SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 JULY 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘YOUNG CONGRESSMEN NOT DEMORALISED’ NARASIMHA RAO A DEDICATED CONGMAN: SONIA P4 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Light to moderate rain/thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 25degrees Celsius respectively. TEMPERATURE P12 P11 2,216 fresh cases, 35 deaths in WB; no flights today Gehlot backers lay siege to Jaipur Raj Bhavan PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min: 64% Max: 35.4°C (+1) SUN RISES 05:40 hrs MOON RISES 11:18 hrs P7 Congress MLAs end 5-hour sit-in after assurance from Governor on calling Assembly session RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 94% SARRI IS SORRY AS JUVENTUS ARE JOLTED JOE BIDEN HAS A LONG TO-DO LIST JAIPUR,24 JULY Min: 26.1°C (-1) SUN SETS 19:16 hrs MOON SETS 22:49 hrs THUMBNAILS A family, including a toy, sporting masks during the coronavirus pandemic, in the DEEPAK Capital on Friday. US-China tiff: China on Friday ordered the US C to close down its consulate in Chengdu in retaliation to Washington's decision to shut the Chinese mission in Houston, further straining the already tense bilateral ties. A statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the US Embassy has been informed of the Chinese government's decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the US Consulate General in Chengdu, the P11 provincial capital of Sichuan province. I-day advisory to states: The Centre has asked d all states to avoid large congregation, ensure social distancing and webcast the Independence Day events in view of the coronavirus pandemnc. In an advisory, the Home Ministry said Covid19 warriors like doctors, health and sanitation workers should be invited in the ceremony as a recognition of their service in the fight against the pandemic. It said some people who recovered from the infection might also be invited. C ongress MLAs loyal to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday held a five-hour sit-in at the Raj Bhawan to press for an assembly session, in a dramatic show of strength hours after the Pilot camp secured protection for now from disqualification from the House. The Rajasthan High Court ordered that status quo should be maintained on the disqualification notices sent out by the Speaker, delivering a small victory to Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs who wanted them quashed. This means that the dissidents will hold on to the membership of the state assembly till there is a court ruling in the matter that is now also Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. PHOTO: TWITTER before the Supreme Court. But after the high court ruling, focus quickly shifted to the Raj Bhawan as Congress MLAs landed there from the hotel where they are holed up. The Congress said it ended the sit-in following an assurance from the Governor that he will abide by Article 174 of the Consti- tution, after getting some clarifications from the CM. The provision deals with the Governor's role in summoning a session of the state Assembly. The note from Governor Kalraj Mishra included a query on why the government wants the session summoned for a vote of confidence when it says it has a majority. AICC spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the queries will be taken care of at a state Cabinet meeting scheduled later in the might. Gehlot had earlier accused Governor Kalraj Mishra of sitting on a recommendation from the Cabinet to call the session while the Congress MLAs wanted to attend a sitting and establish that they are in majority. He also claimed that the Governor is facing pressure from above to stall the assembly from meeting, hinting at the alleged involvement of the BJP government at the Centre in the tussle for power in the state. Before heading for the Raj Bhawan, Gehlot said he had requested the Governor on Thursday to call the session on Monday, but there had been no word from the Raj Bhawan. He said if people 'gherao' the Raj Bhawan over the issue the MLAs will not be responsible, a remark that prompted the BJP to demand that the Centre should deploy the CRPF. It should not trust the Rajasthan police. At the Raj Bhawan, Gehlot met the Governor inside while the MLAs remained on the lawns, squatting on the grass and at times raising slogans. Mishra came out on the lawns to meet them. Two hours later, Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said a sit-in had begun. “The governor is working on the directions of the Centre. We will sit here till the session date is given to us,” he said. He claimed there were 103 MLAs at the Raj Bhawan. Rajasthan HC orders status quo on Speaker’s notice PRESS TRUST OF INDIA JAIPUR, 24 JULY The Rajasthan High Court on Friday ordered maintaining status quo on disqualification notice issued by the state assembly Speaker to 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including Sachin Pilot. The assembly Speaker issued the notice to the MLAs on July 14 after the ruling Congress complained to him that the legislators had defied a whip to attend two legislature party meetings last week. “The writ petition has been admitted and the court has ordered for status quo on the notices dated July 14. The matter will be heard in due course now,” a counsel for the Speaker said. The bench, in its order, said the writ petition is maintainable and is admitted on the ground of three pleas of the petitioners. “After completion of filing of pleadings of the parties and the intervenors, Counsel for the parties shall be at liberty to file an application for early hearing of the writ petition. Till then, the 'status quo', as exists today viz-a-viz impugned notices dated 14.07.2020, shall be maintained,” the order stated. Prior to this, the court allowed an application for impleadment of the Union of India in the list of respondents. The court also rejected two pleas which sought an order declaring that alleged actions of the petitioners as the members of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly do not come within the purview of disqualification envisaged under Para (2) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. Rejecting the petitions, the court said they are beyond its jurisdiction. The Congress had sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. The provision disqualifies MLAs if they “vol- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 24 JULY untarily” give up the membership of the party which they represent in the House. The Pilot camp, however, argued that a party whip applies only when the assembly is in session. The disqualification notice was challenged by the dissident MLAs through the writ petition which was taken up by the bench on Friday last week and arguments were held. The arguments continued on Monday and concluded on Tuesday. As many as 2,216 fresh Covid cases and 35 deaths were recorded in West Bengal in the last 24 hours taking the total case count to 53,973 and the death toll to 1,290 till now. On the eve of the second day of the bi-weekly lockdown tomorrow, Airports Authority of India announced that flight operations will remain suspended on 25 and 29 July. The move comes in response to the state government’s request to restrict public movement during the temporary lockdown to contain the spread of the infection. Ration shops too would remain closed on 25 July and a notification in this regard was issued today. The state food and supplies department has requested all beneficiaries who have not lifted food grains for July till now to lift their entitled food grains on 26 July (Sunday), 27 July (Monday) and 28 July (Tuesday) maintaining social distancing norms. In the last 24 hours, 699 people were detected Covid positive in Kolkata taking the city’s total case count to 16,826. In North 24-Parganas and Howrah 567 and 189 fresh cases were detected, respectively. Of the 35 deaths, 16 deaths were recorded in Kolkata, six in North 24-Parganas, three each in South 24-Parganas, Howrah and Jalpaiguri, one each in Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, Murshidabad and Hooghly. India, China agree to implement India adds 49,310 cases in one day understandings on de-escalation PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 JULY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 24 JULY Amid reports of reluctance of Chinese troops to disengage at some of the friction points along the LAC, India and China today agreed that it was necessary for both countries to “sincerely implement” the understandings reached between their military commanders so far for disengagement and de-escalation in Eastern Ladakh. At the 17th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs held this afternoon, both sides agreed that an early and complete disengagement of troops and deescalation from India-China border areas in accordance with bilateral agreements and protocols and full restoration of peace and tranquility was essential. The Indian delegation was led by Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry while the Director General of the Boundary and Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the Chinese delegation. This was the third meeting of the WMCC since tensions erupted between the two countries in early May. It had earlier met on 24 June and 10 July. An official statement said the two sides reviewed the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the agreement reached between Special Representatives of the two countries during their telephonic conversation on 5 July. The WMCC agreed that another meeting of the senior military com- manders of the two countries should be held soon so as to work out further steps to ensure expeditiously complete disengagement and deescalation and restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas. A statement issued by the Chinese said, “The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on the recent Sino-Indian border situation and fully affirmed the positive progress made by the frontline border defence forces of the two countries to disengage from contact and ease the situation on the ground.” The meeting was significant against the backdrop of reports the Chinese were not honouring their commitment for disengagement at the friction points in Eastern Ladakh and not moving back as per the agreed terms. India saw a record singleday spike of 49,310 Covid-19 cases, taking the country's tally to12,87,945 on Friday, while recoveries have surged to 8,17,208, according to the Union health ministry. Thedeath toll mounted to 30,601 with 740 new fatalities reported in a span of 24 hours,the data updated at 8 a.m. today showed. There are 4,40,135 active cases of coronavirus infection currently in the country. Of the 740 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, 298 are from Maharashtra, 97 from Karnataka, 88 are from Tamil Nadu, 61 from Andhra Pradesh, 35 from West Bengal, 28 from Gujarat, 26 each from Uttar Pradesh andDelhi, 11 from Rajasthan,10 from Madhya Pradesh and nine each from Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana. 12,87,945 4,40,135 49,310 34,602 30,601 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. FRIDAY 24 JULY 2020 Punjab has reported eight fatalities followed by Assam, Odisha and Haryana with six IAF commanders draw up 10-year roadmap PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 JULY At the end of a three-day brainstorming conclave, top commanders of the Indian Air Force on Friday drew up a broad roadmap for the next 10 years to significantly enhance the country's aerial prowess to confront emerging threats including from the adversaries on the northern and western fronts, officials said. The IAF commanders held detailed deliberations on the border row with China in eastern Ladakh, key short-term and long-term security challenges facing the nation and on the complex geo-political power play in India's neighbourhood, they said. In his remarks, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria emphasised on the need for rapid capacity building, increase in serviceability of all assets and dedicated work towards effective integration of new technologies in the “shortest timeframes”. An IAF spokesperson said the Chief of Air Staff talked about the vision 2030 for the force and laid down milestones for transforming it in the coming decade. He stated that it was important to recognise the nature of emerging threats in a rapidly changing world. The official said the commanders held a series of dis- cussions and carried out reviews on operational preparedness and strategies for countering security threats envisaged across the entire spectrum. “They discussed the current situation and thereafter carried out a thorough review of the IAF's transformation roadmap for the next decade,” spokesperson said. The interactions covered a wide range of subjects including ways to ensure of jointness and ensuring integrated war fighting. The spokesperson said the IAF chief underlined the need for work on the IAF's long term goals for building sustainable capability, employment of niche technologies and development of indigenous platforms and weapons. “The chief stated that since human resource was the most valuable asset of the IAF, recruitment, training and motivation strategies should keep pace with the changing times,” he said. Officials said the commanders also deliberate on deployment of first batch of around six Rafale jets in the Ladakh sector by early next month as the aircraft are set to join the IAF's fighter fleet by July 29. The IAF has deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. deaths each, Kerala five, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Puducherry three each, while Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Goa have registered a fatality each. India has one of the world's lowest Covid-19 infection and death rates, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, underlining that the recovery rate among coronavirusinfected patients in the country is 63.45 per cent while the mortality rate is 2.3 per cent. For the third day in a row, the number of Covid-19 recoveries in a 24-hour span saw another record high with 34,602 patients having recuperated. This pushed the total number of recoveries to 8,17,208, the Union health ministry said. The case fatality rate has further declined to 2.38 per cent, it said. The Central government, meanwhile, advised nine states including Assam, Bihar, Telangana and Odisha to ramp up testing with special focus on containment zones, strictly implement containment plan, augment health infrastructure and ensure effective clinical management of Covid-19 cases. As part of the coordinated strategy for effective containment and management of the Covid-19 pandemic, a high-level virtual review meeting was chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba with the chief secretaries and health secretaries of these states that are driving the present spurt of the active caseload in the country, the health ministry said. The other states that participated in the virtual conference were Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. In keeping with the 'Test Track Treat' strategy, the states were advised to ramp up the testing with special focus on containment zones. Rickshaw puller plays dead in bid to feed his family MANOJ CHAURASIA PATNA, 24 JULY Poor villagers in Bihar are applying various tricks to stay alive as the struggle for survival becomes tougher due to the second spell of lockdown enforced in the state in view of the surging Covid-19 cases. A poor rickshaw puller, out of work, chose to pose as a corpse on the city streets to evoke people’s pity and their monetary offerings. Ramdeo Prasad has been pulling a rickshaw on the streets of Ara in Bhojpur district for years to support his family but they were pushed to the brink of starvation after the government enforced lockdown for a fortnight from 16 July. With passengers staying indoors, Prasad hit upon a new idea to earn money. The man would cover his body from head to toe with a shroud, complete with garland and burning incense sticks and lie on the street. That worked wonders ~ people passing by would throw coins on the body, and the man would collect them and go home each evening. He might have gone on earning in this manner had the local media not exposed it. At a containment zone at SNS Alipore in Kolkata. Currently, there are a total of 1,002 containment zones in the state, of which 28 zones are in Kolkata, 110 in North 24 Parganas, 80 in Howrah and 79 in South 24 Parganas. East Burdwan has the highest number of 169 zones. A total of 33,529 Covid patients have recovered with 1,873 being discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours. There are currently 19,154 active cases. Kolkata airport officials said the airport will remain closed to passenger flight operations on 25 and 29 July, the days of the bi-weekly lockdown. The airport will continue to cater to cargo and medical flights. The airport authorities further clarified that the closure of passenger flight operations will only remain restricted to both these dates, as of now, unless the state government makes any further announcements of closing operations on the other days of the lockdown, too. Prior to this, the airport authorities had asked the state government to arrange transport for passengers who arrive or need to reach the airport on the days of the bi-weekly lockdown, since all transport services remain suspended on these days. Danseuse Amala Shankar, 101, passes away KOLKATA, 24 JULY Renowned Indian dancer and choreographer Amala Shankar, who celebrated her 101st birthday last month, passed away here on Friday morning, her family said. The danseuse, who had been suffering from agerelated ailments, died of cardiac arrest in her sleep. “My mother had always wanted to leave the world in a quiet manner, without warranting much attention. She left in peace this morning. But, I feel her presence with me,” the artiste's dancer daughter, Mamata Shankar, said. The wife of legendary dancer-choreographer Uday Shankar and sister-in-law of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, Amala Shankar was awarded the Banga Bibhusan by the West Bengal government in 2011 for her contribution in the field of arts. In a condolence message, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her death has caused irreparable void in the world of dance. Born in Bangladesh on June 27, 1919, Amala Shankar's tryst with dance began at a very young age, following a meeting with Uday Shankar, who she later married. Her first ever performance was in Belgium in a production titled, Kaliya Daman, where she essayed the role of Kaliya the mythological serpent. PTI MORE ON PAGE 9
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