koZHIKODE l friday l June 03, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION OPEC+ to boost production as U.S. prices hit new record Saudi Arabia-led OPEC oil cartel and allied producing countries will raise production by 648,000 barrels per day both in July and August Pandemic supply cuts being reversed Buzz on biden’s visit to saudi Arabia OPEC’s decision comes in the backdrop of average gasoline pump price in the US touching a record level of $4.71 per gallon on Thursday. The decision steps up the pace by the bloc in restoring cuts made during the worst of the pandemic recession. The group had been adding a steady 432,000 barrels per day each month to gradually restore production cuts from 2020 ■ ■ ■ High gas prices for drivers are a big factor in US politics with mid-term Congressional elections approaching later this year OPEC’s move also comes ahead of US President Joe Biden’s likely visit to Saudi Arabia later this month over rising prices OPEC and its allies’ next meeting will be held June 30 $116.17 / barrel Benchmark Brent crude was trading at this level on Thursday morning 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 With aid diplomacy, India opens discussions with Taliban Bank manager from Raj, 22-year-old Bihar native shot dead in Kashmir KP exodus begins? Faya z Wa n i @ Srinagar STEPPING up the targeted killing of non-Muslims and nonlocals in Kashmir, terrorists shot dead a bank official from Rajasthan and a labourer from Bihar on Thursday . Vijay Kumar, hailing from Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, was a manager with the Ellaquai Dehati Bank at Areh Mohanpora branch in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. He was shot from point-blank range inside the bank premises. Kumar was rushed to a nearby hospital but succumbed to his injuries. CCTV footage of the attack that went viral showed a terrorist with a face mask pulling out a pistol and pumping bullets on Kumar before running away . In the second incident, militants fired from close range at 22-year-old Dilkush Kumar from Bihar while he was working in a brick kiln at Chadoora area of Budgam district. An- biennale 5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale from Dec 12 to April 10, 2023 Over 300 migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees recruited under PM’s job package and posted in the Valley have returned to Jammu, Jagti Tenement Committee Jammu president Shadi Lal said on Thursday other labourer from Punjab was also shot at but he survived the attack. A little known militant outfit Kashmir Freedom Fighters has claimed responsibility for Kumar’s killing. “Anyone involved in Kashmir’s demographic change will meet the same fate,” it warned. Hours after the killing, Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting of top officials including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to discuss the security situation in the Union territory. Another high-level meeting is scheduled on Friday in which J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha will also participate. Curated by Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao and titled ‘In Our Veins Flow Ink and Fire’, the exhibition will bring together 80 artists and collectives with over 45 new commissions Panel steps in after govt sweeps teacher aside E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @T’Puram The Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) on Thursday registered a case in the incident in which a national award winning teacher was employed as a sweeper. Chairman Antony Dominic also served notices on the gen- A grab of the Express report that eral education department sec- appeared on Thursday, June 2 retary and the directorate of public instruction after a peti- schools in Attingal, Kilimanoor t i o n s o u g h t t h e p a n e l ’s and Varkala as sweepers. Their intervention. salary scale starts at `23,000, TNIE had on Thursday pub- which is the only solace as they lished the report highlighting earned `19,000 per month as the plight of K R Usha Kumari, MGLC teachers. who taught in a Multi-Grade Welcoming KSHRC’s interLearning Centre (MGLC) at vention, Usha said, “We only Kunnathumala in demand that we be Amboori for 23 p r e s s appointed to the ofyears until its cloimpact fice assistant post sure on March 31. which has the same Usha was then minimum basic posted as a sweeper in the Gov- qualification as that of MGLC ernment Higher Secondary teachers. There is also uncerSchool in Peroorkada, Thiru- tainty regarding our pension. I vananthapuram, and started taught in the MGLC for 23 years work when schools reopened and have only six years until on Wednesday . retirement in the new post. In his petition, Mujeeb Rah- When our pension is calculatman P T of Prathikarana Vedi ed, our total years of service said Usha, who taught students should be considered. in a remote tribal area for over The state government on two decades, was asked to work March 31 closed down 272 as a sweeper by the govern- MGLCs in tribal areas, that emment. “It is an insult to her,” he ployed 344 teachers in total. said in his petition. The move was part of the iniIn the capital district alone, tiative to integrate tribal stu14 MGLC teachers joined dents to regular schools. EXPRESS READ Covid cases cross 1k mark, TPR 9.46% T’Puram: The state reported over 1,000 Covid cases for the third consecutive day on Thursday with 1,278 people testing positive. The test positivity rate rose to 9.46% from Wednesday’s 8.7%. There are 6,642 active cases. One person died. Ernakulam saw the most number of new cases (407), followed by Thiruvananthapuram (168), Kottayam (152), Thrissur (134) and Kozhikode (124). Thrikkakara bypoll: Counting from 8am Kochi: The counting of votes cast in Thrikkakara assembly byelection will start at 8am on Friday. The trends will be available by 9am, said officials. The strongroom at Maharaja’s College, where the EVMs are kept, will be opened at 7.30am in the presence of candidates and representatives of parties. Votes polled in 21 booths will be counted in one round. Vijay Babu not to be arrested till June 7 Kochi: The High Court on Thursday extended the interim pre-arrest bail granted to actor-producer Vijay Babu who is accused in a rape case to June 7. When Babu’s anticipatory bail plea came up, the prosecution said he returned to India and appeared before the investigation officer on June 1. It said Babu is being questioned. P4 to Afghans, particularly to students and patients. Apart from the talks, Singh visited various beneficiaries of humanitarian aid from India. This included the Indira Gandhi Child Hospital and Hibibia High School, which was renovated by India. In Delhi, the MEA didn’t specify a date as to when the Indian Embassy will become operational in Afghanistan. “Ever since Indians left Afghanistan (August 2021) the local staff has been maintaining the embassy premises in Kabul. The staff has also always pitched in to distribute humanitarian aid that we have been sending from India,” said MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi. Sidestepping a question on whether India was looking at recognising the Taliban regime, Bagchi said: “We are engaged with the international community on what is their expectation from the Taliban... India has historical and civili- Express News Service What they said @ Kochi/T’Puram The Railway Board on Thursday told the Kerala High Court that neither the Centre nor the Railways has approved or concurred with the social impact assessment for the SilverLine project. However, the K-Rail corporation asserted within a few hours that land acquisition comes within the purview of the state government, and hence it does not require the Union government’s permission to acquire land for its flagship project. The Railway Board, in a statement in the High Court, said the Union government and the Railways have not approved or concurred with the social impact assessment for the SilverLine project. “The project is not yet sanctioned,” it submitted. Nor have the Centre and the Railways concurred with or requested the state government to lay survey stones or marks during the course of the survey . “The In-Principle Approval (IPA), only for taking up preinvestment activities, has been conveyed by the Ministry of Railways. Granting of IPA only Union government and Railways have not approved or concurred with the social impact assessment for the SilverLine project. Sufficient details for technical feasibility are not available in the DPR. SilverLine has got in-principle nod. As per a 2016 order by the Centre, a slew of pre-investment activities can be carried out. Land acquisition comes under state, no special clearance needed from Centre, Railway Board means the presentation of DPR etc which brings out the complete details of the project including financials,” the Board said. Sufficient details for technical feasibility are not available in the DPR and the proposed alignment is found to be passing through railway land near Mahe, it said. Hence K-Rail has been advised to provide detailed technical documents such as alignment plan, particulars of railway land and private land, crossings over existing railway network, duly depicting affected railway asset through Zonal Railway after site verification for detailed examination of the project and to arrive at a conclusion about the feasibility of the project. No financial approval has been granted to the project as per the Ministry of Finance’s guidelines, the Railway Board said. In its affidavit, the K-Rail submitted that the order issued by the government said specifically that the planting of survey stones had been dispensed with and the it uses either the geo-tagging method or mark on permanent structures for demarcation of the boundaries. The court directed the Director of Survey and Land Records to file a statement with regard to laying survey stones. The K-Rail issued a press release in the evening in response to the Railway Board’s statment in the High Court. ● More on P4 Mental health centre supdt suspended Kozhikode: Kuthiravattam Government Mental Health Centre superintendent Dr K C Ramesan has been suspended. The suspension follows a directive from Health Minister Veena George citing flaws in the centre’s functioning, especially repeated incidents of inmates escaping from there. P5 sational ties with Afghan people and those long-standing ties will continue to guide our approach to Afghanistan.” No visas have been issued since the closure of the embassy. Sources say the embassy would first open with one or two junior level officers and expand services by and by depending on the situation. The delegation is likely to interact with organisations like WFP and WHO that are involved in distribution of food to Afghans. SilverLine not yet sanctioned, Rly Board tells High Court Railway Board Indian diplomat J P Singh with Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul India on Thursday took its first overt step to engage Afghanistan ever since the country fell to the Taliban in August last year, with a delegation led by a senior diplomat visiting holding talks with Taliban’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul besides overseeing the distribution of humanitarian aid. Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) J P Singh in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) led the delegation. A press release issued by the Taliban government said the talks focused on diplomatic relations, bilateral trade and humanitarian aid. Muttaqi, while expressing gratitude for the humanitarian aid, urged India to restart work on development projects it had dropped in the wake of last year’s upheaval, restore diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and resume consular services K-Rail Y e s h i S e l i @ New Delhi Wrap it up Fishermen wind up the day’s work following an alert warning of strong winds at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. The IMD has warned fishermen not to venture into the sea for three days | Vincent Pulickal Govt push to make KSRTC self-reliant in second year Express News Service @T’Puram Reorganising KSRTC to make the carrier self-reliant is a top priority of the Pinarayi Vijayan government as it heads into its second year. The one-year progress report, released by the CM during the valedictory of monthlong celebrations to mark the first year of the LDF government, discusses KSRTC’s crisis in detail. “The government will reorganise KSRTC as a self-reliant institution that will be supported by the minimum subsidy granted by the state,” says the report. “The government will ensure salary and pension for KSRTC employees. All arrears will be paid. The government will repay loans availed by KSRTC from the consortium of banks until it becomes self-reliant. Steps will be initiated to implement Sushil Khanna commission recommendations,” promises the progress report. “The gover nment spent `6,650 crore in the past five years for sustaining KSRTC,” notes the report. The government also promised that the loan availed by KSRTC from the government would be converted as shares and the interest would be waived off. The progress report also repeats the promise of 20 lakh new jobs in the digital sector under the schemes of knowledge economy mission. More support for startups has also ● More on P4 been promised. monument of neglect Clothes hang in BUDS school meant for special kids G e o r g e P o i k ay i l @Kasaragod Had the state government and Panathady grama panchayat started operation of the BUDS school they built in March 2019, endosulfan victim Reshma R and her mother Vimala Kumari would have been alive today. This has been the general emotion of the panchayat residents ever since the shocking death of the duo on May 30. Vimala, 58, a cook with the Government High School at Chamundikunnu, allegedly strangled her daughter Resh- ma, 28, and died by suicide. She worried about the future of Reshma, who had intellectual disabilities, and feared that none would care for her after Vimala died, said her colleagues in school and panchayat members. “She took the extreme step two days before the reopening of her school. If the BUDS school was functional, she could have left Reshma there and picked her up after work,” said K J James, a panchayat member. BUDS school, which doubles up as a daycare centre for per- Panathady BUDS School meant for persons with intellectual disabilities lying in disuse since 2019 The panchayat does not have enough funds to run the school. We will need the support of Social Justice Department, Kudumbashree and others Prasanna Prasad, prez, Panathady panchayat sons with intellectual disabilities, was built for `1.8 crore loaned by Nabard under the Endosulfan Package, said James. Five years on, the building is used by neighbours to dry clothes, said N Vincent, another panchayat member and literacy activist. James and Vincent belong to Congress. The panchayat is controlled by CPM. Panchayat president Prasanna Prasad of the CPM blamed the previous panchayat board for not “paying attention to the BUDS school.” The previous board was headed by CPM lead- er P G Mohanan from Ottamala, the home ward of Reshma and Vimala. His term ended in December 2020, nearly two years after the building work was completed. The building still lacks power supply. Prasanna said the panchayat does not have enough funds to run the school. “We will need the support of the Social Justice Department, Kudumbashree and the threetier panchayat system for it. The district panchayat has hinted that it will pitch in,” she ● More on P4 said.
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