MANGALURU WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 CITY EDITION ‘AIR POLLUTION KILLED 1.7 LAKH INDIANS IN 2019’ 1.4% GDP LOST DUE TO POOR AIR QUALITY As much as 18% of the total deaths last year were due to air pollution, says a new paper published in Lancet Planetary Health 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’ ■ `2.6 lakh cr NORTHERN STATES BIGGEST LOSERS ■ The scientific paper noted that the economic loss due to air pollution as a percentage of the state GDP was higher in the northern and central India states, with the highest in Uttar Pradesh (2.2% of the GDP) and Bihar (2% of the GDP) Delhi had the highest per-capita economic loss at $62 P7 LOSS TO ECONOMY AS PREMATURE DEATHS SHRANK INDIA’S PRODUCTIVITY 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 CBSE Class 10 & 12 board exams only after Feb ‘21 EXPRESS READ Differences should be set aside, says Modi Aligarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said political and ideological differences should be set aside for the sake of national goals. Addressing the centenary celebrations of Aligarh Muslim University, he said development should not be seen through the political prism. | P8 Minister says dates will be decided later, rules out online format EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Central Board of Secondary Education examinations for Classes 10 and 12 will not be held in February, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced during an interaction with teachers on Tuesday . “I received a lot of requests from students and teachers to postpone the CBSE board exams for Class 10 and 12. Keeping the Covid-19 pandemic in mind, we have decided that board exams will not be held in February,” the minister tweeted. The exams will be held later, the minister said, but did not givev any specify dates. He only said it will be announced soon. “Our government is in favour of students,” he posted on Twitter. Unlike classes, the board exams will not be held online since “many schools are in rural areas”, the minister said, adding that exams will not be cancelled either. “The CBSE board exams will be conducted based on a reduced syllabus,” Pokhriyal also said, adding that 30 per cent of the total syllabus has been scrapped. While some states have declared as much, others are likely to make an announcement soon. There will also be 33 per cent internal choice in the exam, he said. “We cannot allow Covid-19 to impact students and have them labelled as Covid-era students who cleared the classes without any examination,” Pokhariyal noted, emphasising the need to conduct exams despite STUDENTS WILL HAVE 125 DAYS OF CLASSES P E A R L M A R I A D ’ S O U Z A @ Bengaluru STUDENTS of Classes 10 and 12 may get about 125 days from January 1, when offline classes reopen, to prepare for the board exams. While Primary & Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar on Monday said during a phone-in programme that the board exams will not be held in March like usual, the minister informed The New Indian Express that the examinations will not take place for about 125 days, which means the board exams may not be conducted until the last week of April or early May However, an . official communication in this regard is yet to be issued. No night curfew or lockdown, says CM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru ALLAYING apprehensions that night curfew may be imposed in the state, like in neighbouring Maharashtra, after a new strain of SARSCoV2 was detected in Britain, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday said there was no need for such a measure as of now. The State Government is also not looking at any kind of lockdown or quarantine for inter-state travellers. The CM told media persons, “We understand that the finding of a mutated strain of the virus has worried the people of the state and also the country. We have come to know that someone who arrived in Chennai has been found infected. We have to be extra cautious and we have put stringent measures in place,” he said. He explained that all international travellers will be checked at the airports itself before allowing them into the state. To a question on imposing night ban he said, “There is no need for it here for now. Restrictions for New Year celebrations are already in place”. The Maharashtra government on Monday had announced a night curfew in trying circumstances. “We have organised JEE, NEET exams this year. It was one of the biggest examinations conducted amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in response to a query by a teacher. The change in schedule for board exams comes days after the National Testing Agency published a brochure for the Joint Entrance Examination (Main), which said that the tests will be held four times next year beginning February . municipal corporation areas as a precautionary step amid growing concerns over the new virus strain spreading in Britain. However, Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said, he will discuss with the Chief Minister regarding imposing night curfew in the state, but ruled out the possibility of a lockdown. “I held discussions with the Union Health Department Secretary who said that there , was no reason to worry, but necessary precautionary measures should be taken. There is no question of a lockdown and, in my personal opinion, certain restrictions like partying, gathering in numbers during night times can be stopped. I will meet the CM and discuss with him about the night curfew,” he added. Meanwhile, Health and Family Welfare Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said the state Health Department is imposing quarantine norms only for international travellers from the UK, but not for inter-state travellers. “As of now, we are not imposing any quarantine rules for interstate travellers. We will implement it later if the situation demands,” Pandey told The New Indian Express. $ 1 BILLION CONTRACTS FOR IT FIRMS Infosys and Wipro have won contracts worth over $ 1 billion each from German auto major Daimler AG and food services giant METRO AG | P10 Priest, nun held guilty for Sr Abhaya murder Voters queue up at a polling booth to exercise their franchise in Nelamangala, Bengaluru, on Tuesday | SHRIRAM BN average voter turnout in phase-1 panchayat polls EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru ELECTIONS to 3,019 gram panchayats in 117 taluks were held in the first phase on Tuesday under the Covid-19 shadow, with half of rural Karnataka casting their votes. While polling was about 80 per cent overall, it crossed 85 per cent in some districts, which is much higher than the turnout for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Except for a few stray incidents, where polling was disrupted for some time, the elections were by and larg e peaceful. The second phase of voting will be held on December 27 and counting of votes will be taken up on December 30. A total of 4,377 candidates have been elected unopposed already officials said. , According to Kar nataka State Election Commissioner Basavaraju, the voter turnout was around 80 per cent in 2015, and surprisingly this time, it is a little more. At many places like Kolar, voting was close to 90 per cent while in Hassan and Mandya districts, the turnout was over 85 per cent. In one of the taluks in Bengaluru Rural, it even crossed 91 per cent. Dharwad, Koppal and Ballari witnessed around 80 per cent polling. “We had made all arrangements, but were apprehensive about voter turnout. Surprisingly it crossed our ex, pectations,’’ he remarked. Voters, who included the aged, the physically challenged, women and the youth, had to walk some distance to reach polling stations. Farmers and THE DIE IS CAST No. of GPs: 3,019 Total seats: 48,048 Polls conducted for: 43,238 Elected unopposed : 4,377 No. of taluks: 117 GUPKAR ALLIANCE LEADS IN 116 J&K LOCAL COUNCIL SEATS F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar IN the first major electoral exercise after Article 370 revocation, the Gupkar Alliance on Tuesday emerged the single largest group in the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu & Kashmir. Notably , the BJP made inroads and won three seats in Muslim-majority Kashmir — in Srinagar, Bandipora and Pulwama. In the 280 DDC seats, elections for which was held in eight phases, 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). The BJP has emerged as the single largest party. It was ahead in 73 seats, having won 65 seats and leading in eight others. The inde pendents have emerged as the third dominant force with 55 seats (36 won and leading in 19). Top leaders of Gupkar Alli- 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 65 54 39 25 20 10 6 5 3 1 1 1 231 49 280 ance, 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 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 former PDP leader Altaf Bukhari won nine seats and was leading in five. 20 fliers from UK positive, Nov 25 start date for scan S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi 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 RT-PCR test and if they test positive, their genetic sequencing must be done, the standard op- erating 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 apart P7 test negative. farm labourers took a break from harvesting work and went to polling booths. Somavva, mother of late Union Minister Suresh Angadi, who is in her late 80s, too cast her vote. Politicians including KPCC president D K Shivakumar cast his vote at Doddalahalli in Kanakapura while Agriculture Minister B C Patil voted at Hirekerur in Chitradurga district. Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh cast her vote at Maddur while Pontiff Shivamurthy Murughrajendra Swamiji voted in Chitradurga. At many polling stations, Covid patients were also allowed to vote during the last one hour of voting. The election this time also witnessed many firsts. Voters of Tidigol-Nidigol in Sindanur taluk of Raichur district and Hangaraki in Dharwad taluk voted for the first time since they became Gram Panchayats in 1993. All these years, members were elected unopposed. CONTINUED ON: P4 T’Puram: After 28 years, justice finally prevailed in the Sister Abhaya murder case as the CBI Special Court here pronounced Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sr Sephy guilty of murder. Special Judge K Sanil Kumar will pronounce the sentence on Wednesday after hearing the convicts. | P5 AGRARIAN UNREST Farmer unions to decide on talks today New Delhi: Protesting farmer unions deferred a decision on the Centre’s offer for fresh talks to Wednesday, even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar expressed hope the impasse will be resolved soon | P7 Kerala guv says no to special House session T’Puram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has declined approval for a special Assembly session planned on Wednesday by the Left front government to discuss and pass a resolution against the contentious central farm laws URBAN WILD Who’s counting the leopard population outside sanctuaries? B O S K Y K H A N N A @ Bengaluru THE recently released report by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) shows a rise in leopard population in the tiger range landscape. But conservationists, experts and even Forest Department officials are now raising questions about the areas outside forest boundaries where leopard population thrives. According to the report, the overall leopard population in the tiger range landscape of India is estimated at 12,852 (range 12,17213,535), of which it is 8,071 (7,654-8,488) in the Western Ghats alone. Karnataka is said to house 1,783 (1,7121,854) and ranks second in leopard population, similar to tiger, after Madhya Pradesh which has 3,421 (3,271-3,571) leopards. “Data for the estimates were collected while conducting the tiger census in 2018 using camera trap method. However, in many places of Karnataka, and even in other states, leopards are found in non-forest areas also. Places where there are no tigers have not been included in the census report. So the population is much higher than what is projected and it is a matter of worry and has to be addressed,” a senior Forest Department official told The New Indian Express. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) Ajai Mishra said leopards are found in places like hillocks in Ramanagara, Kolar, Tumkuru and even dry grasslands in Kalaburgi and Koppal. The 2014 and 2018 reports are being compared and a special mitigation plan will also be prepared to handle the situation P3 better, he said.
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23 December 2020 of The New Indian Express-Mangaluru