HYDERABAD FRIDAY DECEMBER 03, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION 164 PROPOSALS ON APPOINTING HC JUDGES IN CONSIDERATION Law minister informs Parliament about the judge-selection process conducted by the Supreme Court collegium and govt 406 JUDGE VACANCIES IN HIGH COURTS HUGE CASE BACKLOG IN LOWER JUDICIARY A total of 164 proposals on appointing high court judges are at different stages of consideration, Kiren Rijiju said in response to a Rajya Sabha question. High courts have a vacancy of 406 judges while the apex court has one. This year, nine apex court judges and 118 high court judges were appointed. Currently, no high court has a woman Chief Justice | P7 ■ ■ Of the proposals to appoint HC judges, 55 have been either remitted or returned on SC collegium’s advice to HCs this year While 70,038 cases are pending in the Supreme Court, 56,42,858 are pending in the various high courts. In the lower judiciary, a staggering 3,79,42,466 cases are pending, according to Rijiju 1,098 COMBINED SANCTIONED STRENGTH OF JUDGES IN 25 HIGH COURTS 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 First cases of Omicron found in India WHAT WE KNOW 1 2 medical practitioner, 46, from Bengaluru with no history of travel tested positive on November 22 Was in home isolation after complaining of tiredness, body ache, mild fever Govt traced his 13 primary and 205 secondary contacts and found that five of them tested positive South African man, 66, tested positive on November 20 at the the Bengaluru International Airport He had been isolated in a hotel and his symptoms were not severe, authorities said Contact-tracing done. His 24 primary and 240 secondary contacts tested negative. He flew out for Dubai later that month BOTH MEN WERE DOUBLY VACCINATED 373 CASES of Omicron found in 29 nations so far The variant also has three mutations in the furin cleavage site, which increases SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. However, it is still unclear whether Omicron is more transmissible than other variants Both detected in Bengaluru after genomic sequencing; mask up, but don’t panic, says govt; concern over community transmission C H E TA N A B E L A G E R E @ Bengaluru THE country’s first Omicron cases were recorded in Karnataka on Thursday, and one of the two cases is a local from Bengaluru with no international travel history . Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar, said the 46-yearold doctor, the local case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, is a resident of Bommanahalli, Bengaluru. The doctor was in home isolation for two days after testing positive and, on November 25, was admitted to a private hospital. After three days of treatment, he was discharged on November 27. Authorities in the state have expressed fears of community spread of the variant as the doctor had no travel history and five of his contacts have also tested positive for Covid-19. Their genomic sequencing reports are awaited. The announcement of the two Omicron cases was made by the Union health ministry at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Lav Agarwal, the ministry’s joint secretary, called for calm and strict surveillance. “There is no reason to panic, but we need to be monitoring the situation and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.” Meanwhile, the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) tested 13 of the doctor’s primary contacts, mostly his family and healthcare workers, as well as 205 secondary contacts. It found that two of the primary contacts and three secondary ones tested positive for the coronavirus. The other case is a South African national, who left India on November 27 for Dub a i . H e a r r ive d at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) from Dubai on November 20 with a RTPCR negative report from South Africa and was screened and tested at KIA on arrival. He then checked into a hotel and his test came back positive. The 66-year-old was found to be asymptomatic and was advised to self-isolate at the hotel. On November 22, his samples were sent for genomic sequencing through the BBMP The pa. tient took another test at a private lab on November 23 and the result was negative. His 24 primary contacts and 240 secondary contacts are asymptomatic and tested negative. A R S H A D K H A N @ New Delhi Passengers arrive from Singapore at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Thursday | PTI SYMPTOMS DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF DELTA? Extreme tiredness and body pain No loss of smell or taste While WHO says the symptoms of Omicron are not different, South African doctors say most Omicron patients have mild issues, such as extreme tiredness, body pain, besides sore throat, dry coughs and fever. Loss of taste or smell & low oxygen was typical of Delta JAB-O-METER NATIONWIDE DEC 01 DEC 02 TELANGANA DEC 01 DEC 02 Dec 01 71,55,049 doses Dec 02 66,21,382 doses Fresh cases 8,954 9,765 Recoveries 10,204 8,548 Deaths 267 477 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths TAKE YOUR SHOT TOTAL: 1,25,65,96,957 193 153 1 189 137 2 Flyer from UK Covid positive, TS REIMPOSES MASK RULE, TO samples sent for Omicron test CHECK VAX CERTIFICATES D O N I TA J O S E @ Hyderabad A passenger from the UK tested positive at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad on Thursday. The 35-yearold lady, who arrived in a British Airways flight, was rushed to the TIMS Gachibowli for treatment and her condition is said to be stable. Her samples have now been sent for genome sequencing to check for the Omicron variant. The test results, which are likely to be out in the next three days, will be released directly by the Centre. Around 325 co-passengers have been segregated based on their destination State. “On the flight, there were 239 passengers from Telangana, 72 from AP, 10 from Maharashtra, two from MP one each from UP and , Rajasthan. Their details have been collected, which will also be sent to health authorities of respective States. They will be placed under home isolation for the next 14 days,” said Dr G Srinivasa Rao, Director of Public Health, Telangana. Details of the passengers from Telangana have been forwarded to district surveillance teams, which will closely monitor the situation. “Vaccine and masks are the only way to combat this virus. We urge people to take vaccines and not taking them now is suicidal. Nearly 25 lakh in Telangana and 90,000 in Hyderabad are due for second dose,” Dr Rao said. “The sequences of those passengers testing positive at airport will be sent to Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics,” he added. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad IN the wake of reports that Omicron, the fast-spreading variant of Coronavirus has entered India, Telangana reimposed the mask rule with immediate effect. According to State Director of Public Health, Dr G Srinivasa Rao, a `1,000 fine will be slapped on those who do not wear appropriate mask. “Telangana Health Department has requested the enforcement authorities to watch out for those who do not wear masks. Imposition of fine of `1,000 on those who do not wear masks is already in force. It is not a new order,” the DPH said on Thursday . He also said that from now on, when a person visits public INSIDE Brace for a bumpy year ahead as cars, houses to cost a lot more in 2022 places he or she has to carry their double vaccination certificates, which will be randomly checked by health staff. “We request people to carry their Covid vaccine certificates. The State health teams will visit public places and will randomly ask people to show vaccine certificates. This is a cautionary measure and it will also create awareness about the importance of vaccination. Our agenda is to safeguard the health and lives of people,” he said. The Health Department’s move comes in the wake of vaccine reluctance and complacency over second dose observed in the last few months. Currently, just 47% of the State’s adult population is ful- ly vaccinated and 90% with single dose. In Hyderabad, 90,000 individuals are yet take their second dose while statewide that number is around 25 lakhs. While urging the citizens not to be lax, the DPH said: “We have set December 31 as the deadline to achieve 100% vaccinations in the State.” Slight spike in cases Meanwhile, as fears around Omicron rise, Telangana has been witnessing a slight uptick in new Covid cases. In cold weather conditions, viruses tend to thrive. Moreover, we have been observing more outbreaks in schools. We are routinely sending sample forms to schools for genome sequencing as well,” Dr Rao added. 27 STUDENTS TEST +VE AT S’REDDY SCHOOL I P4 WITH commodity prices showing no signs of abating, year 2022 is going two be costlier on many fronts — especially if you were planning to buy a new car or a house. India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki on Thursday said it would increase vehicle prices from January to offset the impact of the rise in raw material costs. It is a common practice for automakers to go for a price hike of 2-4% in January every year. However this year, buyers will feel the pinch more as most leading automakers have gone for at least three price hikes in the past one year. For example, Maruti had increased the prices of its vehicles by 1.4% in January 2021, 1.6% in April and then again in September by 1.9% — taking the total quantum of increase to 4.9%. Sources said Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Hyundai will issue similar announcements soon. Luxury automakers Mercedes Benz and Audi have already announced price hikes of 2% and 3%, respectively from January 2022. , MSIL’s senior executive director (marketing and sales) Shashank Srivastava had recently said the firm would be forced to hike vehicle prices SBI CREDIT CARD SCAM Stephen Ravindra TS police bust pan-India call centre racket, 14 held P I N T O D E E PA K @ Hyderabad IN a major breakthrough, the Cybercrime police have busted a pan-India call centre racket operating from Delhi and arrested a 14-member gang. The gang members, who are involved in 295 cases across the country, including 14 in Cyberabad, illegally obtained credit card credentials of the SBI customers and duped them. During the investigation, police found that the gang used to make spoof calls, making the customers believe that they were calling from a call centre of SBI. Spoofing is a method of falsifying the information of an incoming call on the receiver’s caller ID display The receivers get an ID . on their phones which appears as though it was from reputed institutions like banks. Using spoofing applications, the gang used to make calls and claim that they would activate or de-activate the card or enhance credit card limit and then used to drain their accounts. The accused used MoSIP Mobile Dialer, Silver Dialer, Round2Hell and iTell Mobile Dialer spoofing applications to make calls to the victims. The victims received calls as if they were from the toll free numbers of SBI. Believing them to be genuine calls, the victims used to share their credit card credentials only to find their hard earned money CONTINUED ON P3 siphoned off from their accounts. Gloves are off as Cong Uppal Bhagayat lands fetch `141 cr on 1st day of auction hits back at Mamata LOOK EAST POLICY S B A C H A N J E E T S I N G H @ Hyderabad TWENTY-THREE small and medium size plots that went under the hammer on the first day of e-action of Uppal Bhagayat lands fetched a whopping `141.61 crore for the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) on Thursday . According to the HMDA officials, the highest bid upon which the auctioneer’s hammer fell was `1.01 lakh as against the upset price of `35,000 per square yard while the lowest bid stopped at `53,000. The average bid realised on the day was `71,815 per square yard. The 23 plots, totalling 19,719 sq.yds, auctioned on the first day were in the range of 150 sq.yds to 1,787 sq.yds, . The HMDA took up the e-auctioning of 44 developed plots spread over 1,35,408 square yards in the Uppal Bhagayat Layout — The Hub of Life @ East City, near Nagole Metro R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi The highest bid upon which the auctioneer’s hammer fell was `1.01 lakh as against the upset price of `35,000 per square yard Station. The e-auctioning is being done through MSTC Limited, a Union gover nment enterprise. The HMDA officials informed Express that about 12 plots (14,486 sq.yds) were e-auctioned in the first session of the first day which fetched `97.27 crore. , The highest bid went for `77,000 per sq.yd and lowest bid for `53,000 per sq.yd while the total average was around `67,145 per sq.yd. In the second session, 11 plots (5,232 sq.yds) were e-auctioned, fetching `71.81 crore. The highest bid was `1.01 lakh and the lowest bid `73,000 while the total average was around `84,744 per sq.yd. A plot measuring 1,500 sq.yds fetched `13.50 crore and another plot of 1,775 sq.yds fetched `12.95 crore. Unlimited floors will be allowed on plots abutting 30-metre width road, 15 floors and 10 floors on lands abutting 24-metre and 18-metre roads respectively . The remaining 21 plots (1,15,689 sq.yds), which are bigger in size, will go under the hammer in two session from 9 am on Friday The notified plots . range from 150 sq.yds to 15,149 sq.yds, which include residential plots (21), hospitals (2), shopping-cum-entertainment (4), educational institutions (2) and multipurpose use (15). WITH West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee making pointed attacks on the Congress, the latter began giving it back in equal measure, with the charge led by its young leaders to start with. From calling Congress incompetent to saying there is no UPA, Mamata has been vocal in her criticism so as to wrest the Opposition leadership space. At her recent meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, she is learnt to have floated the idea of regional parties forming an Opposition alliance and making seat arrangements for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, while bringing the Congress to the table after the polls, sources said. Separately, her strategist Prashant Kishor took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gan- with steel, aluminium, copper, plastic and precious metals becoming costlier. Steel prices, which stood at `38 per kg last April-May, shot up to `77 a kg this year. Similarly aluminium , which was available for $1,7001,800 a tonne last year, now costs $2,700-2,800 per tonne. If unchecked, this surge in metal prices, along with a surge in cement prices, is going to jack up property prices as well. “Housing developers’ profit margins are already wafer-thin and the rising inflationary trend of basic input costs such as cement, steel and labour is a real challenge… Future price hikes seem inevitable,” said Prashant Thakur, director & head of research at Anarock Group. Real estate industry body Credai had recently estimated housing prices to jump 10-15% in view of rising costs of construction raw materials. dhi, calling for democratically electing the Opposition leadership, adding it was not the “divine right of an individual”. Congress leaders this newspaper spoke to said the party will drop its restraint and taken on the Trinamool based on facts, though seniors would stay out for now. The counterattack has already begun with party MPs Manickam Tagore, Sayeed Naeer Hussain and others saying Mamata has no business commenting on the UPA. A senior leader said the Congress is the principal opposition party with around 20% vote share in the 2019 elections. “The Trinamool Congress is limited to Bengal. They went chest thumping in Tripura but we saw the results in the local body polls. Goa Assembly results would further clear the air,” the leader said. Trinamool Congress is limited to Bengal. They went chest thumping in Tripura but we saw the results in the local body polls -A senior Cong leader Delhi pollution: SC gives 24 hrs to find solution K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi HINTING that it might create a task force to monitor pollution control measures, the Supreme Court on Thursday gave 24 hours to the Centre to take action to check the rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR. “We are giving you 24 hours’ time. We want you to take a hard look at this and come up with a solution with seriousness. We will take this up tomorrow morning. You update us about the steps, otherwise we will pass directions,” a bench headed by CJI N V Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. “In an emergency situation, you have to work in emergent ways. Suppose the temperature goes up in fever, what can be done to control it?” the CJI said. Mehta said he will respond after speaking with the minister. “We are not averse to this and the highest functionaries are equally worried,” he said.
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