WEDNESDAY ‘AIR POLLUTION KILLED 1.7 LAKH INDIANS IN 2019’ 23 1.4% GDP LOST DUE TO POOR AIR QUALITY DECEMBER, 2020 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard BENGAL POLLS 4 MINISTERS SKIP CABINET MEET While three seemed to have genuine reasons, focus is on forest minister’s absence A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 20 fliers from UK positive, Nov 25 start date for scan WITH at least 20 fliers from the UK testing positive for Covid-19 upon their arrival in India on Tuesday, the government tightened its screening protocol a day after announcing a temporary flight ban, as a new variant of the virus in Britain is creating havoc. To do so, the Centre opened the window for tracking incoming fliers from November 25 by sharing with all states the full list of international arrivals from the UK since that date. The list includes those who transited via Britain as well. Fliers who arrived between November 25 and December 8 need to be contacted by the district surveillance officers and advised to self-monitor their health. Those with symptoms must be administered the RTPCR test and if they test positive, their genetic sequencing must be done, the standard operating procedure said. As for those who arrived between December 9 and 23, district surveillance officers have to track them daily till 14 days after their arrival in India. The new variant is estimated by the European Center for Disease Control to be more transmissible and affecting the younger population, the SOP pointed out. The variant has a set of 17 changes or mutations. The ban on flights from the UK comes into effect from Wednesday and will continue till December 31. Fliers arriving from the UK on Monday-Tuesday will be mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests and those testing positive quarantined institutionally . Samples collected from positive patients will be subjected to spike gene-based RT-PCR tests in appropriate labs to assess whether they carry the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 identified in the UK. If anyone has the new variant, the patient will remain in a separate isolation unit. All others will follow the normal treatment protocol, the advisory said. Those who contract the new variant, too, will get treatment as per the existing protocol. They will take a repeat test on the 14th day after the initial positive test. In the sample is still positive, further samples may be taken until two consecutive samples taken 24 hours P7 apart test negative. Six of those who tested positive were on a flight that landed in Delhi at 11.30 pm on Monday; two in Kolkata on Sunday night; four in Ahmedabad on Tuesday; and eight, in Amritsar, including a crew member. All had taken direct Air India flights from London Passengers from the UK are escorted by staff in PPE suits on their arrival at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai on Tuesday | PTI F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar IN the first major electoral exercise after Article 370 revocation, the BJP emerged as the single largest party winning at least 70 seats till the last reports came in. What made it more sweeter for the saffron party was that it made inroads in Kashmir for the first time — in Srinagar, Bandipora and Pulwama. The Gupkar Alliance as expected managed to keep its stronghold intact in Kashmir. In the 280 District Development Council seats, elections for which was held in eight phases, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration comprising NC, PDP, PC, ANC, JKPM, CPI and CPM was ahead in 116 seats (86 won and leading in 30 seats) in the evening. The independents have emerged as the third dominant force with 55 seats (36 won and leading in 19). Top leaders of Gupkar Alliance, which was formed in October to fight for Article 370 restoration, had stayed away from the poll campaign and let the second-rung leaders lead the campaigning. PDP leader Waheed Para, who was arrested by NIA last month in militancy-related case, won the polls even without campaigning from his hometown Pulwama seat. However, the Gupkar Alliance suffered a major setback in Srinagar, where it got only UNITY ‘THERE WON’T BE DISCRIMINATION IN DEVELOPMENT’ In his address to Aligarh Muslim University, PM Narendra Modi says political and ideological differences should be set aside for the sake of national goals PAGE 8 RESULTS OUT Party BJP J&K NC* Independent J&K PDP* INC JKAP JKPC* CPI (M)* JKPM* PDF BSP JKNPP Total Result awaited Total DDC seats Seats Won 70 57 44 26 21 10 5 5 3 1 1 1 231 49 280 *Parties part of Gupkar Alliance three seats. Independents emerged a dominant force in Srinagar with seven seats followed by J&K Apni Party with thee seats and the BJP one. While the PAGD contested the polls on the plank to demand restoration of Article 370 and statehood, BJP fought the polls on the plank of development and asserted that Article 370 had gone forever and cannot be restored. The Congress, which initially aligned with PAGD but later ended its alliance with PAGD, was ahead in 25 seats (18 won and leading in seven). The J&K Apni Party of influential businessman and for mer PDP leader Altaf Bukhari won nine seats and P8 was leading in five. AFTER the Centre’s renewed offer of talks, the farmers unions on Tuesday said the final decision on holding further communication with the government will be taken at their joint meeting on Wednesday . “A marathon meeting of 32 farmer unions of Punjab was held today (Tuesday) in which the consensus was that the final decision on whether to talk to the government or not and how to counter them will be taken at the meeting of the Sanyukt Morcha that will be held tomorrow afternoon. ,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal Group) general secretary, Omkar Singh. “The meeting E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AIRPORTS across India are on high alert and have ramped up screening following 20 persons travelling from the UK being found Covid-positive. Six flyers and crew members of an Air India flight that landed at Delhi airport from the UK on Monday night tested positive. It was one of the two flights scheduled to land in Delhi before the temporary ban on air service from the UK till Decem- ber 31 came into force at 12 am. Eight passengers on Air India’s London-Amritsar flight also tested positive on arrival and were sent to the isolation facility. Sources said 242 passengers and 10 crew members were on board the flight that landed at 12.05 am on Tuesday . As their RT-PCR test had to be conducted, the passengers had to wait for over 12 hours, will also deliberate on the reply to be sent to the government’s letter.” In a letter to 40 farmer union leaders on Sunday the agricul, ture ministry had asked to specify their ‘remaining’ concerns and choose a convenient date for the next round of talks so that the ongoing agitation could end at the earliest. The farmers said the final decision will take into consideration the views of over 400 small farmer groups that are part of the agitation. The farmer unions also plan to approach the British government requesting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson should not attend the Republic Day parade, for which he has consent- ed to be the chief guest. “It was decided that MPs in the UK will be contacted with the plea to put pressure on their government that PM Johnson should not attend the January 26 function,” Singh said. Another farmer leader said, “In today’s meeting, it was felt that till the government gives any concrete proposal and moves a step forward from its stance, which we have already rejected earlier, we should not hold further discussions as it will be meaningless.” The sixth round of talks on December 9 was cancelled following a deadlock with the far mer unions refusing to budge from their demand for repealing the three laws. P5,7 An elderly farmer gestures as the ongoing protest at Singhu border nears a month on Tuesday | SHEKHAR YADAV IIM-Indore to help teachers hone skills in MP E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal THE Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted life across the globe, but for teachers of state government schools in Madhya Pradesh, it has emerged as a blessing in disguise. In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has tied up with IIMIndore one of the best business schools in the country to come out with video-based solutions to the problems faced by school teachers. The IIM-Indore has developed innovative training modules following a survey of the teachers’ behaviour and requirements. The six modules are aimed at enhancing the quality of the pedagogical output of 3.07 lakh teachers. The training modules, comprising 12 videos of seven minutes each (two in each of the six modules), will focus on enhancing teachers’ skills in three prime concern areas – time management, stress management and self-management. The videos are likely to be sent to the teachers via WhatsApp as well as the school education department’s CM Rise digital teacher training programme portal, which is aimed at providing In Kolkata, those sitting near the two passengers who tested positive were asked to stay in home isolation for two weeks Screening process took many hours, resulting in a bit of chaos and confusion at airports India is part of about 40 nations that have barred flight from Britain We are yet to spot such a virus in our country. We will be safe if we suppress the genomic sequence - Dr V K Paul, NITI Aayog member (Health) Massive exercise at airports to screen passengers BJP enters Kashmir, Farmer outfits to decide on parleys Gupkar leads overall today, stir may cast shadow on R-Day H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh LOSS TO ECONOMY AS PREMATURE DEATHS SHRANK INDIA’S PRODUCTIVITY THE FRESH CASELOAD Flight ban kicks in; detailed SOP issued to states to track passengers; samples of all those infected will be subjected to spike gene test S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi According to the paper, air pollution shrank India’s GDP by 1.4%. However, the study found household air pollution decreased in India, resulting in 64% drop in the death rate attributable to it between 1990 and 2019. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava attributed this to govt schemes such as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ and ‘Unnat Chulha Abhiyan’ | P7 As much as 18% of the total deaths last year were due to air pollution, says a new paper published in Lancet Planetary Health video classes for teachers to digitalise training concepts and enhance teaching skills before the schools reopen. “These modules, developed in cooperation with IIM, will be shortly launched by the school education minister,” said Rashmi Arun Shami, principal secretary, school education. Each module includes a preread material ensued by a sixminute video and post-read material followed by a multiple Survey finds worrying trends among teachers The survey found around 12% of male teachers and 8% of female teachers were satisfied with their general health status, while 32% and 30%, respectively, reported psychological well-being. Over 35% male and 30% female teachers were highly satisfied with their work. choice questions-based exam. “It’s the culmination of six months of exhaustive work by our team, which began with a detailed survey of 39,000 teachers to ascertain the multiple problems being faced by them,” IIM-Indore Director, Prof Himanshu Rai, said. “We hope this exercise ultimately brings a positive change in the behaviour and efficiency of government school teachers in MP and ultimately has a cascading effect on the overall quality of school education.” The team conducted the survey of teachers across Madhya Pradesh to ascertain key areas of their behaviour, spanning from their general health and psychological well-being to work satisfaction. which led to frayed tempers at the airport. Two passengers on a flight from the UK that landed at Kolkata airport on Sunday night and four passengers, including a British national, who arrived at Ahmedabad airport by an Air India flight from London, were also diagnosed with the viral infection. All flyers arriving from the UK at Mumbai airport will TESTING STATUS 39,843 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted DELHI COVID WATCH need to undergo ‘mandatory institutional quarantine’ for seven days. As many as 590 passengers landed in Mumbai from the UK in three aircraft on Tuesday, though no symptomatic person was on board, officials said. Air India on Tuesday announced one-time free rescheduling of tickets for passengers travelling from the UK, Oman and Saudi Arabia after the government’s decision to curb air travel. STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 1,434 5,99,683 DEATH 25 10,329 ACTIVE CASES -8,735 TOTAL +VE CASES 939 6,18,747 Rapid antigen test PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied HOSPITAL 18,786 2,884 CARE CENTRE 7,792 100 HEALTH CENTRE 562 22 79,45,193 *283 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights 42,543 Total tests done so far 4,18,168 Tests per million Vacant 15,902 7,409 540 4,790 HOME ISOLATION 5,833 TOTAL NUMBER OF CONTAINMENT ZONES AS ON DATE 1,303 TOTAL NUMBER OF CALLS DISPATCHED TO AMBULANCES Source: Delhi health bulletin | December 22 CBSE EXAMS WON’T BE HELD BEFORE FEB E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi CENTRAL Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations for classes 10 and 12 will not be held until February 2021, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said during an interaction with teachers on Tuesday . “I received a lot of requests from students and teachers to postpone the CBSE exams for classes 10 and 12,” the minister tweeted. He said the board exams would be held later, but did not specify dates saying it would be announced soon. Unlike classes, the board exams would not be held online since “many schools are in rural areas”, the minister said. “CBSE board exams will be conducted on a reduced syllabus,” the minister said, adding that 30% of the total syllabus for the exams has been scrapped. There will also be 33% internal choice in the exam, he added. Priest, nun held guilty of Sister Abhaya’s murder Abhaya, a 19-year-old Knanaya Catholic nun and member AFTER 28 years, the CBI Spe- of the St Joseph’s Congregacial Court here pronounced Fr tion, was found dead in the Thomas Kottoor and Sr Sephy well of Pius X Convent in Kotguilty of Sister Abhaya’s mur- tayam on March 27, 1992. der. Special Judge K The local police and Sanil Kumar will prothe Crime Branch had nounce the sentence termed the death as on Wednesday after suicide, but a probe hearing the convicts. headed by then In a case that has CBI Kochi unit Depubeen eagerly watched ty S P Nandakumar Sr Sephy by the entire country, Nair revealed that it the court on Tuesday was a cold-blooded took less than five murder. minutes to pronounce The CBI’s finding its verdict. Apart from was Abhaya had gone murder (IPC 302), the to the convent’s kitchtwo were also found en to fetch water and guilty of destroying saw Fr Kottoor, Fr Fr Thomas Kottoor Jose Poothrikkayil evidence (IPC 201). When the verdict and Sr Sephy in a comwas read out, Sephy broke promising position. Fearing down while Kottoor stood for their reputation, Sephy straight-faced. Later, Kottoor bludgeoned Abhaya with an told the press that he was in- axe and threw her into the nocent and that he was not well with the help of the afraid. two priests. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram
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