SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 30 AUGUST 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 | `5 |LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘INFLUENCE OF DICTATORSHIP ON DEMOCRACY RISING’ P4 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with light to moderate rain/thunder-showers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 33 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 023.2 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 98% Min: 24.8°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:45 hrs MOON SETS 03:55 hrs Unlock 4: Limited social, religious gatherings allowed from 21 Sept THUMBNAILS Boys playing cricket amidst the coronavirus pandemic situation, in the Capital on Saturday. SUBRATA DUTTA Raina pulls out of IPL: Chennai Super Kings allrounder Suresh Raina has pulled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) citing “personal reasons”, the franchise said on Saturday even as it emerged that a second player in the team has tested positive for Covid-19. The player who has tested positive is a right-handed top-order batsman, who has been a part of India A teams in recent past. On Friday, a T20 specialist pacer had tested positive along with 12 members of P12 the contingent in Dubai. Humpy takes India to Chess Olympiad final: Koneru Humpy took the spotlight as she beat Monika Socko in a nervy tie-break to help India pip Poland in the semifinals and reach the summit clash of the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad on Saturday. After the two teams won one round each in regular play, world rapid champion Humpy was pitted against Socko for the Armageddon (a tie-break), and the Indian beat her rival in style with black pieces. India will play the winner of the other semifinal between Russia and the USA, in the summit clash on Sunday. I n a big relief to daily commuters, Delhi Metro and other Metro services are expected to resume soon in the country. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) tonight issued its much-awaited Unlock4 guidelines, which said that Metro trains will be allowed to operate from 7th September, in a graded manner, in consultation with the MHA. The guidelines which extend the lockdown till 30th September, opens up more activities outside the Containment Zones. There will be strict enforcement of the lockdown in the Containment Zones. The Unlock 4 comes into effect from 1 September. The guidelines are based on feedback received from states and UTs, and after extensive consultations with various Central Ministries and Departments. Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, with effect from 21 September 2020. Such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer. Open air theatres will also be permitted to open with effect from 21 September. After extensive consultation with States and UTs, it has been decided that schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to OPENING UP. STEP BY STEP Metro trains will be allowed to resume services from September 7 in a calibrated manner. Detailed standard operating procedures will be issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in the next few days Social, political, religious functions to be permitted with a ceiling of 100 per- Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, on voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This will require written consent from their parents. The Union Home Ministry said that state governments shall not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones without prior consultation with the central government. The West Bengal government has written a letter to the Railway Board, stating that metro and local train services can be resumed in a limited manner in Bengal by maintaining necessary health safety protocols. The government, however, did not mention any date from which the services can be resumed. remain closed for students and regular class activity up to 30 September. Online and distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged. From 21 September, as per the procedures prescribed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the States and Union Territories may permit up to 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching and tele-counselling and related work. Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, on voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/ guardians. Skill or Entrepreneurship training will be permitted in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Train- BSF detects tunnel along India-Pak border in Jammu STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE ing Institutes (ITIs), and other selected centres. The guidelines also say that state and UT governments shall not impose any local lockdown (at state, district, sub-division, city or village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central government. There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements. The National Directives for Covid-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing. Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives. Health ministry asked to frame SOPs for Parl, Assemblies NEW DELHI, 29 AUGUST Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday instructed the Health Ministry to develop standard operating procedures for the Members of Parliament and the Legislative Assembly sessions comprising Covid protocols and preventive measures. The directions were given by the minister during the 20th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on Covid-19. The GoM also expressed concern over the forthcoming festival season and advised everyone to adopt safe and Covid-approprSNS iate behaviour. rence of the Pakistani Rangers who guard their borders and intelligence agencies, Jamwal said. Following inputs about existence of the tunnel, the BSF started a special anti tunneling drive all along the IB of Jammu region. A BSF patrol while carrying out in-depth scanning of area, detected a tunnel approximately 25 feet deep and about 3 to 4 feet in diameter in the Indian terri- tory near the border fencing in Galar area. About 10 Pakistan made sand bags with marking of Shakargarh/ Karachi factories were also found at the mouth of the tunnel. The tunnel opening is located around 170 metres from IB on Indian side in the field of a local farmer. The tunnel's origin is in Pakistan territory near their "Gulzar" border post close to the IB. P12 Bengal ready to resume Metro services, Rly Board told KOLKATA, 29 AUGUST The West Bengal government has written to the Railway Board, stating that metro and local train services can be resumed in a limited manner in Bengal. The government, however, did not mention any date from which the services can be resumed. Writing to the Railway Board chairman, state home secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said: "This is to bring to your notice that state government is of the view that Metro and local train services can be resumed in Bengal in a limited manner maintaining the norms of physical distancing and health hygiene protocols." To ensure smooth operations of services, the government also requested the board to come up with the required modalities and logistics. Meanwhile, the CPRO of Metro Rail Kolkata, Indrani Banerjee, said, “The Ministry of Home Affairs today issued guidelines that the Metros in the country can be operated from 7 September. We will seek permission from the Railway Board. After getting the nod from the board and issuance of standard operating procedures from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, we will have detailed discussion with the state government to discuss details of resuming the metro services.” The CPRO said that for now, no date can be given for restarting commercial services. She said the matter will first be discussed with the state government after getting permission from the SNS Railway Ministry. Covid tally goes past 34L with 76,472 spike STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 29 AUGUST With 76,472 new coronavirus cases in a single day, India's Covid-19 total tally has reached 34,63,972 as of Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said. In the last 24 hours, a total of 1,021 people lost their lives due to the pandemic, taking the death toll to 62,550 cases, ministry data showed. The total number of active cases across the country stood at 7,52,424, while 26,48,998 people have been discharged from hospitals and quarantine centres so far. In the last 24 hours, 65,050 people recovered and left hospitals and quarantine centres. The recovery rate stands at 76.47 per cent. The third worst-hit country at present, after the US and Brazil, India has been reporting the highest number of daily coronavirus cases in the world for the last three weeks. No other country has reported such a continued surge since the pandemic surfaced in December 2019. Delhi sees another Covid spike: Delhi today recorded 1,954 fresh coronavirus (Covid-19) cases ~ the city's highest singleday Covid spike in August till date ~ which pushed its coronavirus caseload to 1,71,366, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. Fifteen fresh fatalities have been recorded today, which took Delhi's Covid RIL acquires Future Group for `24,713 cr Cong writes to Facebook CEO again over bias allegations NEW DELHI, 29 AUGUST PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 29 AUGUST JAMMU, 29 AUGUST Troops of the Border Security Force (BSF) detected a nearly 170 metres long tunnel beneath the international border (IB) in the Samba district of Jammu that the force said was built by Pakistani agencies to push trained terrorists into India. The Inspector General of BSF (Jammu Frontier) NS Jamwal said on Saturday that the tunnel was detected beneath the fence at the IndiaPakistan border. The tunnel starts from Pakistan and ends on the Indian side in Samba. We were getting inputs about the existence of a tunnel in Samba area and a special team found the tunnel on Friday. The mouth of the tunnel was reinforced with sandbags that have markings of made in Karachi, Pakistan... The tunnel could not have been dug without concur- sons with effect from 21 September. Open air theatres will also be permitted to open with effect from 21 September. Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to 30 September. CORONAVIRUS IN THE BUBBLE OF BIO-SECURITY P10 Metro services can resume from 7 Sept NEW DELHI, 29 AUGUST TEMPERATURE Max: 35.0°C (1) SUN RISES 05:59 hrs MOON RISES 17:13 hrs P7 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min: 65% PANTHER STAR DIES AFTER BATTLE WITH CANCER INDIAN-AMERICAN WOMEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries on Saturday announced the acquisition of the Future Group for Rs 24,713 crore to bolster its fast growing retail business. “Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), subsidiary of Reliance Industries, will acquire the retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing business from the Future Group as going concerns on a slump sale basis for lumpsum aggregate consideration of Rs 24,713 crore,” the company said in a statement. Through the deal, Reliance Industries will acquire Future Retail that owns the BigBazaar chain that sells everything from groceries to cosmetics and apparel, and Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd that operates fashion discount chain Brand PTI Factory. The Congress on Saturday wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for the second time in a month, asking what steps were being taken on repeated allegations about the global social media giant's India unit being biased towards the ruling BJP. The Congress also demanded an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the alleged “links of Facebook employees and the ruling establishment”. “The investigation must include how Facebook manipulated voter opinion, allowed hate speech and was oblivious to fake news, even when they were in clear violation of their own regulations,” party spokesperson Pawan Khera and AICC data analytics department chief Praveen Chakravarty told reporters. The letter to Zuckerberg came over an article in Time magazine, which the party said “revealed” more information and “evidence of biases and a quid pro quo relationship” of Facebook India with the BJP . There was no immediate reaction from Facebook or the BJP on the allegations. A report in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month had raised similar allegations, which were rejected by both Facebook and the BJP . Tagging the Time magazine report, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed in a tweet that it exposes the “WhatsApp-BJP nexus”. “Used by 40 Cr Indians, WhatsApp also wants to be used for making payments for which Modi Government's approval is needed. Thus, BJP has a hold over WhatsApp,” he alleged, without elaborating. Messaging app WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook. In its earlier letter, the party had asked Facebook to investigate the allegations made in the Wall Street Journal article that the social media platform refused to apply hate speech rules to certain BJP politicians. “We draw your attention to the article in Timemagazine dated August 27 that reveals more information and evidence of biases and a quid-pro-quo relationship of Facebook India with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party,” Congress general secretary K CVenugopal wrote in the new letter dated August 29. “We will also be pursuing legislative and judicial actions in India to ensure that a foreign company cannot continue to cause social disharmony in our nation for their pursuit of private profits,” he said. ‘Letter misconstrued; never sought leadership change’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 29 AUGUST Congress leader Jitin Prasada, one of the 23 leaders who wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking organisational changes, said on Saturday that the letter is being “misconstrued” and he has full faith in the top leadership. In an exclusive interview to PTI, he said the letter was not written with the intention of leadership change. Asked why he chose to sign the letter, Prasada said the “letter was written with the sole purpose of suggesting how to reinvigorate and revitalise the party, and introspect for galavnising the organisation. It was not to undermine the top leadership. I had stated this at the Congress Working Committee meeting as well”. “The letter is being misconstrued,” the former Union minister asserted. On allegations by some party leaders that the intention was to target the top leadership, Prasada said, “I have full faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and they have full faith in me.” His remarks assume sig- nificance as they come days after the District Congress Committee of Lakhimpur Kheri hit out at the letter from the 'group of 23' and called for action against Prasada. Prasada said the resolution passed by the DCC seeking action against him could have been the “result of local instigation of rival factions”. “These are small matters which happen in every democratic party and could be the result of local instigation of rival factions. I bear no grudge against anyone as everyone is part of the Congress family,” the 46-year-old leader said. “The Congress president has said that the matter stands closed and we have to concentrate on fighting the ruling dispensation,” he said. Asked about an audio clip that went viral on social media platforms in which Lakhimpur Kheri DCC chief pur- portedly suggested that the resolution was passed following directives of AICC, Prasada said, “I don't comment on unverified media reports.” On the way forward after the controversy surrounding the letter, he said important elections were coming in Bihar, Bengal, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, and “we will put our energy in fighting the communal forces”. Talking about his area of focus right now, Prasada said he is working for the non-political group 'Brahman Chetna Parishad' whose intention is not to garner votes, but to unite the community which has been targeted recently. Prasada, along with 22 other signatories that included the likes of Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor, had written to Sonia Gandhi, seeking an active and full-time party leadership among other organisational changes. After the stormy Congress Working Committee meeting over their letter seeking urgent organisational reforms, several members of the 'group of 23' have stated that they are “not dissenters” but “proponents of revival”. 34,63,972 7,52,424 76,472 65,050 62,550 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 29 AUGUST 2020 death toll to 4,404 so far, the health bulletin said. The city had recorded its previous highest spike of 1,840 fresh coronavirus cases on 27 August. Yesterday, Delhi's Covid case count was 1,808, even as it recorded 20 deaths. The active cases tally in the national capital rose to 14040 from yesterday's 13,208. The bulletin said that the cumulative number of recovered Covid patients increased to 1,52,922 while the recovery rate dipped to 89.23 per cent. The rise in the number of Covid cases in the national capital has reportedly led to a 35 per cent increase in the demand for beds in hospitals in the city, according to government data. SEE PAGE 2 India pulls out of Russian war games; Chinese presence a factor NEW DELHI, 29 AUGUST India has withdrawn from the multi-nation military exercise to be hosted by Russia next month, apparently because China and Pakistan will also be participating in it. According to sources, Moscow has been informed that the decision has been taken in view of the worsening global Covid-19 situation. India alone has been witnessing more than 70,000 positive cases daily. The exercise is scheduled to be held in the Astrakhan region of southern Russia from 15-26 September. "A high-level meeting was held in South Block in which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat were present. The meeting discussed if it would be right to take part in the multilateral exercise where Chinese and Pakistani military personnel would also be present. The meeting also reviewed the situation arising from the increasing number of corona cases in the country," sources said.It was felt that it could not be business as usual with China at a time when Indian troops are involved in a tense military stand-off with PLA troops at eastern Ladakh. A number of member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) are expected to participate in the exercise. India had earlier planned to send around 150 Indian Army troops, 45 Indian Air Force personnel and a number of Navy officers for the exercise. India's reconsideration on its participation in the military drill comes ahead of defence minister Rajnath Singh's scheduled visit to Russia next week to attend a crucial meeting of SNS the SCO.
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