tiruchy l tuesday l january 11, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 14 l late city EDITION victory for Djokovic BUT ISSUE YET TO BE RESOLVED NOVAK potentially able to play at oz open World No 1 wins legal battle to stay in Australia. However, country’s immigration minister could still deport him In an emergency court hearing on Monday, the judge made the ruling in favour of Djokovic — who was in detention since his arrival on January 6 — on Covid-19 health grounds, potentially clearing the way for him to take part in the Australian Open. The Serbian player’s lawyers argued that since he recently recovered from Covid-19, he didn’t need to be inoculated ■ NINE BIGGEST VICTORY IN HIS CAREER: MOTHER ■ Djokovic’s mother Dijana (left) was elate. After the court’s verdict, she said: “This is the biggest victory in his career, bigger than all his grand slams.” In a Twitter post after the court verdict, Djokovic said that he’s eager to take part in the Australian Open | P11 NO OF oZ OPEN TITLES Djokovic HAS POCKETED, MOST IN MEN’S SINGLES CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Existing restrictions, including night curfew, to continue till January 31 while Sunday lockdown to be enforced on January 16; semester exams in all State varsities put off; only 150 spectators may attend bull taming events Pongal curbs: TN allows Jallikattu, bars temple entry EXPRESS N EWS SERVICE @ Chennai With Covid-19 cases on the rise, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday announced the extension of existing lockdown norms till January 31 and imposed a few more restrictions. Significantly, places of worship will be closed to public from January 14 to 18, when Pongal is celebrated, and a complete lockdown will be imposed on January 16 (Sunday). While the State has also postponed semester exams indefinitely Jallikattu events have been , permitted for Pongal, with restrictions. The CM announced the new restrictions after chairing a high-level meeting and said the curbs aimed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as health experts had expressed the view that transmission might increase if people crowded at public places during festival days. The night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am, announced last week, will be in force till January 31. In the interests of people travelling to their native places for Pongal, buses may run at 75 per cent of their full capacity All other restric. tions will continue. Earlier in the day Higher Education minister , K Ponmudi announced that semester exams in all Tamil Nadu universities, scheduled to begin on January 21, have been postponed indefinitely A revised exam schedule will be announced . once the situation improves, he said, adding that the direction applies to deemed universities as well. Meanwhile, the State government said that Jallikattu and similar events could be conducted during the Pongal festival but only with a maximum of 150 spectators or 50 per cent of the seating capacity, whichever is less. According to the Government Order issued by the Revenue Department, spectators should produce double vaccination certificate and an RT-PCR negative report taken two days before the event. The State has also allowed Manjuvirattu, Vadamaadu, and Eruthu Viduthal contests as long as they follow the Covid norms. in a nutshell Chennai recorded the highest test positivity rate in Tamil Nadu at 17.4% as of January 9 Ahead of Pongal, 16,768 buses will run between Jan 11 and 13 across TN Passengers traveling to their homes for the harvest festival can occupy 75% of seats Bull tamers must be double vaccinated and have a negative RT-PCR test report On the first day, TN administered the booster dose to 20,765 people As cases rise, medicos want services limited E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ Chennai Chief Minister MK Stalin oversees healthcare workers administering booster dose to people in Chennai on Monday after launching the drive | P Jawahar ‘Deploy med students; no need to test asymptomatic’ S u m i S u k a n ya D u tta @ New Delhi Though the current rate of hospitalisation of Covid patients is just 5-10% as against 20-23% during the second wave, the Centre on Monday urged states to augment human resources by engaging retired medical professionals or MBBS students as was done last year. They can be used for teleconsultation as well as providing training to community volunteers in basic care and management at Covid Care Centres, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to all states. BSc nursing students of third and fourth year, too, can be deployed, he suggested. Later in the day, the Indian Council of Medical Research issued an advisory saying asymptomatic individuals and contacts of Covid-positive patients, unless identified as high risk based on age or comorbidities, should not be tested for the infection. While the advisory is aimed at conserving resources, it also means that the count of frech cases could significantly go under the radar. Bhushan’s letter acknowledged that various states have initiated steps for setting up jumbo health facilities, including field hospitals and temporary hospitals. But both infrastructure and human resources have their limitations, he said. Therefore, it is important to conserve healthcare workers by staggering their deployment wherever possible and by restricting elective procedures in the hospitals, he said. As for the private sector, he said: “It must also be ensured that charges... are reasonable and there is a mechanism to monitor and initiate action in cases of over-charging.” Jab-o-meter NATIONWIDE jan 9 jan 10 tamil nadu jan 9 jan 10 Jan 9 29,60,975 doses Jan 10 82,76,158 doses Fresh cases 1,59,632 1,79,723 Recoveries 40,863 46,569 Deaths 327 146 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Take your shot Total: 1,52,78,35,951 12,895 13,990 1,808 2,547 12 11 THE Service Doctors and Post Graduates Association has requested the Tamil Nadu Health Department to issue guidelines limiting health services, academic activities and official meetings in order to ensure uninterrupted services as Covid19 cases continue to increase in the State. On Monday, Tamil Nadu reported 13,990 new cases, which took the number of active cases in the State to 62,767. While Chennai reported 6,190 cases, its neighbouring districts of Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram reported 1,696, 1054 and 508 cases respectively The four districts . accounted for 67.5 per cent of all new cases in TN. National Institute of Epidemiology deputy director Dr Prabhdeep Kaur on Twitter said the capital and Chengalpattu had a test positivity rate over 10 per cent and so gatherings and non-essential activities should be barred in these districts. However in some good news, NIE epidemiologist Manikanda Nesan S tweeted that Chennai’s R naught (the number of people to whom an infected person can spread the virus) had declined to 2.99 on Monday from an all-time maximum of 3.76 on January 7. SDPGA’s memorandum to the health department came as Vellore’s Christian Medical College reported a cluster of 200 people on Sunday and five undergraduate students at the Madurai Medical College tested positive on Monday . File criminal cases against those Biggies +ve stealing water, HC tells govt officials EXPRESS N EWS SERVICE @ Chennai In a move to prevent illegal extraction of water, the Madras High Court on Monday directed government authorities to register criminal cases against those involved in water theft and blacklist them from availing agricultural loans and subsidies. Justice SM Subramaniam, while disposing of writ petitions on water theft in the Parambikulam-Aliyar Division canal, directed officials of the Water Resources Organisation (WRO) of Tamil Nadu Public Works Department, the Police and the Revenue department to initiate punitive action with the help of the Agriculture department and Horticulture de par tment. “... blacklist the persons/farmers against whom criminal cases are registered (for water theft) from availing of government welfare schemes of agriculture loans, subsidies for seeds and fertilisers,” the court said. The judge said equal distribution of water to all eligible ayacutdars is a constitutional mandate and the authorities have to ensure equal and judicious distribution. Any irregularities and illegalities must be viewed seriously. As water is precious and essential, distribution cannot be at whims and fancies. The mindset among farmers and the public that water is common and they can tap it as they like is a wrong and unlawful, he added. Pointing to TN’s long fight with neighbouring States for due share of river water and formation of tribunals to ensure it, the judge said ironically the government departments within (the State) are unable to prevent water theft. Referring to novel methods employed by offenders, he ordered authorities to utilise latest surveillance technology such as drones to trace and nab the offenders. The petitions filed by Reservoir Project Committee sought to quash the orders granting permission for extracting water from the Aliyar Basin Division canal to two farmers. ‘Use drones to nab offenders’ The judge ordered government authorities to utilise latest surveillance technology such as drones to trace and nab the offenders involved in illegal water extraction Defence minister Rajnath Singh, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai, BJP chief J P Nadda and CPM leaders Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat tested Covid positive on Monday colour burst Ahead of the Pongal festival, a woman paints an earthen pot in Chennai on Monday | Abishieke R outrage Actor’s nasty tweet lands him in big trouble E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Chennai Snarky social media posts, especially if they are double entendres, can land you in serious trouble. Actor Siddharth finds himself at the receiving end after his nasty tweet against badminton ace Saina Nehwal’s post condemning the recent lapse in security when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Punjab. The National Commission for Women on Monday came down on him like a ton of bricks by taking suo motu cognisance of the matter and wrote to Twitter asking it to block his account. Parallelly, it wrote to the Maharashtra Police directing it to register an FIR against him under relevant sections, saying his remarks were lewd, inappropriate and misogynist. It all began on Wednesday last, when Modi’s convoy was blocked by protesting farmers in Punjab. Saina, who is also a member of the BJP tweeted: “No nation can claim , itself to be safe if the security of its own PM gets compromised. I condemn, in the strongest words possible, the cowardly attack on PM Modi by anarchists. #BharatStandsWithModi #PMModi.” Siddharth’s’s acidic comment came a day later: “Subtle cock champion of the world... Thank God we have protectors of India. Folded hands. Shame on you #Rihanna.” His tweet on Thursday started getting amplified on Monday with several politicians and members of the film fraternity condemning it. Saina’s husband Parupalli Kashyap said, “This is upsetting for us. Express ur opinion but choose better words man.” But Siddharth kept defending the indefensible. “COCK & BULL” That’s the reference. Reading otherwise is unfair and leading! Nothing disrespectful was intended, said or insinuated. Period,” he tweeted on Monday . His troubles may have just begun. SC panel to investigate PM’s security breach Agency and the Registrar General of the Punjab and HaryaTHE Supreme Court on Mon- na HC in the committee. day said it would set up a highThe order came after the level committee headed by a Punjab government demanded retired SC judge to probe the an independent probe, saying security lapse during Prime the state would not get a fair Minister Narendra Modi’s hearing in any probe carvisit to Punjab last week. ried out by the Centre. A three-judge bench During the hearing, headed by Chief JusPunjab Advocate Gentice N V Ramana also eral D S Patwalia took ordered the inquiry strong exception to committees of the Censeven showcause notictre and the Punjab es issued to the SSP government to stop Lawyers get concerned, chief sectheir investigations threat calls retary and senior offiinto the January 5 secials of the state askcurity lapse. “We are Many SC lawyers ing them to explain on Monday got taking the PM’s secuwhy action should not an anonymous rity breach very seribe taken. call, taking ously,” the bench reThe bench asked marked, while hearing responsibility for how notices could be the plea of ‘Lawyers blocking the PM’s issued when it had on way in Punjab Voice’ seeking a thorJanuary 7 put on hold ough investigation and warning SC inquiries by the Cenjudges against into the breach in Motre and state. Solicitor di’s security in Punjab hearing the case General Tushar Meto ensure there is no hta clarified the showsuch incident in the future. cause notices were issued beWhile a detailed order is yet fore the SC order. to be passed, the bench said it “If you have already made proposes to include the Direc- up your mind, then what is the tor General of Police in Chan- need for having an inquiry? digarh, the ADGP (security) in There is a lapse and it has to be Punjab, an Inspector General found out who are responsible of the National Investigation for it,” the bench told Mehta. KA N U SAR DA @ New Delhi express read PM to open 11 medical colleges virtually Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate 11 new government medical colleges in Tamil Nadu and the new campus of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) in Chennai on Wednesday via video conferencing. The new colleges are being set up at an estimated cost of `4,000 crore | P4 Budget session of Parl likely to be staggered New Delhi: In view of the spike in Covid-19 cases, the Budget session of Parliament, slated to begin on January 31, may be staggered like the Monsoon session in 2020. On Monday, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla deliberated on ways to deal with the challenge. Already, 400 staff have tested positive | P7
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