THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 21 MAY 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR BABY STEPS HARSH VARDHAN TO HELM WHO EXECUTIVE BOARD P5 P6 P9 P12 Amphan wreaks havoc on Bengal WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Strong surface winds during the day. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 41 and 23 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.58% People electrocuted, trees uprooted, roads blocked, houses damaged as the super cyclone ravaged the state STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 20 MAY T Min. 18% TEMPERATURE Max: 40.7°C (+1) SUN RISES 05:27 hrs MOON RISES 04:38 hrs ‘INDIAN PLAYERS WILL FIND THE GOING TOUGH’ TAIWAN SNUBS CHINA AS TSAI IS SWORN IN Min: 22.1°C (4) SUN SETS 19:09 hrs MOON SETS 18:51 hrs THUMBNAILS Hairdressers attend to customers at a salon in Bangalore after the government eased the AFP nationwide lockdown on Wednesday. 2 BSF personnel killed in JK militant attack: Two BSF personnel were killed when militants fired upon them in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, officials said. Motorcycle-borne militants fired upon the BSF jawans at a picket in Pandach area, 17 km from Srinagar in the outskirts of the city, the officials said. They said two BSF personnel were injured in the attack and were shifted to SKIMS hospital at Soura. They said both jawans aged 35 and 36 had head injuries. Trains running from 1 June to have both AC, non-AC coaches: The Railways Wednesday A issued a list of 100 pairs of trains that it will run from 1 June, putting in operation popular trains such as Durontos, Sampark Krantis, Jan Shatabdis and Poorva Express. Earlier, the Railways had said that such trains will be fully non-air conditioned. On Wednesday, however, it said these will have both AC and non-AC classes and fully reserved coaches. he cyclone Amphan which pummelled the coastal districts of West Bengal killed at least four and injured several leaving a trail of devastation in the state and its capital today. The city which was already crippled by the outbreak of coronavirus, received a major blow when the super cyclone hit land crossing West Bengal between Digha and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh across Sunderbans between 3.30p.m. an 5.30 p.m. today with a wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph. The cyclone, according to the met department, made landfall over North-West Bay of Bengal which was about 35 Km South of Sagar Island and 65km South-East of Digha. By 4: 30 p.m., the cyclone came within 15km of Sagar Island. Memories of the cyclone Ailathat had claimed more than 90 lives across the state in the year 2009, came back to haunt Kolkata denizens when at 5.30 p.m. heavy rainfall of 48.7 mm coupled with wind speeds up to around 112 km raged over the city for hours uprooting numerous trees, lamp posts, blocking roads, blowing roof of make-shift stalls or houses and even claiming four lives in the state. A 13 year old girl in Howrah was killed after a tin shed came crashing on top of her. In Minakhan of North 24-Parganas, a woman lost her life when A man walks through an empty road at a crossing in Kolkata on Wednesday. SNS 40 NDRF teams deployed in Odisha, WB NEW DELHI, 20 MAY All 20 units of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stationed in Odisha have been deployed in the state, while as many units have been pressed into service in West Bengal for relief and rescue efforts in the wake of Cyclone Amphan, NDRF Director General SN Pradhan said on Wednesday. Addressing a press conference, Pradhan said they are keeping a close a tree fell on her. In Tamluk of East Midnapore, another woman was injured after a wall collapsed. In East Burdwan another woman died after being electrocuted and three other were injured on coming under a banyan tree. State Transport minister, Suvendu Adhikari monitored the ground situation while WBTC con- NEW DELHI, 20 MAY The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday said that with 5,611 new Coronavirus cases and 140 fatalities in the last 24 hours, India’s Covid-19 infection tally stood at 1,06,750, with 61,149 active cases even as the death toll mounted to 3,303. According to the Health Ministry, only 6.39 percent Covid-19 cases need hospitalisation ~ including the requirement of oxygen, ventilator or ICU support and the recovery rate of 39.6 percent of the confirmed Covid-19 cases indicates that the disease is curable and the clinical management protocols adopted by India are effective. In a press release, Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal said that of the 61,149 active cases, around 2.94 percent needed oxygen sup- port, 3 percent ICU and 0.45 percent ventilator support. On the Covid-19 recovery rate, Agarwal said, it “has been on continuous upwards climb and currently is more than 39.62 percent. When the first phase of lockdown started, the recovery rate was around 7.1 percent. During the second phase of lockdown, it was 11.42 percent and rose to 26.59 percent. Today, the recovery rate is 39.62 percent.” The efforts for early identification of Covid-19 cases had helped in having a better recovery rate, he said. Comparing global statistics on Covid-19 with India, Agarwal said, “The mortality rate in India is 0.2 cases per lakh population against the global 4.2 cases. India has recorded 7.9 cases per lakh population against 62 for the world.” The number of Covid-19 patients, who have been cured, is 42298. provided by the state governments. He said 20 teams have been deployed in West Bengal, including one team for urban areas of Kolkata, while another unit has been kept in reserve. The DG said all 20 teams present in Odisha have been deployed leaving none in reserve. An NDRF team comprises around 45 personnel “The situation is fasttransforming. It is a long PTI haul,” he said. NEW DELHI, 20 MAY Students will appear for pending class 10 and 12 board exams at the schools where they are enrolled instead of an external test centre, according to the HRD Ministry. The Ministry is also planning to declare the board exam results by July-end and evaluation process has already begun for exams which were conducted before the lockdown was announced. According to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) officials, students will appear at their individual schools for the exams and not external test centres. “Students will appear for the exams in their own schools and not external test centres to ensure minimum travel for them. Schools will be responsible for ensuring social distancing norms are followed and students will be required to carry their own sanitiser bottles and cover their face with mask,” a board official said. The information was also shared by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in a live interaction with students aired on DD News on Tuesday night. Usually, board examinations are held at designated test centres for students. This is to ensure minimum bias from schools for their students and to enable independent external invigilators to monitor the examination process. The board on Monday announced the date sheet for the pending class 10 and 12 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE BHUBANESWAR, 20 MAY People of Odisha heaved a collective sigh of relief as cyclone Amphan surfed its coast without causing major devastation, though it did break the backbone of farmers in terms of damage to crops, destroyed green cover to a certain extent and power supply lines largely in four districts of Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Kendrapara. The state which has been acknowledged to have the best disaster preparedness systems in the country was fully prepared and alert as it had learnt lessons from Fani, the summer cyclone of May last year. Amphan followed the track of cyclone Bulbul of November 2019 but was of greater intensity. But to a great extent it spared Odisha. Though the forecast, all along ,was Amphan would brace past Odisha coast weaken from super cyclone to extremely severe cyclonic storm at landfall near Sunderbans, late last night a flutter was caused with some of those tracking it saying it could move closer at night with very high windspeed. This caused night long vigil by administrators and people at large. Senior bureaucrats camped at office in Bhubaneswar till late night communicating with district collectors and IMD officials. As it panned out, Amphan had very little impact on eight of the 12 coastal Odisha districts which had been on alert. Four districts faced its wrath with Bhadrak recording the maximum wind speed of 120 kmph , Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district 106 kmph. Less than one and half lakh people living in seaside villages and low lying areas had been evacuated and put up in cyclone shelters. Many of them have started returning to their respective home. The wind and heavy rains lashed the four districts uprooting trees, flattening electric poles and standing crops. Two deaths were reported ~ a child crushed beneath a wall which collapsed in Bhadrak district and the other, a woman in Kendrapara district. Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts witnessed the rampaging cyclonic fury. But the damage was on a considerably lower magnitude than what the disaster managers and panicky people anticipated. The NDRF ODRAF teams and fire brigade personnel were already clearing roads and in 12 hours time road communication will be restored said official sources. 61,149 5,611 3,125 3,303 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 2020 pore, bringing life to a nearhalt. The jetties at Howrah, Kochuberia and Namkhana were damaged as the super cyclone pounded large parts of West Bengal for over four hours continuously. River embankments were damaged at least three places in South 24-Parganas and one place at Sundarbans. Trees began to get uproot- Domestic flights may resume on select routes from 25 May depending on states’ consent NEW DELHI, 20 MAY 1,06,750 trol room was set up to keep a track of the nine ghats in Kolkata area, and four in Sagar. The severe cyclonic storm, which brought in its wake heavy rain coupled with gale winds, uprooted hundreds of trees and snapped cables in the city and its adjoining areas in North and South 24-Parganas and East Midna- NEW DELHI, 20 MAY Procurement of fresh supplies for central paramilitary force canteens, that cater to about 50 lakh troops and their families, has been “put on hold” till a clarity is obtained from the government on the term “swadeshi” products, officials said on Wednesday. The union home ministry on 13 May had declared that these canteens will only sell “swadeshi” products from 1 June . The central police welfare stores body has recently issued a order “putting on hold all indent and supply orders for all category of items with PTI immediate effect. Airlines are in a state of readiness to restart its services from 25 May. Since lockdown got imposed in March due to the Covid-19 coronavirus infection, domestic flights have been under suspension. However, it is not yet clear whether flights will resume on all the routes as the state governments have to give their assent also. A meeting in the Ministry is being held with the CEOs of all the airlines to chalk out the final details on air operation. “Airlines may be in a state of readiness. The state government has to give assent for airports to be opened,” said a source in Airline. ABHIJEET ANAND SEE ALSO PAGE 5 It is also not yet clear whether middle row and the last three routes to maintain social distancing. This could be one of the agendas of the CEO meeting. Based on the standard operating procedures approved by the Aviation Ministry, the airlines have also prepared a list of dos and don’ts for the passengers. These include reporting at the airport three hours before the departure. Other advisories, in view of the viral infection, are carrying small hand baggage that can fit under the seat in front. A draft of standard operating procedures seeking suggestions was circulated around a week ago among all the airlines, airport operators and security agen- Pending board exams to be held in schools where students enrolled SNS & PTI Cyclone spares Odisha from major damage CAPF canteens’ procurement on hold till clarity about ‘swadeshi’ goods Covid-19: Disease curable, recovery rate 1 climbs to 39.6 per cent, says Govt STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE watch on the “fast transforming” situation, and 24 teams from six battalions across the country are on standby. The NDRF chief said its teams have to now function keeping in mind the Covid-19 threat and are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE). Over five lakh people have been evacuated in West Bengal while over 1.58 lakh have been taken to safety in Odisha, Pradhan said quoting data ed at various corners of the city as early as 8.30 a.m. in the morning and by 3.15 p.m. huge trunks fell at around 27 places. Similarly lamp posts blocked roads and damaged traffic signals at Gariahat crossing and Wellington crossing. At College Street and New market, shades were blown off under the impact of the wind that touched a speed of 130kmph at 6.47 p.m. in Dum Dum and 114kmph in Kolkata. The city was plunged in darkness due to power disruptions at several places, including E.M Bypass, Chandni while a power block was ordered by the authorities in South 24-Parganas, North 24Parganas and East Midnapore. At Tangra people came running out of their homes amid the cyclone as numerous trees came crashing on their homes. In yet another part of Tangra, sparks were seen in electric wires near a residential building triggering panic among residents. In Howrah, alone, around 900 houses were said to be damaged by 6pm. In Paschim Putiari, portion of a wall of an old dilapidated building collapsed in ward 115. Team of the building department of Kolkata Municipal Corporation removed the debris and residents were evacuated and shifted to safer places. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was extremely shocked by such a ‘big disaster’ as the administration did not expect the cyclone to so intense with 90 per cent of South Bengal being ravaged. board exams, which will now be held from 1-15 July with strict distancing norms in place. The exams were postponed due to the nationwide lockdown imposed on 25 March to contain the spread of Covid19. While class 12 exams will be conducted across the country, the class 10 exams are only pending in North East Delhi, where they could not be held due to the law and order situation in the wake of protests against the amended citizenship act. The HRD minister said that efforts are being made to ensure that the result is declared by July-end. “Efforts are being made to declare the result by July-end itself. Evaluation process has already begun for the board exams and will continue to be held simultaneously The HRD Ministry plans to declare the board exam results by Julyend and evaluation process has already begun for exams which were conducted before the lockdown was announced. with pending exams. Teachers who are involved in the evaluation process will be exempted from delivering academic and administrative work for the tenure,” he said in the interaction. The CBSE class 10 and class 12 board exam evaluation is being carried out from home. Further, the HRD Ministry had earmarked 3000 evaluation centres from where answer sheets would be distributed to teachers at their homes for evaluation and then collected. Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. Later, a 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced on 24 March, which came into effect the next day. It has now been extended till 31 May. The board was not able to conduct class 10 and 12 exams on eight examination days due to the coronavirus outbreak. Further, due to the law and order situation in North East Delhi, the board was not able to conduct exams on four examination days, while a very small number of students from and around this district were not able to appear in exams on six days. The board had last month announced that it will only conduct pending exams in 29 subjects which are crucial for promotion and admission to higher educational institutions. The modalities of assessment for the subjects for which exams are not being conducted will be announced soon by the board. The schedule has been decided in order to ensure that the board exams are completed before competitive examinations such as engineering entrance JEE-Mains, which is scheduled from 1823, July and medical entrance exam NEET, which is scheduled on 26 July. Based on the standard operating procedures approved by the Aviation Ministry, the airlines have also prepared a list of dos and don’ts for the passengers. cies. The standard operating procedures are meant to maintain social distancing norms to be maintained while boarding and deboarding as well as during the flight. The airlines had requested the aviation ministry to give them a window period of at least ten days for making all the preparations needed to start operation. Hardip Singh Puri, Civil Aviation Minister, said in a tweet today that domestic flights in the country will resume from May 25 in a “calibrated manner”. “All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from May 25. SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation,” the Minister posted on Twitter. According to the advisory from the airlines, no food and beverages will be served for the passengers even in the full service carriers including Vistara. Payments to be made to the airline for extra baggage will taken digitally. A thermal screening of both the departing and arriving passengers will be done at the airport mandatorily. India rejects new official map of Nepal STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 20 MAY India today rejected a revised official map of Nepal that includes parts of the Indian territory, saying such artificial enlargement of territorial claims by Kathmandu were not acceptable to New Delhi. “This unilateral act (of Nepal) is not based on historical facts and evidence. It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in response to questions. His statement came hours after Nepal’s Ministry of Land Management, Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation released the new map, showing Indian territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepal’s territory. Pointing out that Kathmandu was well aware of India’s consistent position on this matter, the Indian spokesperson asked the Government of Nepal to refrain from such “unjustified cartographic assertion” and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues,” he added.
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