tirupati l friday l november 26, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION Virus variant with unusually high mutation count found B.1.1.529 has been found in South Africa, Botswana & Hong Kong; the Centre has asked states to test travellers from these places Unfamiliar mutations spark concern The new coronavirus variant has at least 32 spike mutations, compared to 16 for Delta. It may not just spread more efficiently, but might be able to get around parts of the immune system, said researcher Richard Lessells. Some of the mutations are also unfamiliar to scientists. So far the variant has been seen spreading especially among young people, reports said ■ 100 origins in untreated HIV patient? ■ The variant could have evolved during the chronic infection of a person with compromised immunity, which can prolong infection The variant has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong among travellers from South Africa, as per authorities. World Health Organization officials have met to discuss B.1.1.529 | P12 Cases linked to the variant detected in South Africa 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 NEET counselling deferred, `8L EWS cap to be revisited E x p r ess n e w s se r v i c e @ New Delhi The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it is ready to revisit the `8 lakh annual income criteria for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation category . The government assured the apex court Bench, led by Justice D Y Chandrachud, that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-PG) counselling would be deferred for four weeks till a decision was taken on the EWS quota. The submission came in a case filed by NEET aspirants challenging a July 29 notification announcing 27% quota for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10% reservation for EWS in the All India Quota (AIQ) category . Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, appearing for the petitioners (students), suggested that the implementation of the EWS could be postponed to next academic year, as the admissions for this year are already delayed. The Bench, which also comprised Justices Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath, asked the Solicitor General if the implementation of the constitutional amendment could be pushed to he next academic year. “What happens is that we are at the end of November. Suppose you complete it by the end of De- cember and then implementation etc and then the terms would begin only sometime in February-March. Two months, the students are losing the time. This is something you may want to consider,” Justice DY Chandrachud questioned Mehta. He replied that it might be a difficult proposition as the Government wants to take steps as per the constitutional amendment providing for No potential deferment for OBC quota While a possible deferment of the EWS quota is being discussed, Advocate Shashank Ratnoo, appearing on behalf of some OBC candidates, requested that the application of reservation to OBC students should not be deferred as the Centre is planning to revisit the EWS criteria. The Bench said that it has not said anything on OBC students and is not disposing of the petition Congress becomes pawn in TMC’s pan-India plans economic reservation. Justice Kant said, “The EWS quota is a very enabling and progressive kind of reservation and all States should support the Centre in its endeavour”. The Bench said that the only question is that determination of the category should be in a scientific manner and it appreciates that the Centre has taken a decision to revisit the criteria earlier fixed In a previous hearing, the apex court had expressed its annoyance at the government for not filing an affidavit explaining how it reached the `8 lakh figure to identify the EWS category for grant of reservation. elders’ wisdom proved wrong? @ Thogurpeta (Kadapa) Political observers point out that by upstaging the grand old party in Meghalaya, the Trinamool Congress is indirectly helping the BJP P r a s a n ta M a z u m d a r @ Guwahati With 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya joining the Trinamool Congress (TMC) overnight, the grand old party appears to have become the biggest victim of the Mamata Banerjee-led party’s ambition of becoming a pan-India rival to the Bharatiya Janata Party . After its hard-fought victory in West Bengal early this year, the TMC is on an acquisition spree to draw disgruntled leaders from other parties, mostly Congress. By doing so, it is virtually hijacking the political space hitherto occupied by the grand old party . The TMC had already set its sights on BJP-ruled Tripura and Goa to expand its base outside Bengal. Meghalaya is the latest addition to the list. The late-night coup in Shillong relegated the Congress to a smaller party and effectively made the TMC the state’s main opposition party. The development comes 14 months ahead of the ‘Congress failed as Oppn’ On Thursday, former CM Mukul Sangma justified his decision to switch sides saying the Congress was failing as an opposition party and that TMC could be the panIndia alternative to the BJP. “We looked at available options and reached out to people and friends,” he told reporters Assembly polls in Meghalaya, which is ruled by a coalition of parties headed by the National People’s Party a BJP ally , . Infighting in the Congress, especially after Shillong MP Vincent H Pala took over as the state unit chief two months ago, is said to have triggered the dramatic developments on Wednesday night. Former chief minister Mukul Sangma was the sole contender for the CM post in case the Congress returns to power in 2023 and he felt threatened by Pala’s appointment a PCC chief. Congress insiders in the state admitted the TMC had dealt a body blow to the party facing a depleting popularity ever since the BJP’s emergence as a powerhouse nationwide in 2014. Political observers, however, pointed out that by targeting the Congress, the TMC is indirectly helping the BJP . As regards Goa, the TMC’s entry would hurt only the Congress as the BJP has its vote bank intact. Similarly the TMC , is trying to make inroads into Tripura at the expense of the Congress and the Left parties. Thursday’s civic election in the state was its launch pad. Mamata’s much-hyped meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and her not calling on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is to be seen in the above context. express read No Srisailam water for power output: KRMB all set to take off Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits an exhibition on Noida International Airport, for which he laid the foundation stone on Thursday in Jewar. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is standing on his left | PTI | P8 Vijayawada: The Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) has written letters to water resources secretaries of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh directing them not to release water from Srisailam reservoir exclusively for power generation without getting prior permission from it. The river board clearly stated that power generation is incidental to irrigation and drinking water needs of the two riparian States | P4 ings issued before water from the overflowing Pincha project dam breached the Annamayya FOR once, experience be- project downstream late on trayed the elders of Thogurp- November 18. eta village. They never expectVillagers said that they ed a savage flood to hit the trusted the wisdom of their village, since never in their elders, who asserted that the life had they experienced such floodwaters would spare the a fury . village without causing much Jaganadhamaiah was one damage. A little after 2 am, the among them. The 89-year-old situation changed. “We didn’t man sat patiently under the move to safer grounds since shade, beside the partially col- we believed the elders. Around lapsed wall of his bathroom 2 am on Friday last, we reon Thursday, waiting for the ceived a call from a relative, officials to estimate his loss. who told us that the An“The floods have never affect- namayya dam has been ed us in the past 100 breached and the years, not even in water would soon 2020. It had then inundate our vilreached up to our lage,” a villager told Ground report TNIE. backyard, but spared the house,” he re“The phone sigcalled. A short pause later, he nals are weak and we had to added: “Even our forefathers alert others orally. By then, had never told us about the the floodwaters have reached Cheyyeru river causing such the village,” he added. devastating floods. The flood Jayaram Reddy was not has destroyed 90 per cent of even warned of the water our village.” gushing towards the village. The floodwaters have de- He was fast asleep in his house stroyed around 40 houses in when the water swept him Thogurpeta, a hamlet of 50- away His body was later found . odd houses. Three people were in an agriculture field. washed away and two of them , Several villagers claimed were still missing at the time that they never received an ofof filing this report. ficial warning. “This time the The villagers could not save harvest was good, but we were much of their belongings be- not destined to eat what we fore the floodwaters gushed have cultivated, “ another vilin. They discarded the warn- lager, Anasuyamma, rued. Sri Krishna Kummara Cheyyeru deluge destroyed several houses, rendering many homeless in Thogurpeta of Nandaluru in Rajampeta mandal of Kadapa district | Express Woman continues frantic search for missing husband coming to know that floods might engulf the village. He For the past one week, Aye- had almost reached home. sha has been running from There was a ditch near our pillar to post, from one village house. He slipped into it and to other, frantically searching got washed away. I watched for her husband Shaik Rash- him drowning in the deluge eed, who was washed away in helplessly wailed Ayesha. ,’’ Cheyyeru deluge following a Holding a photo of Rashbreach to the eartheed, Ayesha was seen en bund of Ana s k i n g eve r yo n e namayya project in about whereabouts Rajampet mandal of of her husband. “Pothe district. lice told me that they Rasheed of Gundfound two bodies luru village works downstream of Anin a cable TV office namayya project and at Nandaluru. The asked me to identify couple have three if one of them was children -- Shaik that of Rasheed. I Ayesha Rubina (22), Shaik rushed to the place, Hussain (16) and Shaik Noor but could not find any body Hussain (9). He is one among there,’’ she wailed 38 villagers who were washed Mannur SI Bhaktavatsalam away in Cheyyeru flash floods. said, “We are continuing the Eleven of the 38 villagers who search for Rasheed. A total of went missing in the deluge, 38 persons were reportedly are still untraceable. washed away in the deluge. “Braving heavy rain, he We have recovered the bodies was rushing back home after of 27 victims only so far.” S N a g a r a j a R a o @ Kadapa ITC begins clinical trial for coronavirus nasal spray ITC has confirmed it is developing a nasal spray for preventing Covid-19 and said it has initiated clinical trials for the product. The spray is meant to halt the virus at the entry point of the nasal cavity Rain forecast puts Tirupati on high alert, SP urges people not to be carried away by social media posts Vijayawada/Tirupati: Even as the flood-ravaged Rayalaseema and Nellore are yet to return to normalcy, the Met Department has predicted more rains across the State. As per the IMD forecast, Chittoor and Nellore are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall between November 26 to December 2. Tirupati police have sounded an alert and appealed to people of the temple town to be cautious and adhere to safety norms. SP Ch Venkata Appala Naidu has urged people not to be carried away by fake news being circulated by mischievous elements on social media and WhatsApp groups. Jab-o-meter Take your shot Nov 24 79,65,803 doses Nov 25 74,59,819 doses NATIONWIDE nov 24 nov 25 statewide Fresh cases 9,283 9,119 Recoveries 10,949 10,264 Deaths 437 396 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Samples tested Nov 24 nov 25 264 183 246 163 1 1 31,987 30,863 After absconding, Mumbai’s ex-top cop PB Singh surfaces; quizzed for 7 hours Welfare takes big of Q1, Q2 revenue expenditure S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai Mumbai’s former police chief Param Bir Singh, who faces at least five charges of extortion and corruption in Maharashtra and had been missing for months, appeared at the city police’s Crime Branch Unit 11 office on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, police DGP Sanjay Pandey has moved a report on suspending Singh, who holds the DG, Home Guard post. The report has been submitted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray . Singh was grilled for seven hours and his statement was recorded in an extortion case registered against him at the Goregaon police station. “As per the Supreme court directive, I will co-operate with the investigation agencies,” Singh told reporters after flying in from Chandigarh. On Monday the apex court granted , Singh protection from arrest. He has not reported to work since May following his transfer from the post of Mumbai police commis- sioner and his subsequent allegations of graft against the then home minister Anil Deshmukh. He had been shunted out after police officer Sachin Waze was arrested in connection with an explosive-laden SUV found near Mukesh Ambani’s house, and the death of businessman Mansukh Hiran. On November 17, a Mumbai cour t declared Singh an absconder. ‘Param bir destroyed Kasab’s phone’ Assistant Police Commissioner (Retd) Samsher Khan Pathan claimed that Param Bir Singh “destroyed” a mobile phone seized from the 26/11 terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab, instead of handing it over to the investigating officer E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Vijayawada A major chunk of the total `98,012.31 crore revenue expenditure for the first and second quarters of the current fiscal, has gone to implementation of welfare programmes, including Navaratnalu, in the State. Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath tabled statements of the quarterly review of trends in receipts and expenditure in relation to the State budget for the financial year 2021-22 at the end of the first and second quarters in the Assembly on Thursday . The budget estimates of the State for the financial year 202122 are `52,582.79 crore. Out of the total `51,970 crore revenue expenditure in the first quarter, the agriculture department spent `5,995.25 crore, BC welfare depar tment `4,963.50 crore, family welfare department `2,633.83 crore, social welfare department `1,371.72 crore, women development and child welfare department `773.99 crore, tribal welfare department `526.11 crore, school education department `5,476.65 crore, medical education department `1,174.87 crore and Total: 120,17,25,296 Focus on medical & health, says Jagan Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday said his government initiated several revolutionary measures to bring about a sea change in the medical and health sector. public health and family welfare department `405.70 crore. In the second quarter (June to September) of current fiscal, out of the total `46,041.36 crore revenue expenditure, the agriculture department spent `640.92 crore, BC welfare department `4,101.42 crore, family welfare department `1,834.44 crore, social welfare department `867.57 crore, women development and child welfare department `906.40 crore, tribal welfare department `387.22 crore, school education department `5,251.85 crore, medical education department `1,022.68 crore and public health and family welfare department P4 `449.08 crore.
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.