KOLLAM l friday l march 17, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Centre writes to six states over spike in Covid-19 cases The Centre on Thursday asked Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka to contain the recent spurt in cases Infection seems localised: Health ministry Focus on testing, genome sequencing “There are a few states which are reporting higher numbers of cases indicating possible localised spread of infection,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to the six states. Bhushan advised them to examine the situation at the micro-level and implement necessary measures for prompt and effective management of the disease ■ Bhushan advised genomic sequencing for samples of international passengers and collection of samples from local clusters of cases ■ He said Karnataka reported a positivity rate of 2.77%, Kerala 2.64%, Tamil Nadu 1.99%, Maharashtra 1.92%, Gujarat 1.11% and Telangana 0.31% in the week ending March 15, against the national rate of 0.61% 3,264 Total No. of cases in the week ending March 15, up from 2,082 a week ago 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 Test of democracy, says Rahul on right to respond in House such serious subjects,” Prasad said. The BJP, he added, will continue to campaign against Rahul till he tenUnder fire for his ‘democracy in dan- ders his apology The Congress, how. ger’ remarks in London, Congress ever, flatly rejected the demand. leader Rahul Gandhi on Though Rahul attended the Thursday said the real quesafternoon session of the Lok tion is whether he will be alSabha for the first time since lowed to respond to the allethe controversy broke out, gations raised against him by the House was adjourned four BJP MPs in Parliament. within minutes after protests. “It’s my democratic right Parliament has been in turto speak in Parliament. What moil over Rahul’s remarks in you are seeing is a test of dethe UK ever since the second mocracy If Indian democra. part of the Budget session be‘Speaker just gan on Monday. cy is functioning, I would smiled’ have been able to say my “I went to Parliament this Rahul met Lok piece in Parliament,” he said morning with the idea of Sabha Speaker at a press meet here after reputting what I feel on the Om Birla with a turning from London. floor of the House... Within “After four BJP leaders request to allow one minute of my coming to him to speak in made an allegation against a the House, they adjourned the House. “He member of Parliament, will it,” he said. that mamber get the same only smiled, the The Wayanad MP alleged Speaker was space in the House or is he gothat the government is runing to be told to shut up?” Ra- non-committal,” ning away from questions on Rahul said hul wondered. the relationship between the The BJP was quick in its PM and industrialist Gautam pushback with party leader Ravi Adani, who has been accused of stock Shankar Prasad describing Rahul as a manipulation and fraud by Hindennovice in foreign policy “Rahul should burg Research. Congress leader . brush up his information about In- Jairam Ramesh said all opposition dia’s foreign policy and strategic secu- parties barring a few are together and rity before passing any comment on believe that what Rahul said is right. P r eet h a N a i r a n d RA J E S H K U M AR T HA K U R @ New Delhi Proud Moment President Droupadi Murmu presenting the President’s Colour to INS Dronacharya, the gunnery school of Indian Navy, at a function in Kochi on Thursday. The President is on a two-day visit to Kerala | T P Sooraj | P5 Krithivasan TCS’s next CEO, Gopinathan quits E x p r ess Ne ws S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Rajesh Gopinathan, MD and CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has resigned four years ahead of the end of his tenure. He will be replaced by another company veteran K Krithivasan, who has been nominated CEO-designate. Gopinathan, who has been at the helm of TCS for six years, is leaving “to pursue his other interests”, the company said on Thursday He . will continue till September 15 to provide transition and support to his successor Krithivasan, who is now the global head of the BFSI vertical. Gopinathan had taken the reins of India’s largest software exporter in February 2017 from N Chandrasekaran, who took over as Tata Sons chairman. TCS shareholders had in April 2022 approved Gopinathan’s appointment for five years till February 20, 2027. This is the second major leadership change in the Indian IT sector within a week. Last week, Infosys president Mohit Joshi had quit the firm to join Tech Mahindra as MD and CEOdesignate to take over the charge from C P Gurnani, who will retire in December. Neglect by BJP, BDJS threatens to quit NDA K Krithivasan E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @T’Puram Wreckage of the Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Army which crashed near Mandala in West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday | PTI 2 dead as Army chopper crashes in Arunachal E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Guwahati TWO pilots on board Indian Army’s Cheetah helicopter were killed after their copter c r a s h e d i n A r u n a ch a l Pradesh around 12.30 pm on Thursday . The helicopter was on an operational sortie from Missamari in Assam’s Sonitpur district to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. However, it encountered inclement weather in West Kameng district and was returning to Missamari when the mishap occurred. The deceased have been identified as Lt Colonel V V B Reddy and co-pilot Major Jayanth A. Guwahati-based defence spokesman Lt Col Mahendra Rawat said that five search parties of Indian Army, SSB and ITBP were immediately pressed into service and the wreckage of the aircraft was found near Banglajaap village, east of Mandala in West Kameng district. A Court of Inquiry has also been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident. Arunachal has a history of aircraft crashes. Thursday’s crash is the 16th such incident since 1995. Over 100 lives have been lost in the incidents. In a move that smacks of discrimination, Opposition MLAs have been booked under nonbailable sections while ruling front legislators were charged with minor infractions in connection with Wednesday’s scuffle in the assembly complex. Seven UDF members were booked by the Museum police on Thursday for allegedly injuring a female watch-and-ward staff, and two LDF members for allegedly attacking Opposition legislators. Roji M John, P K Basheer, An- Highway to progress In a three-part series starting today, TNIE examines the progress of the NH work in north, central and south Kerala. We begin with north Kerala Full coverage p2 Rain gain! Kochi’s air quality gets a water cleansing Hazardous Very unhealthy March 1: AQI: 134 (moderate) PM2.5: 303 March 12: AQI: 162 (poor) PM2.5: 322 March 13: AQI: 134 (moderate) PM2.5: 276 301-500 March 14: AQI: 122 (moderate) PM2.5: 252 201-300 Unhealthy 151-200 101-150 Unhealthy for sensitive groups Moderate 51-100 Kochi is breathing easy after inhaling -- for nearly 12 days -toxic smoke that the fire at the Brahmapuram waste yard threw up. The city’s air quality improved further after the rain Wednesday night with the monitoring station at Vyttila reflecting the chang e, even on Thursday . According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the ambient air quality (AQI) that dropped to 180 (very poor) with PM2.5 of 322 ug/m3 (micrograms/cubic metre) on March 12, stood at 75 (satisfactory) with PM2.5 count of 150 ug/m3 on quick look at the AQI of Kochi in the past few days AQI 0-50 Good A n u K u r u v i l l a @ Kochi Centre alerts Kerala on rise in Covid cases T’Puram: The Centre has asked the state to adopt measures to control the rise in Covid cases. In a letter issued to the principal secretary (health), Union Health Secretary asked the state to adopt a five-fold strategy of test-track-treat to contain the spread. The state reported 579 positive cases in the week ended March 15 | P5 Tejashwi to appear before CBI on Mar 25 New Delhi: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav told the Delhi High Court that he will appear before the CBI in the national capital on March 25, after the probe agency assured the court that it won’t arrest the legislator in the alleged land-for-jobs case. The charge sheet was filed on October 10 last year | P7 UDF MLAs slapped with non-bailable charges M a n oj V i swa n at h a n @Kochi While the BJP is charting out grand plans to break the jinx and win a couple of seats in Kerala in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, cracks have appeared in the NDA with Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), the main ally of the saffron party in Kerala airing voices of dissent. The absence of the BJP leaders at the state-level study camp organised by the BDJS in Kochi is the latest incident that has infuriated the partner. “Our state president Thushar Vellappally had attended the Jana Shakthi Rally organised by the BJP in Thrissur on Sunday, however, not a single leader of the BJP turned up for our camp on Thursday which was aimed , at rejuvenating the party at the grassroots-level and to prepare for the LS polls. We had invited BJP national organising secretary B L Santhosh, Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan, BJP state president K Surendran and vice-president A N Radhakrishnan. Nobody turned up and it is an insult to the party,” said a senior functionary of the BDJS. ● More on P4 Rajesh Gopinathan express read March 15: AQI: 115 (moderate) PM2.5: 234 March 16: AQI: 75 (satisfactory) PM2.5: 150 Thursday This is considerably . lower than the AQI readings at Pollution Control Board’s monitoring station at Vyttila on March 1, a day before the fire broke out. AQI on March 1 stood at 134 (moderate) with PM2.5 at a high of 303 ug/m3. Did the rain on Wednesday help bring down AQI levels? According to Baburajan P K, chief environmental engineer, Kerala State Pollution Control Board, the rain may have played some role. “Howev- er, AQI values were dropping as the fire was being doused and smoke subsided,” he said. As for the monitoring of AQI at Brahmapuram, he said, “Mobile units placed in and around the yard will continue to monitor the air quality for three more days before being recalled.” Echoing his views, Dr Anand Madhavan, assistant professor at Cusat’s School of Environment Studies, said, “Rain did play a role in washing down the pollutants in the air, which directly led to a drop in AQI values. The present values are the result of exhaust fumes and emissions from industrial ● More on P4 units.” war Sadath, I C Balakrishnan, Anoop Jacob, K K Rema, and Uma Thomas were named in the FIR as accused on a complaint filed by Sergeant Assistant Sheena. Five more UDF MLAs who could be identified had been named in the FIR. Sheena alleged she, along with her colleagues, were trying to prevent the protesting Opposition legislators from entering the speaker’s office when they were attacked. The UDF MLAs were booked Ruckus: A recap The assembly witnessed chaos on Wednesday after the Opposition MLAs held a protest in front of speaker’s office. The UDF members and seven Watch and Ward staff were injured in the brawl. for unlawful assembly ri, oting, uttering obscene words and voluntarily causing hurt to public servants, among other charges. LDF MLAs H Salam and K M Sachin Dev have also been booked, but under minor charges, on a complaint filed by UDF member Saneesh Kumar Joseph. Saneesh, in his complaint, said the two Left MLAs, along with Additional Chief Marshal Moideen Hussain and other watch-and-ward officials, attacked him during the protest. The UDF MLAs slapped with non-bailable charges termed the action an act to demoralise them. “The fight against the government that has been adopting antipeople policies will continue, both politically and legally they said ,” in a joint statement. ● More on P4 After no-show, Kavitha gets fresh ED summons 2 TB of abuse content involving Kerala minors removed from cyberspace A M I T M U K H E R J E E @ New Delhi S h a n A S @T’Puram The Directorate of Enforcement issued fresh summons to K Kavitha, BRS lawmaker and daughter of the Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, to appear before it on Monday (March 20) for questioning in the Delhi excise policy scam, hours after she failed to turn up on Thursday, citing her petition pending before the Supreme Court on the matter. Kavita, who had appeared in person on March 11, sent a letter and her legal team with documents to the ED office this time on her advocates’ advice. When she moved the SC on Wednesday, the court listed it for March 24 without giving her any interim relief. In the wake of her skipping the summons, a special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court extended the custodial remand of Arun Ramachandran Pillai, a key accused alleged to be closely associated with Kavitha in the scam. The ED was to confront her with Pillai among other accused and witnesses in custody . In a disturbing development that reveals the extent of online child exploitation, the Counter Child Sexual Exploitation Centre (CCSE) of the state police has identified two terabytes (TB) of sexual abuse content involving children from Kerala in cyberspace in the past three years. CCSE, a dedicated team that exclusively handles matters related to child pornography, identified the huge cache of abusive materials in cyberspace from 2020-22. The obscene videos and pictures of minor children were later taken down from the internet. Intelligence IG P Prakash said abusive content of local children is being regularly uploaded to encrypted sites and a bulk of them was removed from cyberspace by the CCSE. “We had removed two terabytes of such content. Sharing child sexual abuse materials is a worrying trend that needs to be dealt with firmly. Because of the sort of vigilance we maintain, we are able to detect such abusive content and get them removed as soon as possible,” he said. The state police have been adopting an iron-fisted ap- nip it in the bud CyberTipline is a reporting mechanism for cases of child sexual exploitation including child pornography 13,000 tipline reports the CCSE got from NCMEC on child sexually offensive content in 2022 Counter Child Sexual Exploitation Centre (CCSE) is a dedicated wing of the Kerala police that handles matters related to child pornography proach against the circulation of child sexual abuse content. For that purpose, they formed CCSE, which operates in close contact with Interpol Crimes against Children, and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC). The police have been using the software provided by the Interpol as well as the ones developed in-house for identifying groups and individuals that view, share, upload and browse child abuse content. ● More on P4
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.