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M.K. Stalin announces two-week lockdown starting May 10

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A day after he and his council of Ministers were sworn in, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday announced total lockdown in Tamil Nadu between May 10-24 to prevent spread of coronavirus, while exempting essential services.

He also said with the impending two week lockdown from Monday onwards all shops and establishments are allowed to function from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

In a statement issued here Stalin said the two week lockdown is announced to intensify actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus and due to unavoidable reasons.

Stalin said the lockdown will kick in from 4 a.m. on May 8 to 4 a.m. on May 24.

According to Stalin liquor shops will also be closed.

The banned and permissible activities during the lockdown are:

-International flights are banned other than which are permitted by the Union Home Ministry.

-E-registion on https://eregister.tnega.org must for people coming to Tamil Nadu from other Indian states and overseas.

-Train and flight passengers will be allowed to move on production of tickets.

-Only standalone shops selling groceries, vegetables, meat and fish will be allowed to function till 12 noon without air conditioning.

-Other than above shops, all other shops are to be closed.

-Dunzo like delivery organisations can deliver vegetabls/provisions/grocery/meat/fish only till 12 noon.

-Big format stores (over 3,000 sq.ft) and shopping malls are to be closed.

-State owned liquor shops to be closed.

-Only takeaways permitted at hotels and restaurants and not dine-in. Hotels and lodges to serve food to their guests staying for commercial and medical purposes in their rooms. Otherwise hotels and lodges to remain closed.

-Tea shops to be closed at 12 noon.

-Ban on cultural/political/educational functions in indoor auditoriums and outdoors.

-Only 20 persons allowed at funerals.

-Not more than 50 persons allowed in weddings.

-Closure of barber shops, beauty parlours, spas, saloon.

-Closure of recreation clubs, movie theatres, liquor bars, auditoriums, meeting halls, amusement parks and other places where there will be large gatherings of people.

-Ban on retail sales of fruits and vegetables at Koyambedu Market in Chennai. Similarly ban on retail sales of fruits and vegetables in wholesale markets in other places in the state.

-State government departments other than Secretariat, Fire Service, Police, Revenue, Disaster Management, Medical, Prisons, Electricity, Water Supply, Treasury, Local Bodies, Social Welfare, Womens Welfare- will remain closed.

-These above restrictions are applicable for central government departments as well.

-Other than exempted industries all others, information technology (IT) and information technology enabled services (ITES) units will remain closed. Work-from-home is permitted.

-Closure of places of worship for the public, but daily poojas permitted by the temple staff.

-Ban on all tourists to Nilgris, Kodaikanal, Yercaud and other places.

-People are not allowed to go to the beach across the state.

-Parks, museums, archaeological sites closed to the public.

-Schools, Universities, Colleges and summer camps are banned.

-Sports training academies are to be closed.

-Intra-district and inter-district government/private bus, taxi, autorickshaw service banned except for those travelling to attend weddings, job interviews and to hospitals with proper proof.

-No permission to operate for food and grocery/provisions/vegetable delivery companies like Zomato, Swiggy.

-Essential services like the delivery of milk, newspaper, courier service, hospitals, medical diagnostic labs, ambulance and hearse services are allowed.

-Vehicles carrying goods, oil, agricultural produce, oxygen trucks are allowed.

-Shops selling cattle feed, pesticides and fertilisers are allowed to function between 6 a.m and 12 noon.

-On the days during total lockdown (Sundays) hotels, restaurants can be open between 6-10 a.m., 12 noon to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Food delivery companies like Swiggy and Zomato can function only during this period.

-Amma canteens will function as usual.

-Pavement shops selling vegetables and flowers can function till 12 noon.

-Ration shops to function between 8 a.m. and 12 noon.

-On going construction activities will be permitted.

-Organisations serving old/handicapped people can move around with identity proof.

-Media activities are permitted.

-Continuous process industries and industries manufacturing essential items are allowed to function.

-Banking, postal services, data centres maintenance are allowed.

-Warehouse operations to load and unload goods allowed.

-Petrol, diesel vending outlets can function.

-Banks, insurance companies, ATM transport services are allowed with 50 per cent employees.

National News

‘Women look good even without clothes’, says Ramdev

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 In a potentially controversial development, Yoga expert Ramdev on Friday commented on women’s attires, raising eyebrows in political and social circles.

Addressing a free Yoga training programme here, Ramdev said without batting an eyelid: “Women look good in saris, they look great in salwar suits, and in my view they look good even if they don’t wear anything.”

At that time, he was flanked by Thane’s Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena MP Shrikant Shinde, son of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and singer Amruta Fadnavis — wife of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and other prominent personalities.

Ramdev, 56, was speaking at a Yoga Science Camp & Women’s Meeting organised by Patanjali Yoga Peeth and Mumbai Mahila Patanjali Yoga Samiti here.

He interacted with women who had brought their yoga attires and saris for the conclave and attended a training camp conducted by Ramdev.

Since the meeting started soon after the training camp, many women did not get time to change and attended it in their Yoga suits.

Observing this, Ramdev said that there was no problem if they had no time to switch to saris and they could do it after going home, and then made his remark — termed as ‘sexist’ in some quarters.

He also urged the people to remain happy and smiling, similar to Amruta Fadnavis to live a long life.

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National News

NF Railway to organise first-ever Northeast Half Marathon

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The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) will organise the first-ever Northeast Half Marathon in Guwahati on February 5 next year, officials said on Friday.

To organise the first-of-its-kind Northeast Half Marathon, the NFR has joined hands with Innovations India Pvt Ltd. The Half Marathon will be aimed at the empowerment of sportspersons and the development of sports infrastructure in the northeastern region.

NFR CPRO, Sabyasachi De said that the Northeast Half Marathon will be a series of Marathons that would be conducted across the northeast with the aim of empowering the sportspersons and developing sporting activity in this region.

He informed that the first Marathon of the planned series will be held at Maligaon on the 5th of February, and approximately 3,000 runners from all across India as well as abroad are expected to participate in the race.

Prizes worth Rs 11 lakh would be given to the winners in addition to the trophies, medals and certificates.

The aspiring participants would be able to register through online as well as offline mode for the Marathon.

The NE Half Marathon would highlight all states of the Northeast as one entity and would surely catapult this region into the limelight on both National & International Platforms, De claimed.

Anshul Gupta, General Manager of NFR said that beyond connectivity and promoting tourism, the NFR is also promoting sporting events in various places within its jurisdiction.

The curator of the event, Captain Rahul Bali appreciated the initiative taken by the Railways.

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Delhi govt school classroom scam: Vigilance directorate recommends probe by specialised agency

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 The Directorate of Vigilance (DoV) of the Delhi government has submitted its report to the chief secretary in a case of alleged “irregularities and corruption” in the construction of 2,405 classrooms in 193 schools and has recommended probe.

The DoV report, prepared after seeking the responses of the Education Department and the PWD, prima facie points towards a major scam and has suggested “a detailed investigation by a specialised agency”.

The DoV has submitted the report in the matter related to a complaint dated August 22, 2022, with regards to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report dated February 17, 2020 highlighting glaring irregularities in the construction of additional classrooms in different schools of the Delhi government by PWD. The CVC had sent the report to the DoV seeking its comments on the matter.

The Vigilance Department has also recommended “fixing the responsibilities of the concerned officials of the Education Department and PWD” who were involved in the bungling to the tune of nearly Rs 1,300 crore. It has also recommended to forward its findings along with the replies of PWD and Education Department to the CVC for consideration, said a source on Friday.

Apart from several procedural lapses and violation of rules and manuals to tamper with the tender process, the DoV, in its report, has specifically underlined the role of private persons viz. “M/s Babbar and Babbar Associates”, who, without being appointed as a consultant, not only attended a crucial meeting held on June 21, 2016, in the chamber of the then PWD Minister, but also influenced the Minister for post-tender changes done in the work contracts in the name of “richer specifications” that resulted into additional financial implications of Rs 205.45 crore.

In the report, the Secretary (Vigilance) has observed that “extra constitutional agencies / persons (like M/s Babbar & Babbar Associates) were running the administration and dictating the terms and conditions to the officers and the entire administration both at the policy level as well as the execution level and were implementing such directions of private person in a place like national capital of the country, which is not only against TBR, 1993 and other rules, regulations and guidelines, besides being a serious threat to the securities aspect. This kind of approach will lead to administrative anarchy and chaos.”

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