CMYK WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 21 OCTOBER 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 THE RETURN OF JACINDA ANGRY TRUMP ATTACKS POLLS, PRESS, DR FAUCI P10 Partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 34-27 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P7 Min. 47% P12 New Covid-19 cases dip below 50 K for first time in nearly 3 months In festival season, PM calls for caution PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Max: 34.8°C (3) Min: 26.6°C (3) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:36 hrs 17:07 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 21:13 hrs 10:14 hrs Next moon quarter on 23 October THUMBNAILS Flood-affected residents search for their belongings in a flooded housing colony following heavy rains on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Tuesday. AFP IMD forecasts wet Durga Puja: A low pressure area, the third in a month, formed over the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday and it is expected to bring heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal and in the north-eastern states in the next three days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The low-pressure area is likely to cause rains in Kolkata and other parts of Bengal during the Durga Puja. Captured Chinese soldier: The Indian Army will take another “few days” to release the Chinese soldier who was apprehended after he strayed into Indian territory in the Demchok sector of eastern Ladakh on Monday. Sources said there was a laid-down protocol and due process which was followed in such cases. However, the spying angle has been almost ruled out. “Corporal Wang Ya Long is fine after receiving medical assistance. He is also being questioned by Chinese language experts,'' they added. P5 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 20 OCTOBER NEW DELHI, 20 OCTOBER ith the onset of the festival season, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday made a strong appeal to people to follow Covid-19 guidelines, saying this is not the time to be careless as the virus is still around and even a small negligence can dampen the festive spirit. In his seventh address to the nation following the Covid-19 outbreak, Modi cited examples of the US and several European countries to note that the coronavirus cases there have seen a sudden and worrisome rise after witnessing a fall, as he cautioned citizens against any laxity until an effective cure is found. He said pictures and videos have of late emerged showing that many people have either stopped following precautions like wearing masks or have become negligent. “This is absolutely not right. Those who have become negligent and are moving around without masks are putting themselves and their families, including children and elderly, at risk,” the prime minister said in his televised speech. He noted that people have been getting on with their lives after the lockdown was lifted while economic activities are picking up and crowds are slowly returning to markets in the festive times. At one point in his India on Tuesday saw a large dip in new Covid-19 infection cases with 46,790 new coronavirus cases being reported in the last 24 hours, which was the first time the number has fallen below the 50,000 mark in nearly three months, and significantly less than the 97,894 registered on September 17, the country’s highest daily figure till date. India last recorded fewer than Tuesday's count on July 22 when the new cases were 45,720. With 587 lives lost in 24 hours, India's death toll reached 1,15,197 while the total caseload touched 75,97,063 cases. On Tuesday, there were 7,48,538 active infections while 67,33,328 Covid patients had been discharged. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India's active cases now make up less than 10 per cent of the total caseload. While the recovery rate stands at 88.26 per cent, with over 67 lakh people having recuperated from the disease, the fatality rate is 1.52 per cent, according to the MoHFW data. Six states ~ Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal ~ account for 64 per cent of all active Covid-19 cases Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 16,01,365 cases, including 42,240 deaths. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 10,32,795 sample W speech, he folded his hands to impress upon people to take precautions like wearing masks, sanitising their hands and maintaining social distance and said he wants to see them safe and their families happy. “We must keep in mind that lockdown may have ended, but the virus is still there... This is not the time to be negligent, this is not the time to believe that corona is gone or there is no danger from it,” he said. “India is in a stable situation today due to efforts NGT: Kaleshwaram project got green nod in violation of law PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 20 OCTOBER The National Green Tribunal (NGT) held on Tuesday that environmental clearance was granted to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project in Telangana “ex post facto” in violation of legal requirements, and has formed a committee to assess the damage caused as also to suggest restoration measures. It directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to constitute the 7-member expert committee and suggest relief and rehabilitation measures to be adopted. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the stand that the project executed prior to the grant of environmental clearance (EC) is unrelated to P4 In address to nation, Modi asks people to follow Covid-19 guidelines WEATHER Max. 89% ‘WHEN DHONI GOOFED UP ONCE AGAIN’ RUMBLINGS OF REBELLION IN KARNATAKA BJP irrigation is “patently untenable”. It also held that the decision for expansion taken by the Telangana government is without EC and not tenable. “We are unable to accept the stand of the project proponent that primarily the project is for water supply and water management and that irrigation is subsidiary or incidental part of the project so as to hold that no EC was required prior to execution of the project from 2008 to 2017,” the bench said. “We are also unable to agree that the state did not proceed with the irrigation component in the project till the clearances were granted and only constructed components relating to supply of drinking water,” it said. The tribunal held that environmental clearance was granted to the lift irrigation project “ex post facto” (having retrospective effect) in violation of legal requirement. All activities are clearly part of the irrigation project which cannot be separated from other objectives. It is difficult to accept that all such activities are only for drinking purpose, the bench said. It said the project had serious implication in terms of environment and it was never exclusively a water supply project. of every Indian in the last seven-eight months, and we have to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate,” he added. Modi invoked sages like Kabir and the holy scripture of Ramcharitmanas to make his point about not taking a disease lightly until it is fully overcome. People should continue to be careful and not be callous until a vaccine is found, Modi said. Countries across the world are working at a warfooting to develop a vaccine, and scientists in India have also been working hard in this regard. Modi said the government is making all efforts to ensure that a vaccine, whenever it is launched, reaches every Indian. “We all must remember, there can be no laxity till a cure is found (Jab tak dawai nahin, tab tak dhilai nahin),” Modi said. Modi also highlighted India's “success” in saving lives in the fight against the disease compared to resourceful countries like the US, Spain, Brazil and Britain. West Bengal adds over 4000 new Covid cases for first time STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 20 OCTOBER Even as the national figure of new Covid-19 cases fell below the 50,000 mark, West Bengal continued to add more new cases each day, with the state recording over 4000 cases in a 24-hour period for the first time on Tuesday. The state has been adding over 3,000 new cases daily for the past 45 days. It recorded altogether 4,029 fresh Covid cases and 61 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total case count to 3,29,057 and the death toll to 6,180 while number of active cases increased to 35,170. tests on Monday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 9,61,16,771. Meanwhile, the Union health ministry said that there has been no scarcity of medical oxygen in the last 10 months as daily production capacity was enhanced to 6,862 metric tonnes by September and projected to further increase to 7,191 metric tonnes by the end of October. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the Centre has begun the process of installing oxygen generation plants in 246 hospitals in 18 states and Union territories in the first phase, out of which 67 were at various stages of completion. India is in a comfortable position, he said. The city and the neighbouring districts of North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly continued to raise concern due to the high figures of new cases and deaths. Kolkata recorded 17 deaths and 809 cases today followed by North 24-Parganas with 871 cases and 13 deaths. With 3,382 Covid patients being discharged from hospitals in a day, a total of 2,87,707 patients have recovered in the state till now, taking the discharge rate to 87.43 per cent. During the day, samples of 43,762 people were tested for Covid. The positivity rate stood at 8.07 per cent. 75,97,063 7,48,538 46,790 69,720 1,15,197 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 20 OCTOBER 2020 Govt raises expenditure limit for poll candidates MOTHER GODDESS PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 20 OCTOBER An artist giving final touches to an idol of Goddess Durga at Kalibari in New Delhi, ahead of the Durga Puja festival on Tuesday. SUBRATA DUTTA The poll spending limit for candidates contesting Lok Sabha and assembly elections has been enhanced by 10 per cent based on the recommendation of the Election Commission that contestants be allowed to spend more on campaigning keeping in mind difficulties they may face due to Covid-19 curbs. The hike in expenditure limit will help candidates contesting the Bihar assembly poll as well as bypolls to one Lok Sabha and 59 assembly seats. Over a month ago, the Election Commission had recommended a 10 per cent hike in expenditure for all elections to be held during the pandemic, keeping in mind the difficulties candidates may face in campaigning amid the restrictions imposed, including those on holding rallies, amid the pandemic. The notification issued by the Law Ministry on Monday night said the maximum expenditure a candidate can incur for campaigning in Lok Sabha polls is now Rs 77 lakh. It was so far Rs 70 lakh. For assemblies, it has been hiked from Rs 28 lakh to Rs 30.8 lakh. The maximum campaign expenditure limit for candidates varies from state to state. Assembly polls in Bihar will be held on October 28, and November 3 and 7. Most of the assembly bypolls will be held on November 3. Bypolls to the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar and some assembly seats in Manipur will take place on November 7. Punjab Assembly rejects new farm laws, passes Bills to protect farmers STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 20 OCTOBER Punjab on Tuesday became the first state in the country to formally reject the Centre’s new farm laws, with the state Assembly unanimously passing a resolution rejecting the legislations and the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill, and seeking their immediate annulment along with a new Ordinance to protect minimum support price (MSP) and ensure continuance of procurement by the Centre. The House also passed by voice vote the three farm amendment Bills, along with the CPC amendment for exempting farmers from attachment of land up to 2.5 acres, moved earlier by chief minister Amarinder Singh. All MLAs unanimously voted in favour of the resolution and the Bills, except the two Bharatiya Janata Party members who were absent from the House during the special session. The CM informed the House that he had sought time from the President to raise Punjab’s concerns on the farm laws and seek his intervention to protect farmers. He later led all MLAs to the Punjab Raj Bhawan to submit to GovernorVPS Badnore the resolution passed by the House. The Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreem- ent on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020, were passed by the Assembly. Besides ensuring MSP these , Bills provide for imprisonment of not less than three years and fine for sale or purchase of wheat or paddy under a farming agreement below MSP, exemption of farmers from attachment of land up to 2.5 acres and prevention of hoarding and black-marketing of agricultural produce, among other things. These legislations seek to protect the state’s farmers and agriculture by restoring various safeguards aimed at preventing damage apprehended by the farming community as a result of the Central legislations, an official spokesperson said. Replying to questions raised by a Shiromani Akali Dal member on the future of the state amendment Bills, Amarinder said the Bills would have to go to the Governor who may or may not approve them. Thereafter, they would also need to go to the President, who may also approve or reject them. However, he said, the state government will continue to fight the Central laws legally,. Another report on Pg 5 CMYK Over 50 pc farmers oppose farm laws, but one-third of them have no info: Survey PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 20 OCTOBER Amid a political furore over the three new farm laws, a survey has found that more than half of the country's peasantry oppose these, but one-third of them did not know details of the legislations. Similarly, of the 35 per cent respondents supporting the agri laws, almost 18 per cent were not informed about them. The survey found that out of the 52 per cent who oppo- sed them 36 per cent did not know the details of the legislations. The new farm laws promise, among other things, freedom to farmers to sell their produce in the open market. This face-to-face survey of 5,022 farmers was conducted between October 3 and 9 across 53 districts in 16 states of the country, according to Gaon Connection, the organisation that did the survey. As per the findings of the survey, the biggest fear about the new laws among the res- pondent farmers (57 per cent) is that they will be forced to sell their crop produce at a lower price in the open market, while 33 per cent farmers fear the government will end the system of minimum support price (MSP). Further, 59 per cent respondents want the MSP system to be made a mandatory law in India. More marginal and small farmers, who own less than five acres land, support these agri laws, compared to medium and large farmers.
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