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 ■ ■ kottayam l monday l November 29, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION Trinamool seeks to forge third front against BJP West Bengal’s ruling party is looking to forge a non-Congress Opposition in both Parliamentary Houses to take on the BJP Parties not allied with Congress targeted ‘Nobody is untouchable for us’ Sources in the Trinamool, which will skip the joint strategy meeting today of the Opposition for the winter session, said the party is looking to coordinate with others that are not in alliance with the Congress anywhere. The second largest party in Rajya Sabha and the fourth largest in Lok Sabha, TMC said it won’t align itself with Congress’s floor strategy ■ Oppn demands MSP law at all-party meet E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi With the Opposition making a slew of demands, including a law to guarantee Minimum Support Price for farm produce, at an all-party meeting on Sunday defence minister and , Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh told floor leaders that the government is ready for a healthy discussion on all issues in the Winter Session of Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the meeting a miss, though in the past he had attended them. The meeting is called a day before the Parliament session begins. Opposition parties indicated they will further pressure the government on farm issues, with some of them expressing concern that the Centre could bring in provisions of the three contentious laws that are up for repeal in a different form. Making it clear that the Opposition parties will take up the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, floor leaders pressed for the sacking of Union minister Ajay Mishra whose son is the prime accused in the violence. Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge demanded a law to guarantee MSP. He also said the government should give financial compensation to victims of Covid-19 as well as the farm agitation. V Vijaysai Reddy of the YSR Congress demanded the expansion of the MSP basket to cover marine and poultry products. He also sought caste census. Test norms for fliers revised E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi With the highly infectious Omicron variant of the coronavirus being detected in at least two more countries on Sunday the Centre decided to re, view its decision on resuming commercial foreign flights. Before Omicron surfaced, it had reportedly planned to resume full international travel from December 15. And now, new guidelines from the health ministry state that passengers travelling from or transiting through “at risk” countries will have to take an RT-PCR test on arrival in India and will be required to wait for the results before leaving the airport or taking a connecting flight. Five per cent of travellers from other countries in each flight will be randomly tested at the airport. The “at-risk” countries are European nations, the United Kingdom, Catching the bug in time South Africa didn’t wait for gene sequencing to spot the variant, as it used an RT-PCR test with a gene kit that can show a result of an undetectable S-gene target — a marker for Omicron. India doesn’t have the kit yet, but it can begin manufacturing quickly, says scientist Anurag Agrawal | P9 South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. On Sunday, in an urgent meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the government issued a slew of directions to states for ramping up testing-surveillance meas- ures and health facilities, asking them focus on intensive containment, monitoring of hotspots and increased vaccination coverage. The meeting follows a high-level review by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday . For their part, states began to retighten Covid restrictions and trace people who arrived from abroad, especially from ‘at risk’ nations in the last one month. Though no Omicron cases have been recorded in India yet, confirmed or suspected cases have emerged in Europe, Israel and Hong Kong — just days after it was first detected in South Africa. The Netherlands confirmed 13 cases, Australia two and the UK one on Sunday In a drastic move, Israel . barred entry to foreigners and Morocco suspended all incoming air P4, 14 travel. ■ The Trinamool has burnt bridges with the Congress as it has opened its door to rebels so as to realise its national ambition “We will reach out to all like-minded parties, whether it is the Samajwadi Party or BJD, for a stronger Opposition front. Nobody is untouchable for us,” said a TMC MP | P9 22 MPs TMC has in Lok Sabha, compared with 53 MPs of Congress Landslide BJP win in Tripura civic polls P r a s a nta M a z u m d a r @ Guwahati The ruling BJP in Tripura swept the civic elections on Sunday, capturing power in all 20 urban local bodies (ULBs). The elections were held against the backdrop of sporadic incidents of political violence. The CPM and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) had accused BJP of assault and intimidation of their workers. Of the total 334 seats, the BJP won 329. It had won 112 seats in seven ULBs unopposed earlier. Three seats went to the CPI(M) and one each to the TMC and the TIPRA Motha. That the BJP was serious about the polls was evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking to Twitter to congratulate people and party workers on the success. The TMC was optimistic about its success in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) but the BJP won all its 51 seats. “People of Agartala have shown abundant confidence in the double engine government led Unvaccinated teachers, staff in schools may face action E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram Hinting at strict action against unvaccinated teachers and nonteaching staff in schools, General Education Minister V Sivankutty on Sunday said the government will not entertain school employees who refuse to take Covid vaccine anymore. “The state government is planning to take action against around 5,000 schoolteachers and non-teaching staff who have chosen not to be vaccinated against NATIONWIDE nov 27 nov 28 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 8,318 10,967 465 8,774 9,481 621 stateWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Covid, mostly owing to their religious beliefs,” said Sivankutty A . committee led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will examine the issue and take a final decision, he said. “Getting vaccinated is a personal choice, but this decision should not be a burden on society. Our children’s health is important to the government,” Sivankutty said, adding that the situation is getting more complicated in view of the new variants ● More on P7 of Covid. nov 27 nov 28 4,741 5,144 28 4,350 5,691 19 by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri @ Narendra Modi ji,” Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tweeted. The TMC had viewed the polls as its launch pad to make inroads into the Bengali-majority state. Its defeat comes days after it became Meghalaya’s main opposition through a political coup that saw 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs defecting to it. TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee said it was exceptional for a party with negligible presence to get over 20% vote share in the polls. Mounting debt sinks Kerala’s economy K erala’s economy is at a crossroads. The practice of availing loans mindlessly and failure to mobilise state’s own revenue effectively have sounded the alarm but the government pretends not to be aware of that. As per the budget for 2021-22, the state’s outstanding debt will be I3,27,000 crore by the end of this fiscal. Kerala’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the year is projected to be I8,76,000 crore. That means the outstanding debt is equivalent to 37.3% of GSDP. As per norms, Kerala should contain debt within 23% of GSDP. However, the ratio breached 30% in 2013-14 itself. Economists say there are several reasons to classify Kerala’s debt as bad debt and suggest that the state must initiate constructive steps to expand economy. From today, TNIE begins a five-part series that discusses Kerala’s strained economy, the challenges and the possible way out. P2
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