CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 17 JULY 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SEOULD LAUNCHES PROBE AGAINST KIM’S SISTER POLAND AT CROSSROADS P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. One or two spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 34-27 degrees Celsius. P9 P10 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Max.95% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA KOLKATA, 16 JULY Division Bench of Rajasthan HC to take up matter at 1 p.m. today Min. 64 % Max: 33.1°C (+1) Min: 27.0°C (+1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:02 hrs 18:24 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 14:30 hrs 01:07 hrs New moon on 20 July THUMBNAILS Farmers working in a paddy field at Bulandsehar in Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday. DEEPAK Postal ballots: The Election Commission has decided not to extend the facility of postal ballot to electors above 65 years of age in the Bihar Assembly polls in view of constraints of logistics, manpower and safety protocols of Covid-19. However, the facility of optional postal ballot to electors aged 80 years, voters with physical disabilities, electors engaged in essential services and voters who are Covid-19 positive or are in quarantine will be extended. Higher Secondary results: The West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) will be releasing the results of the West Bengal Class 12 board examination (Uccha Madnyamik) 2020 at 3.30 p.m. on Friday. The results will be released on the board's official websites - wbresults.nic.in and wbchse.nic.in. For assessment of cancelled papers, the council will take into consideration the marks obtained in already conducted papers. ‘Cong still keeping door open for Pilot’ JAIPUR, 16 JULY Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident leaders on Thursday moved the high court, challenging notices from the Rajasthan Speaker over a Congress move to disqualify them from the state assembly. The matter is scheduled to be heard before a division bench of the Rajasthan High Court at 1 p.m. Friday, which is also the deadline that the Speaker's office gave the MLAs to file their replies to the notices. Their petition first came up before the court of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma at about 3 p.m. But the dissidents' advocate Harish Salve sought time to file a fresh plea. At about 5 p.m, the dissident camp submitted an amended petition and the court referred it to Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty, for the appointment of a two-judge bench. Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi's counsel said then that the matter will be heard at about 7.30 p.m, but the bench did not assemble then. The hearing has been put off to Friday, the counsel said. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also a Congress leader, represents the Speaker's office. Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, who have represented the BJP-led government at the Centre in the past, are the lawyers for the Pilot's camp. Congress chief whip NEW DELHI, 16 JULY Mahesh Joshi, who had written to the Speaker seeking the MLAs' disqualification, also approached the court, asking to be heard before it passes any order. The 19 MLAs were sent notices by the assemby secretariat on Tuesday and allowed up to Friday to give their replies. The notices said Speaker C P Joshi will take up the matter at 1 p.m. on Friday. The notices were served after the ruling party complained to the Speaker that the MLAs had defied a party whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings, on Monday and Tuesday. The Pilot camp, however, argues that a party whip applies only when the assembly is in session. In its complaint to the Speaker, the Congress sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. The provision disqualifies MLAs if they voluntarily give up the membership of the party which they represent in the House. The Congress said in the letter to the Speaker that No meaningful consular access provided to Jadhav: India STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 JULY India today alleged that Pakistan did not give Indian consular officials “unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional” access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and prevented them from obtaining his written consent for arranging his legal representation for review and reconsideration of his death sentence on charges of espionage and terrorism. “Pakistani officials with an intimidating demeanour were present in close proximity of Jadhav and consular officers despite protests by the Indian side. It was also evident from a camera that was visible that the conversation with Jadhav was being recorded. Jadhav himself was visibly under stress and indicated that clearly to the consular officers. The arrangements did not permit a free conversation between them. The consular officers could not engage Jadhav on his legal rights,'' External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on the meeting in Islamabad between Indian officials and Jadhav earlier in the day. In the light of these circumstances, the Indian consular officers came to the conclusion that the access being offered by Pakistan to Jadhav was neither meaningful nor credible. After lodging a protest, the officials left the venue, the spokesman said. “It is clear that Pakistan’s approach to this matter continues to be obstructive and insincere. It has not only violated its assurance to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to fully implement the 2019 judgement (in Jadhav's case) but also failed to act in accordance with its own ordinance,'' he added. The spokesperson said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has apprised the family of Jadhav of these developments. “We reiterate our commitment to ensure the safe return of Jadhav to India and will decide on a future course of action in the light of the events today.” the Supreme Court has unequivocally held in the past that the provision comes into effect when the conduct of an MLA leads to this inference. Among those sent notices areVishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena, who were sacked along with Pilot from the state cabinet after their rebellion against Ashok Gehlot. Others include Deepender Singh Shekhawat, Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Harish Chandra Meena, who had also given statements to the media challenging the Gehlot government. If the Congress dissidents are disqualified, the current strength of the state assembly will reduce to 181, slashing the half-way mark to 91 and seemingly making it easier for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to retain majority support. In the 200-member assembly, the Congress has 107 MLAs and the BJP 72. In the past, the Congress has claimed the support of 13 independents, two MLAs each from the CPM and the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP), and one from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). Even as a section of leaders within the Congress feels that Sachin Pilot has “gone too far”, especially after he took the party to court over the disqualification issue, sources on Thursday said the top party leadership is still keeping the “doors open” for the rebel leader, and has also asked Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot to not make critical comments against his former deputy. Sources also claimed that Pilot has spoken to a senior party leader from the southern India on Thursday laying conditions for his return. While there was no confirmation from the Pilot camp on this conversation, sources said Pilot was told that the Congress party's “doors are still open” for him, but he would have to return unconditionally. He was also reportedly told that he would first have to come out of the “BJP camp and not hobnob” with them. According to sources, Pilot was also told that the Congress is ready to forget this chapter, and that he will be accorded equal respect on his return. PTI SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 16 JULY Francisco,” Puri noted. The minister on Thursday said India is planning to establish a bubble with the UK soon under which there would be two flights per day between Delhi and London. “We have got a request from Germans also. I think the arrangement with Lufthansa is almost done...We are processing that request,” Puri said. However, later during the day, the Civil Aviation Ministry issued a statement that said, “Air bubbles established with US, France and Germany...Lufthansa will also be operating (flights).” The statement also said, “Talk of an air bubble in an advanced stage with the UK.” From India, Air India will be operating flights to France, Germany and the US under these bubbles. An air bubble is a bilateral arrangement with a set of regulations and restrictions in In view of the huge spike in Covid cases this month, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced reducing the workforce in government offices to 50 per cent and discharging Covid patients from hospitals immediately after recovery even before completion of 14 days. The decision came on a day when Bengal recorded the highest single day increase, with 1690 fresh Covid cases and 23 deaths, taking the total case count to 36,117 and death toll to 1,023. Kolkata recorded 496 fresh cases and 12 deaths, followed by North 24-Parganas with 403 and seven deaths while Howrah recorded 183 cases and one death. Two persons died in Hooghly and one in Darjeeling. The discharge rate has dipped to 59.23 per cent and currently, there are 13,679 active cases with 735 patients discharged from hospitals in a single day. Urging people to have patience and tolerance to combat the current situation, Miss Banerjee said: “I don’t have a magic wand to improve the situation as cases are on a rise across the globe and medicine is yet to be invented. Don’t panic but take necessary precautions.” Attendance in government offices has been reduced from existing 70 to 50 per cent and sanitisation would be done once a week, she said, requesting private offices and housing complexes to Chief minister Mamata Banerjee during a press meet at Nabanna in Howrah on Thursday. SNS undertake similar sanitation measures on a weekly basis. She said work from home is the best option and should be practiced wherever possible. Further, the government is considering a proposal given by bank employees to operate from Monday to Friday till 2 p.m. and remain closed on weekends. Miss Banerjee said that around 3,500 to 4,000 Covid beds will be added in government and private hospitals with many private hospitals already been taken over by the state and NRS starting as a new Covid hospital with 110 beds. Safe homes for mildly symptomatic patients who don’t have adequate space in their houses, are being set up by KMDA at Jadavpur Kishore Bharati Stadium and Gitanjali Stadium and three other locations in Ruby, Salt Lake and Topsia. Taking a dig at the recent agitation staged by people of a safe home near Science City protesting against lack of food, Miss Banerjee said such incidents are occur- ring as people involved in running these homes are themselves getting infected and till an alternative arrangement is made the services get delayed. “Don’t teach me andolan as I have come through it. Even after doing such a lot we are being blamed. We are fighting against Covid but why are you (read Opposition parties) fighting against us? We are being maligned for making the slightest mistakes. Government has its own limitations and how much more can we do as we have not got any assistance from the Centre?” she said, alleging that in the name of pandemic, laws are framed and a single state is being continuously criticised as polls are coming up. Miss Banerjee said that of the total Covid deaths in Bengal, 82 per cent are due to comorbidity while only remaining 18 per cent is due to the infection and that too because the patients were admitted at the final stage. Don’t go to nursing homes where there is no infrastructural support, she said. Over 32,000 Covid cases in 24 hrs push tally to 9.68 lakh, deaths near 25,000 Human trials of ZyCoV-D vaccine begin STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 JULY NEW DELHI, 16 JULY India's tally of Covid-19 cases mounted to 9,68,876 and the death toll climbed to 24,915 on Thursday as a total of 32,695 cases of coronavirus infections and 606 fatalities were recorded in a single day, according to Union Health Ministry data. According to Health Ministry data, as many as 6,12,814 patients have recovered, almost twice the number of active patients at 3,31,146. The rate of recovery, the ministry said, has touched 63.24 per cent. India, however, remains the third worstaffected country after the US and Brazil. During the last 24 hours, 3,26,826 samples were tested, as the testing lab network continues to expand. 9,68,876 3,31,146 Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state, with 2,75,640 cases and 10,928 deaths followed by Tamil Nadu with total 1,51,820 cases, including 2,167 deaths. With 1,647 new coronavirus cases and 41 deaths in the last 24 hours, Delhi recorded a total tally of 1,16,993 cases and 3,487 deaths. States with more than 10,000 cases included Gujarat (44,552), Uttar Pradesh (41,383), Rajasthan (26,437), Madhya Pradesh (19,643), West Bengal (34,427), Haryana (23,306), Karnataka (47,253), Andhra Pradesh (35,451), Telangana (39,342), Assam (18,666), and Bihar (20,612). On the global front, the number of Covid-19 cases has topped the 13.5 million mark, while deaths have mounted to more than 5,83,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some international flights to resume from today India has established individual bilateral bubbles with France, Germany and the US that will allow airlines of each country in the pact to operate international flights, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Thursday. A similar arrangement with the UK will soon be permitted, it added. Air France will be operating 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from July 18 to August 1, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said at a press conference. American carrier United Airlines will be flying 18 flights between India and the US from July 17 to 31, he added. “They (United) are flying a daily flight between Delhi and Newark and a thrice-a-week flight between Delhi and San P12 Disqualification bid: State reduces govt office workforce to 50 per cent Pilot camp moves HC RAINFALL: 1.1 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE JUVE THWARTED AS RONALDO FAILS TO STRIKE ISLAMIC STATE BRIDE WINS RIGHT TO RETURN TO U.K. which the carriers of the two countries can operate international flights. On July 9, India had announced an air bubble with the UAE that would be in place from July 12 to 26. The minister said at the press conference, “Now we have many demands for air bubbles, but we need to be careful. We should permit that many only that we can handle.” Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. After nearly two months of suspension to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the government resumed scheduled domestic passenger flights on May 25. However, it had then allowed the airlines to operate maximum 33 per cent of their pre-COVID CMYK domestic flights. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) increased the limits on June 26 from 33 per cent to 45 per cent. “We are assuming that by the time Diwali comes this year, we would have 55-60 per cent of pre-Covid domestic flights operating in India,” Puri said at the press conference. I had imagined we would reach 33 per cent of our domestic capacity by July 15 but we have not, the minister said. Various states like Maharashtra have put restrictions on the number of flights that their airports can handle per day, he said, adding that he expects this would change in coming 2-3 weeks. He said once the domestic capacity reaches 50-55 per cent of its pre-Covid capacity, the government will be confident about opening up international air travel further. 32,695 20,783 24,915 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. THURSDAY 16 JULY 2020 The two-phased clinical trial of the first indigenously developed vaccine for Covid-19 ZyCoV-D - on human beings, supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology began on Thursday. The plasmic DNA vaccine has been developed by pharma giant Zydus Cadila and partially funded by Department of Biotechnology. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a non-profit organization, is the implementing agency for the clinical trial as part of the government’s Vaccine Discovery Programme. The adaptive Phase I/II dose escalation, multi-centric study will assess the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccinem a government note said. SNS Details on Page 5 Unilateral bid to change LAC unacceptable, China told STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 JULY India has made it clear to China that it would not accept any “unilateral attempts” to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the government said on Thursday. “There is absolutely no change with respect to India’s position on the LAC. We are fully committed to observing and respecting the LAC,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing here. He said the disengagement process currently under way in the Western sector was specifically aimed at addressing faceoff situations and close-up deployments of troops along The Indian side insisted on the restoration of the status quo ante that existed in Eastern Ladakh in early May. the LAC. It was based on an understanding between senior military commanders. “Both sides have agreed at specific points to re-deploy towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC. These are mutually agreed reciprocal actions to be taken by both sides. It is an ongoing process. This mutual re-deployment should not be misrepresented,” he added. New Delhi's strong statement came amidst reports that China was resisting withdrawing troops from some of the friction points. Earlier in the day, the Indian Army said that the disengagement process at the LAC was intricate and required constant verification. “The two sides remain committed to the objective of complete disengagement. They are taking it forward through regular meetings at diplomatic and military level,” it said on the meeting held between 14 Corps commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin at Chushul on the Indian side of the border on 14 July. The meeting lasted nearly 15 hours and concluded in the wee hours of yesterday.
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