tiruchy l wednesday l october 27, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION u.s. eases rules for travellers from India, China and Europe The Joe Biden administration has removed Covid curbs on those arriving from India, China and much of the EU from November 8 No more country-specific restrictions vax exemption for Children under 18 “It is in the interests of the United States to move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the Covid19 pandemic and to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the United States,” the order signed by US President Joe Biden said ■ ■ Only fully vaccinated travellers can enter the US. Foreigners must provide proof of vaccination and airlines must confirm the last dose was at least two weeks before the travel date Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccine requirements. So are people who can’t take the jab owing to medical issues March 2020 When the U.S. imposed extraordinary Covid curbs on foreign travellers 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 judicial custody Senior Navy officer held for leaking sub secrets M AYA N K SI N GH @ New Delhi The CBI recently arrested five persons, including a serving Commander-rank officer in the Navy’s Western Command for allegedly leaking secrets on India’s conventional submarines. Of the other four, two are retired Navy officers. “Investigation related to alleged information leak of administrative and commercial nature to some unauthorised personnel has come to light and is being investigated by appropriate government agency the ,” Navy said in a statement. The racket came into light a month ago, after which the CBI conducted raids at 19 locations, including in Delhi, Noida and Hyderabad. “The officers were passing sensitive information on kilo class submarines to private persons,” said sources. All five are in judicial custody . As part of its internal probe, the Navy has set up a panel under a Vice Admiral. At present, the Navy operates 12 conventional submarines and a nuclear powered submarine, which are strategically important underwater combat systems. Meanwhile, a man from Godhra in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district was arrested in connection with a Navy espionage case late on Monday night. Altaf Hussain Harun Ghanchi was nabbed after raids by joint teams of the Andhra Pradesh Police, a Special Operations Group and the local police. Ghanchi is accused of using SIM cards of different mobile companies to get OTPs of WhatsApp accounts, which he sent to his alleged masters in Pakistan to allow them to operate Indian WhatsApp accounts from Pakistan, an official claimed. The WhatsApp accounts were then used to honey-trap Navy officers. ‘Make space for more water in Mullaiperiyar dam’ E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram/Chennai A day after the Supreme Court directed Kerala and Tamil Nadu to interact responsibly with one another and the supervisory committee on the maximum water level at the Mullaiperiyar dam, officials from both States held talks in this regard on Tuesday . PWD Secretary Sandeep Saxena and Cauvery Technical Cell’s chairman, R Subramanian, represented Tamil Nadu in the meeting which lasted about 75 minutes. However, officials declined to reveal the details of the meeting, saying the information would be submitted before the apex court on Wednesday . Meanwhile, Kerala Water Resources Minister, Roshy Augustine, told TNIE the State had asked Tamil Nadu to draw maximum water (2,700 cusecs) from the Mullaiperiyar dam in order to store more if it rains heavily in the coming days. “The members of the Supreme Court-appointed supervisory committee, who attended the meeting, also directed Tamil Nadu to draw maximum water,” he said. The water level in the dam has crossed 137.5 feet while the maximum level set by the Central Water Commission for the month is 138 feet. The Met department has fore- cast heavy rain triggered by a low pressure that is expected to form over the Bay of Bengal and a cyclonic circulation over the Arabian Sea. Augustine said in case the dam spillways are opened, Kerala is equipped to tackle the situation. The minister allayed the fears of people living downstream. “The State recently raised shutters of the Idukki dam to maintain the water level at 2,395 ft against the maximum capacity of 2,403.5 ft. This will allow Idukki dam to store excess water released from Mullaiperiyar if its spillways are opened,” he said. Kerala had on Sunday urged Tamil Nadu to draw maximum water from the dam into its Vaigai dam as the water level had reached 136 ft. On Monday, petitioners from the State moved the apex court on the issue. Tamil Nadu’s counsel argued to the court that it is entitled to store water up to 142 ft, based on two earlier Supreme Court orders. Even key issues articulated by the leadership do not percolate to the grassroots level: Cong chief Swipe at seniors as Sonia flags lack of clarity & cohesion E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Congress president Sonia Gandhi at a party meeting in Delhi on Tuesday | PTI You must train our workers to take on the unceasing onslaught of malicious disinformation campaigns at the behest of the BJP/RSS - Sonia Gandhi, Cong president Clause on liquor abstinence nixed An archaic clause on Congress membership being subject to abstention from alcohol was dropped from its membership form after several leaders said was not feasible. Rahul Gandhi said it makes no sense in the present times, and asked for a show of hands of those who enjoy their drink. With over 50% in the room raising their hands, the clause was killed | P7 Can’t wait forever for cong: trinamool Justifying its decision to enter the Goa poll fray, Trinamool leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said his party cannot wait indefinitely for the Congress to bring together the Opposition against the BJP. The Congress has attacked the Trinamool for poaching its leaders, with former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro and prominent UP Congress leader Lalitesh Pati Tripathi joining Mamata’s party Congress chief Sonia Gandhi Tuesday did some plainspeak saying there was a lack of clarity and cohesion among even senior state-level leaders, adding issues raised by the party were not reaching the grassroots cadre. Sonia said the party must fight the diabolical campaign of BJP/ RSS ideologically with conviction to expose the lies of the Centre before the people in order to win the battle of perception. “The AICC releases important and detailed statements almost every day on issues facing the nation. But it is my experience that they do not percolate down to our grassroots cadre at the block and district levels. There are policy issues on which I find a lack of clarity and cohesion even amongst our state-level leaders,” she said at a meeting attended by party general secretaries, in-charges and state chiefs to discuss the membership drive, sustained agitation programmes and the forthcoming Assembly elections in five states. Talking about the party’s training programmes, she said the fight to defend democracy, the Constitution and the party’s ideology would begin with being fully prepared to identify and counter false propaganda. In yet another message to dissenting party leaders, Sonia said there is a paramount need for discipline and unity. “What should matter to each and every one of us is the strengthening of the organisation. This must override personal ambitions. In this lies both collective and individual success,” she added. On the membership drive, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the focus should be on enrollment on genuine people who want to work for the Congress rather than cooking up figures. Five killed in TN cracker shop fire cue operation is continuing as we suspect a few more are stuck inside,” said the police. Sources said a grocery on the Kallakurichi road, opened a cracker shop a few days back and stocked crackers in the building’s first floor. On Tuesday a fire , broke out and the crackers exploded one after the other. Soon, a massive fire spread across the entire building. Fire and rescue personnel rushed to the spot and managed to douse the fire after a two-hour long struggle. PWD Minister EV Velu visited the site and the hospital on Tuesday night, and inquired about the health condition of the injured. B a g ala v an Pe r i e r B @ Villupuram NCB’s Mumbai director Sameer Wankhede at NCB’s Delhi office on Tuesday | PTI After Wankhede, NCP targets vigilance chief Su d h i r Su r ya w an s h i @ Mumbai Mumbai Police on Tuesday said they have received four applications so far alleging extortion by Sameer Wankhede and other officials, and have launched an enquiry to verify the varacity of these claims An assessment by Council on Energy, Environment and Water has ranked Chennai among most-prone districts to floods and cyclones TOP VULNERABLE DISTRICTS Khammam (Flood & drought) Gajapati (Flood, drought & cyclone) Vizianagaram (Drought & cyclone) Sangli (Drought) Nagaon (Flood & cyclone) Chennai TOP VULNERABLE STATES IN INDIA State Dhemaji(Flood) 0.976 impact the country’s economy as Bollywood contributes 2-3% to the GDP, said NCP minister Nawab Malik. The NCB has formed a fivemember team, led by Gyaneshwar, to probe extortion charges against Wankhede. There was no immediate relief for Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan, the prime accused in the cruise ship drug haul case, as the Bombay HC adjourned his bail hearing to Wednesday . Meanwhile, Wankhede’s wife Kranti Redkar on Tuesday claimed they were getting threat calls and online abuse. P8 Mapping climate vulnerability 1.000 AFTER targeting Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) seems to be training its gun on Gyaneshwar Singh, the vigilance officer leading the probe on graft charges against the NCB officer. NCP spokesperson Sanjay Tatkare said Singh had earlier shielded Wankhede. “Vigilance chief Gyaneshwar Singh at that time not only defended NCB’s functioning but also protected Sameer Wankhede. So, can we expect the fair probe or just a farce probe against Wankhede,” Tatkare said. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray plans to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about central agencies’ “malafide actions” against Bollywood celebrities. The letter will emphasise how such actions will adversely Mumbai police steps in In a tragic incident at Sankarapuram in Kallakurichi district, a fire broke out at a cracker shop killing five persons and injuring eight on Tuesday Four of the de. ceased were identified as Kaleed (23), Shah Alam (24), Shake Basheer (72), Ayyasamy (65). The fifth person’s identity is yet to be ascertained, said police. According to sources, many among the eight admitted to the government hospital in Kallakurichi are in serious condition. The police suspect the cause of fire to be a spark from an electric line. Further inquiry is on. “Res- (Flood & cyclone) Source: CEEW report | Assam Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra Karnataka Bihar Manipur Rajasthan Arunachal Pradesh Sikkim Odisha Nagaland Tamil Nadu Ranking | Overall Vulnerability Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 0.616 0.483 0.478 0.465 0.448 0.424 0.423 0.408 0.370 0.368 0.365 0.339 Vulnerability Index Score | REPORT: P2 Many eateries shut, 24 lakh jobs lost: Report E x p r e s s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Stringent Covid curbs, exacerbated by protracted lockdowns, broke the backbone of India’s food services industry in FY21 with a quarter of the restaurants closing down which in turn rendered an estimated 24 lakh people jobless, says a new report. The impact was such that the industry size shrank by more than half in one year flat, says the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), which represents the interests of five lakh restaurants. In FY21, the size of the food services industry in India shrank by 53% to `2 lakh crore from `4.23 lakh crore a year ago, says NRAI’s latest report titled Covid impact on the FOOD FOR food services industry 2021. THOUGHT Location-wise, Delhi and Mumbai were the worst-hit Food services while Bengaluru and Kerala industry shrank also witnessed closure of sev53% in FY21 to `2 eral eateries, including popular lakh crore from `4.2 ones. “Food business outlets in lakh crore in FY20 the country’s top two cities have 25% of India’s been the most affected with Covrestaurants id-19 affecting these two cities permanently closed in a severe manner because of down owing to the population density and ecoCovid distress nomic activity says the report. ,” 24 lakh people lost According to NRAI, food service jobs in FY21 has been one of the worst-hit businesses worldwide and India Expensens shot up is no exception. Within the inin post-Covid era dustry, the worst affected were due to higher small operators in the unorganspending on hygiene ised sector. “Due to hygiene and and safety measures safety issues as well as lack of working capital, small businesses suffered,” notes the report. While dine-in services took a hit, the share of deliveries and takeaways for restaurant players increased on an average from 13% during the pre-Covid times to 33% now. The average order value, too, rose by 43%. NRAI is hopeful that the industry one of the major job , creators employing around 73 lakh people, will recover as most Covid restrictions have been eased. It pegs the market size to touch `4.72 lakh crore in FY22, adding that in a normal fiscal, the size would be `5.5 lakh crore. The road ahead, however, is likely to be bumpy as the average revenue after the second Covid wave is just 72% and profitability at 54% of pre-Covid times. Jab-o-meter Flame engulfs shop | spl arrangement Take yourshot oct 26 October 25 October 26 58,87,981 51,56,054 doses doses Fresh cases 14,306 12,428 Recoveries Deaths 18,762 443 tamil nadu Stalin grants solatium Expressing condolences, CM MK Stalin granted a solatium of `5 lakh each to the bereaved families. He also said `1 lakh each will be given to the injured NATIONWIDE oct 25 oct 25 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 1,112 1,341 14 15,951 356 oct 26 1,090 1,326 15 Total doses: 103,48,36,594 Single women now ‘family’ in tn, to avail ration cards B A N B U S E LV A N @ Chennai Single women in the State, who have separated from their husbands or parents, will now be recognised as ‘family’, and will be issued ration cards by the civil supplies department. Sources said the change in criteria for definition of a family comes following multiple representations that women, who reside separately without legally parting ways with their partners, are unable to get ration cards. Presently the name of a fam, ily member can only be removed from the ration card in the event of the person’s death, marriage, adoption or divorce. Upon submitting documents, the name can be added to a new card or a fresh card can be applied for. “When a husband is unwilling to remove the name of his wife, who lives separately, from the ration card, the woman is losing her food security guaranteed un- der the Constitution. Hence, based on the self-declaration of the woman, followed by a field verification report by the Revenue Inspector, Civil Supplies zonal officers are empowered to remove the woman from the husband’s ration card and issue her a new card,” said an official release from the State on Monday . Officials told TNIE the relaxation will be applicable to unmarried single women too. continued on: p5
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