did a ghar wapsi, headtransport and been arrested on May ing back to the housing 17 by the CBI in a sepaTrinamool. minister and rate case on the sting To do a balancing operation filed by it, a Mukherjee looks act, the ED on Thursfortnight after the Tri- after panchayat day sought the court’s affairs in namool retur ned to permission for further Mamata’s power with a thumping probe against both Sucabinet. majority for the third vendu Adhikari and straight term, drawing Mukul Roy. Others on charges of political vendetta. its list for further probe are TriThe five persons named as namool MPs Kakali Ghosh accused in the ED chargesheet Dastidar, Prasun Banerjee and are ministers Firhad Hakim Aparupa Poddar and former and Subrata Mukherjee, MLA MLA Iqbal Ahmed. Madan Mitra, former mayor of The court accepted the ED’s Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee and request to allow summoning of IPS officer S M H Mirza. the accused to its Kolkata office The fact that the CBI chose on November 16. E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kolkata clean chit Express News Service @ T’Puram THE Justice K Sasidharan Nair committee, which probed the Sprinklr deal signed to analyse the health data of people in the light of Covid spread in the state last year, has submitted its report giving a clean chit to former IT secretary M Sivasankar. Soon after the committee’s findings came out on Wednesday former Opposition leader , Ramesh Chennithala alleged it was an attempt to whitewash Sivasankar and the previous LDF government. He sought a judicial probe into the deal. State Congress president K Sudhakaran also demanded action against the guilty. The Sasidharan Nair committee was the second panel that probed the Sprin● More on P4 klr deal. and it was an amazing day. I was dying to go to school,” she chirped. But not everyone in Delhi was as lucky as Sanjana. Himanshu and Nandini, siblings and classmates in Class IX, said that they were yearning to go to school but couldn’t. The heavy rains coupled with rumours of how flooding increased the imminent threat of Covid accounted for a large degree of absenteeism (far lower than the allowed 50% limit) in the Capital. As schools reopened in several states — Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura, Delhi, Meghalaya and Arunachal — with strict Covid-19 protocols in place, nostalgia met trepidation down the middle. While the closure in Rajasthan only stands at five months, most parents are still apprehensive as only around 20% `25 LPG price up for 3rd time since July Petrol, diesel prices cut Petrol price was cut by 10 paise a litre diesel by 14 paise on Wednesday. Petrol price in Delhi is now at D101.34 per litre, while diesel price is D88.77 a litre have given written consent to send their children for physical classes. With kids yet to be vaccinated, parents continue are a worried lot. Dr Rekha Moolchandani, the mother of a Class 12 student, said she was not ready to send her son to school as the vaccination process for students is yet to start. “The third wave may hit any time and sending them to school is not safe. My son is comfortable studying online and we support him as he is safe,” she said. Schools in all 75 districts in UP reopened, but private schools deferred it because of a lack of consent from parents. Madhya Pradesh had a similar problem with attendance figures stuck around 15-20%. The turnout was similarly low in the Northeast, where states like Meghalaya have only vaccinated about 72% of the teachContinued on P5 ers. CPI leader alleges Sangh gang in state police T’Puram: Amid increase in atrocities against women in the state, CPI national leader Annie Raja on Wednesday unleashed a scathing attack on the Kerala Police for their alleged excesses and the deterioration of law and order, saying it should be suspected that a Sangh Parivar gang was operating within the force. The Home department is handled by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. P4 Mom dies of Covid, family pins hopes on newborn THE unrelenting march of the Covid pandemic has cost many their dear and near ones. Amid all the despair, a family from Neriamangalam is finding a ray of hope in a newborn. Akhil, 29, lost his wife Deepti, 27, to the virus when she was seven months pregnant. However, doctors were able to conduct an emergency surgery to bring the baby out. Akhil is now focusing on the health of the newborn, even as he battles the grief of his wife’s passing. The baby has been admitted to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at a major private hospital in Kochi and is reported to be stable. Akhil, who was driven to the depths of despair when his wife Deepti died, leaving two children -- aged six and three -- to his care, is now finding some solace in tending to the needs of his newborn son. After over two weeks of treatment for Covid, and admission to various hospitals, Deepti passed away on August 29. “She tested positive for Covid on August 13 and was shifted to the First-Line Treatment Centre at Kothamangalam. As she was pregnant, and also due to a lack of facilities at the centre, she was shifted to the Aluva taluk hospital. For 15 days, she underwent treatment at the hospital. I used to visit her daily and for almost 10 days, she was fine. She used to walk to the door and collect essentials. She wanted to get out of the hospital,” said Akhil. One day, when he met her at the hospital, she spoke about fix- ing the door at their house, expecting the baby soon, the husband recalls. “On the 12th day at the Aluva hospital, her condition started to deteriorate. I found her on oxygen support. After 14 days, when the Covid test was conducted, she continued to be positive and her condition worsened. She was referred to the medical college and from there to Aster Medcity. She was admitted on August 27,” he said. ● More on P2 Relax curbs such as Sunday lockdown and night curfew as they will not do any good to control the daily count 2 3 Vaccinate each and every adult at the earliest partment keeps with regard to the disease. “It’s time to lift the restrictions and start economic activities. The schools should also be reopened,” said Dr T Jacob John, former professor of clinical virology CMC, Vellore, who , attended the meeting. He said Kerala need not be concerned because the number of Covid deaths, which is the most valuable metric, is low in the state. Other factors such as severity of disease and hospital bed occupancy too have been low. Health infrastructure too has not been stretched. In the meeting, John explained the high number of daily cases in Kerala is due to better testing and containment, which other states had compro● More on P2 mised. Statewide sept 01 Aug 31 Sept 01 30,941 41,965 Fresh cases 30,203 32,803 Recoveries Deaths 36,275 33,964 350 460 Recoveries Deaths 1000 LPG cylinder price was hiked yet again by `25 on Wednesday the third hike since July 1. After , the latest price rise, a 14.2-kg non-subsidised cylinder costs `885 in Delhi and Mumbai, `900 in Chennai, and `911 in Kolkata. The last price change was on August 17, when the price was raised by `25. On July 1 also, the price was hiked by the same amount. LPG prices have gone up `190 since the beginning of 2021 and `290 since last September. The prices have more than doubled since September 2014, when a cylinder cost `427. Hitting out at the Centre for the price hike, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “There’s a new concept of GDP Rising GDP means rise in . prices of gas, diesel and petrol.” This is the 9th hike in LPG prices in the past one year, during which the price was cut only once, on 1 April, by `10. With the subsidies on LPG cylinders now limited to marginal freight subsidies for those express read Staggering number of daily cases alone will not pose any threat to the state for the time being 1 Fresh cases E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi testing times A n u j a Su s a n V a r g h e s e @ Kochi NATIONWIDE Aug 31 VACCINATE ALL ADULTS 800 770 695 720 645 860 820 835 795 Refill cost (`) 595 21,610 173 885 810 600 400 20,687 115 LPG cylinder price in Delhi Sep Dec 16 04 15 25 01 01 01 17 01 2020 2020 Dec 20 Feb 20 Feb 21 Feb 21 Mar 21 Apr 21 Jul 21 Aug 21 Sep 21 Note: Price is of 14.2 kg non-subsidised cylinder Source: IOCL in remote locations, higher prices are pinching the common man. Beginning May 2020, standard direct benefit transfer subsidies for domestic cooking gas were eliminated, with the government taking advantage of the crash in global crude oil prices to equalise the price of subsidised and unsubsidised cylinders. As a result, the government’s total subsidy burden on LPG has come down from `22,726 crore to `3,658 crore in 2020-21. Prithviraj, Aashiq Abu pull out of Vaariyamkunnan E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi A WEEK after news reports came out that the names of Malabar Rebellion leaders Variamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji, Ali Musaliar and 387 other ‘Moplah martyrs’ would be removed from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle, actor Prithviraj and director Aashiq Abu Prithviraj have decided to withdraw from the movie project titled Vaariyamkunnan, which was announced last year. The duo’s decision comes at a time when debates are continuing on whether the 1921 Moplah rebellion was a freedom movement or a Hindu genocide. Though Aashiq was not availa- ble for comment, sources close to the project said he had cited production issues as the reason for the withdrawal. The movie was announced as a joint venture of Compass Movies Ltd and Abu’s OPM Cinemas. However, the producers were not able to provide the necessary resources and the differences of opinion with them resulted in Aashiq Abu t h e d u o b a ck tracking from the project, said a source. In June 2020, when Prithviraj announced that he would be a part of the project, religious outfits including Hindu Aikya Vedi came out in the open against the actor in no time for agreeing to perform the role of the Muslim leader. ● More on P4
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