R Satish Babu chennai l wednesday l october 20, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l vellore EDITION Centre flags slow uptake of 2nd Covid vaccine dose The Centre has urged states to focus on increasing the coverage of the second dose as total vaccination is nearing 100 crore Reviews progress of inoculation project There is no supply problem: Centre Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Monday reviewed the progress of vaccination with health secretaries and mission directors of national health missions in states and Union territories. During the meeting via videoconference, it was highlighted that a sizeable number of beneficiaries have not received their second dose of the Covid vaccine ■ ■ At the virtual conference, the Centre pointed out that many states have adequate doses for the second jab. If needed, additional doses can be sent to states, it added During the meeting, states and Union territories were advised to identify and prioritise districts having low coverage 10.2 crore Vaccine doses are available with the states, according to the centre 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 Kitchen staple prices soar across the South Staff kicks up Hindi debate; fired, rehired C P B a l a s ub r a m anya m @ Chennai Food aggregator, Zomato, came under fire on Tuesday after a person from Tamil Nadu tweeted about the company’s customer care agent chiding him for not knowing Hindi. The person Vikash claimed to have contacted an agent seeking a refund after an item he had ordered was missing. The agent cited inability to solve the issue despite trying due to a “language barrier”. When Vikash told the agent to depute someone who knows Tamil to solve the issue, he was told, “Hindi is our national language. So it is very common that everybody should know Hindi little bit.” Vikash tweeted screenshots of the conversation, resulting in hashtags such as boycottzomato, hindiisnotnationallanguage, and stophindiimposition trending. MP Kanimozhi also flagged the issue while some users shared screenshots of uninstalling the app. This, a day after a few Twitter users called for the boycott of clothing brand, FabIndia, for using an Urdu phrase to describe its festive collection. Meanwhile, Zomato issued an apology on Twitter at 11.17 am and said the agent’s services were terminated. “The termination is in line with our protocols and agent’s behaviour was clearly against the principles of sensitivity that we train our agents for on a regular basis,” it said. However, with many users, including Vikash, saying the agent should not be fired, Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal said the employee was reinstated. continued on: P3 Jab-o-meter Take your shot October 18 79,74,435 doses October 19 37,92,737 doses Total doses: 99,08,97,514 NATIONWIDE oct 18 oct 19 Fresh cases 13,596 13,058 Recoveries 19,582 19,470 Deaths 166 164 tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths oct 18 oct 19 1,192 1,179 1,423 13 1,407 16 Gushing currents of a swollen Ganga lash at the statue of Lord Shiva at Rishikesh on Tuesday | AFP Torrential rains take Uttarakhand toll to 28 Nainital bears brunt with 18 deaths on Tuesday; fatalities could go up as many went missing after the landslides V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun AT least 22 people were killed in Uttarakhand on Tuesday as incessant rains, exacerbated by cloudbursts and landslides, pounded the hilly state, taking the number of people died due to rain-related incidents over the past three days to 28. According to officials, the toll may go up many are still missing and some of the rescued have been critically injured. Nainital bore the brunt as the district reported as many as 18 deaths on Tuesday Three deaths were . reported from Almora while one died in Champawat. According to the India Meteorological Department data, Uttarakhand received ‘very heavy’ to ‘extremely heavy’ rainfall in the past 24 hours with the Kumaon division receiving as high as 500 mm of rainfall, followed by Udham Singh Nagar recording at 403.9 mm, Nainital 401 mm, and Pithoragarh recording 212.1 mm. The weather station in Mukteshwar of Nainital district recorded 340.8 mm rainfall, the highest since 1914. “This is the highest even Kerala braces for heavy showers Kerala is bracing for very heavy showers for three consecutive days starting Wednesday, which can go up to 204.4 mm in 24-hour span. The Met department has scaled up the ‘yellow’ alert that was declared in 11 districts on Wednesday to ‘orange’. All districts, except Kollam, Alappuzha and Kasaragod, are likely to receive copious rain on Wednesday. Shutters of two largest dams in the state, Idukki and Idamalayar, were opened on Tuesday morning in a controlled manner to avoid flooding in downstream areas including Aluva and Ernakulam | P5 TNSTC diverts cess, delays compensation? The money is spent on other expenses such as fuel and salary alleged employees, affecting , The Tamil Nadu State Trans- the on-time payment of comport Corporation (TNSTC) has pensation to victims. This has been collecting a cess of `1-10 led to TNSTC buses being atfrom every passenger since tached through court orders January 20, 2018, and the corporation which is supposed to retrieving it later afinsurance be spent on toll fees, ter paying the exemption payment of compencompensation. Private or public sation to accident vic“Though TNSTC vehicles need to tims, and funding achas maintained proptake mandatory cident prevention er accounts in the painsurance every measures. per, funds are not in year as per MVA. As per the State hand because they However, TNSTC government’s policy have been utilising has obtained an note 2021-22, a total of this cess for other exemption. It 3,739 cases involving regular expenses concompensation worth instead, takes cess tinuously claimed K ,” from passengers `205.11 crore are Arumug a Nainar, p e n d i n g i n L o k - based on the fare State general secreAdalat. The TNSTC tary of CITU (transhas collected `1,431.86 crore as port wing). “Hence, the State cess between January 20, 2018 should intervene in this issue to July 31, 2021, of which, and streamline cess-related ex`477.52 crore was spent on toll penditure,” he added. fee and `531.79 crore to settle TNIE tried reaching out to 10,081 accident claims. Simple the Transport Secretary, Daymath shows there is about `400- anand Kataria, but he said he odd crore that remains. was out of station. more on: p3 S G U R U V A N M I K A N AT H A N @ Namakkal rainfall in history. Such rainfall has never been recorded before. There will be respite from Wednesday as the western disturbance has started weakening,” said Bikram Singh, director of the India Meteorological Department, Uttarakhand. Indian Army has been called in for search and rescue operations. Three choppers have also been pressed into service. “Rescue efforts are in full swing. Hundreds of people have been trapped at various places, hotels and resorts. They are also being ferried to safer locations,” said Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar. Nainital, the worst-affected district, witnessed the overflowing of the Naini lake leading to flooding of the Mall Road as well as several other low-lying localities. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami offering Centre’s help. While Kumaon division remains battered by incessant rains, Garhwal remains mostly unaffected. The hill state has 13 districts in two divisions – Kumaon and Garhwal. Washed away Hundreds of landslides block roads across the state Roads, bridges, railway tracks washed away at some locations IMD predicts ‘very heavy’ to ‘extremely heavy’ rainfall in the state in the next 24 hours Udham Singh Nagar district records highest of 403.9 mm of rain, followed by Nainital district with 401 mm and Pithoragarh with 212.1 mm Nainital’s Mukteshwar recorded 340.8 mm rainfall, its highest since 1914 Army called in for search and rescue operations, three choppers deployed wife detained mercy killing of paralysed man? E x p r e ss N e ws Se r vi c e @ T’Puram UNABLE to bear the pain of seeing her ailing husband, who had been lying paralysed for the past 15 years, suffer day in and day out, an elderly woman killed him by slitting his throat inside their makeshift house at Neyyattinkara in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district on Tuesday morning. After killing Gopi alias Njanadas, 76, Sumathi, 72, ran towards a nearby pond to end her life, but fell down midway and lost her consciousness. Locals took both to the Medical College Hospital in the capital city While Gopi was . declared brought dead, Sumathi survived. Her arrest would be recorded later. Sumathi reportedly told the doctors that she took the extreme step as she could no longer endure the sight of her husband struggling. Gopi could hardly move his right hand after suffering a stroke years ago. He was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor by his son Sunil Das around 7.30am. According to the police, the incident took place when Sunil, who had visited his parents, returned home, which is 50 metres away, to bring breakfast for them. By that time, Sumathi took a knife from the kitchen and cut Gopi’s throat in an act of mercy killing. 40% Congress ticket quota for women in UP E x p r e s s N e w s Se r vi c e Zomato flak-ed N a m ita B a j pai @ Lucknow It’s that time of the year when the prices of kitchen staples acquire wings, fluctuating wildly depending on the monsoon mood swings. Add to that the higher cost of transport because pricy diesel, and it is the aam aadmi who is forced to bear the brunt. The trend is uniform across the South. One estimate on the cost add-on because of the fuel price flare up came from Umesh Mirji, managing director of the Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society in Karnataka. He said a 5-10% rise in vegetable cost is due to the rise in diesel prices, which has already crossed `100. The Pedda Waltair Rythu Bazaar in Vizag stood out as an example of the yo-yo situation. While last Saturday, a kilo of tomatoes was sold at `52, on Tuesday, it dropped to `44. But the price could soon cross `50 again as tomatoes are getting scarcer. “Tomato prices might increase again as a lot of farms and produce were destroyed due to heavy rains and the cyclone,” informed Jagadeesh, a vendor. In Vijayawada, tomatoes on Tuesday were sold at `40, while Exhorting women to join active politics and fight for their rights, Congress general secretary and UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said 40% of the party’s tickets for the state polls due early next year would go to women. She, however, dodged questions on her own electoral debut, saying she has not taken a call yet. Asked whether she would contest from Rae Bareli or Amethi Assembly seat, she said: “I will have to fight (elections) one day or the other. But for now I haven’t given it a thought.” Priyanka said 40% was a figure to start off with and the reservation for women could be increased to 50% in future. Urging women to participate in politics, she said, “No one is here to protect you. Only those who talk about protecting you are protected, but not you.” Accusing the UP government of relegating women power to pension and kitchen, Priyanka said: “Together we will change the politics of the land. The government thinks `2,000 and gas cylinder makes everything OK. We will get strong women candidates and support them. If not now, they will become stronger by the next election.” Price rise Vijayawada Tomato: 40 24 Onion: 40 29 Vizag Tomato: 50 24 Onion: 50 28 Hyderabad Tomato: 30 10-20 Onion: 30 20 Udipi Tomato: 50 25 Onion: 42 30 Chennai Tomato: 60-80 50 Onion: 45 30 T’Puram Tomato: 65-70 20-25 Onion: 50-55 20-22 Now Earlier it was `24 a fortnight ago; onions at `40 per kg as compared to `29 earlier; and green chilies at `34 while it was `16 a fortnight ago. “The prices came as a shock when I visited the bazaar today,” said S Dhanalakshmi, a homemaker. In the Hyderabad market, vegetables such as tomato and green chillies that are usually available at `10 and `15 a kg respectively this time of the year, are now being sold at `30. At the Bowenpally Vegetable Market, one of the biggest in Hyderabad, onions were available for `20 a kg till Monday A . day later, its price jumped to `30. Other pricey vegetables including drum sticks (`60), carrot (`40), capsicum (`65) and field beans (`50). In Mysuru, the monsoon damage to crops raised prices of tomatoes from `20 a kg to `60-65 within 15 days. Continued on: P5
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