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 ■ ■ TIRUCHY MONDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION TRINAMOOL SEEKS TO FORGE THIRD FRONT AGAINST BJP PARTIES NOT ALLIED WITH CONGRESS TARGETED West Bengal’s ruling party is looking to forge a non-Congress Opposition in both Parliamentary Houses to take on the BJP ‘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 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 E X P R E S S N E W S S E 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 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. ■ 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 | P7 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 N TA 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 CPI(M) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) had accused the 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 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. Test norms for fliers revised E X P R E S S N E W S S E 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 a 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 Euro- After the recent spell of rains, the Cooum flows over a Maduravoyal road in Chennai, blocking it on Sunday | MARTIN LOUIS Holiday announced... All educational institutions will be closed on Monday in Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet, Tirunelveli, Thanjavur, Thoothukudi, Kannyakumari and Tiruvallur. Only schools in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Tiruvarur have a holiday today. Puducherry and Karaikal declared holidays for schools, colleges on Monday and Tuesday MONSOON MEASURE Place Rainfall Cuddalore 70 mm Meenambakkam 57.7 mm Chengalpattu 41 mm Kancheepuram 21 mm * as of 5.30 pm on Sunday Chennai to get less rain; fresh system brewing Chennai is set to get a breather from today as showers are expected to reduce. However, Western and Southern Tamil Nadu will continue to receive intense rainfall for a couple more days. According to IMD, thunderstorm with moderate rain is likely at most places over the rest of coastal Tamil Nadu. However, another low pressure is brewing which might cause intense spells in TN or Andhra Pradesh in five to six days CAN’T BLAME DAMS FOR FLOODS IN TN THIS TIME K V N A V YA @ Chennai AS Tamil Nadu witnessed record rains in November filling up most dams, dam managers across the State have handled the release of water from reservoirs in a phased manner without creating much havoc on the banks of rivers. The recent waterlogging in several parts of the State stemmed from lack of infrastructure and poor planning rather than sudden release of water from dams. Officials told TNIE that better weather forecasting and emptying of dams before rains helped them handle heavy inflow of water into dams following the downpour in catchment areas. Surely they seemed to have learnt a , lesson from what the CAG termed a man-made disaster in 2015. This year, Chennai received three massive spells of rain on November 6-7, 17-18 and 26-27. The water was released from reservoirs in a phased 15,016 1 people housed in 188 RELIEF CAMPS in several districts, said Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management KKSSR Ramachandran on Sunday Water levels at major reservoirs are being kept at 3ft below full capacity Contracts of 1,800 Amma mini-clinic docs terminated? O M J A S V I N M D @ Chennai THE Tamil Nadu government is likely to terminate contracts of miniclinic doctors by December, as the Covid-19 caseload has decreased. These doctors were recruited by the AIADMK government just before the second wave of the pandemic hit the State. Official sources said the services of the mini-clinics would be merged with existing programmes. There are 1,820 medical officers currently on the payroll and all of their contracts can be terminated on December 4, according to a document shared by the Deputy Directors of Health Services to the doctors. The document said their services will not be required beyond Decem- manner and safely routed to the sea. “In 2015, we had no idea Chennai would receive 300 mm rainfall. Everyone was scrambling at the last minute. However, the government is now warning at least five days ahead to ensure precautionary measures are taken,” said a senior official. For instance, with heavy rains forecast for Chennai on Friday and Saturday, 2,000 cusecs of water was released from Chembarambakkam and Poondi reservoirs each on Monday itself, four days ahead of the rains. Even then on Sunday with the , water level in the Adyar rising, officials asked people living by the river to shift to shelters for safety . The water levels at all the major reservoirs are being maintained at least 3 feet below their full capacity . In contrast, in 2015, 25,000 cusecs of water was released from the Chembarambakkam reservoir overnight when its maximum outflow is 32,000 CONTINUED ON: P5 cusecs. ber. With each medical officer earning `60,000, the State is expected to save `10.92 crore a month by terminating the doctors’ contracts. Likewise, the contracts of 1,420 multipurpose workers too would be terminated by December. Each multi-purpose worker earns `6,000 a month so ending their contracts further saves the State `85.20 lakh each month. Officials said discussions were on to reduce the strength of mini-clinic medical officers in a phased manner. “We may retain some of the doctors who are working in places like King’s Institute. Apart from this, the services of the rest are required less now,” said an official, on condition of anonymity . 2 Water being released days ahead of rains based on better forecasting EXPRESS READ EPS’s assistant held in connection with job racket Salem: The personal assistant of former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami was arrested on Sunday for his involvement in an alleged job racket. According to police, M Mani (50) of Nadupatti took `17 lakh from Tamilselvan, native of Neyveli in 2018 after promising him a government job. Realising he was cheated, Tamilselvan asked for his money back | P4 NATIONWIDE NOV 27 NOV 28 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 8,318 10,967 465 8,774 9,481 621 TAMIL NADU NOV 27 NOV 28 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 740 765 11 736 772 9 Catching the bug in time South Africa didn’t wait for gene sequencing to spot the variant, as it used a RT-PCR test with a gene kit that can show a result of a 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 | P7 pean nations, the United Kingdom, 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 travel. P12
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