CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 22 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 ‘BJP-JD(U) ALLIANCE IS LIKE SACHIN-SEHWAG’ A COWBOY ASTRIDE TWO HORSES P7 Generally cloudy sky. One or two spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 32-26 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: TRACE mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P5 P8 HC modifies Puja order WEATHER Max.90% MARKET RECOVERY BROAD-BASED Min. 61% Max: 33.1°C (3) Min: 26.3°C (3) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:36 hrs 17:06 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 11:15 hrs 22:11 hrs Next moon quarter on 23 October THUMBNAILS The Commemoration Day Parade at New Police Line Ground, Kingsway Camp, in the Capital on Wednesday. DEEPAK EC notice to Kamal Nath on ‘item' jibe: The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a notice to former MP chief minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath on his “item” jibe at BJP candidate Imarti Devi, saying his remarks were found to be in violation of the model code in place in the state due to the assembly by-election. “Now, therefore, the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement within 48 hours of receipt of this notice, failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you,” the notice said. Uddhav blocks CBI in fake TRP case: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday withdrew the general consent given to Central Bureau of Investigation for investigation in the state in connection with the fake Television Rating Points (TRP) case. The CBI had registered an FIR in the case on Tuesday on the basis of a reference from the Uttar Pradesh police. Allows drummers inside Puja pandals in Bengal in partially revised order SNS & PTI KOLKATA, 21 OCTOBER he Calcutta High Court on Wednesday partly modified its order on community Durga Pujas, allowing drummers to perform within the no-entry zones of the marquees and raising the number of people who can be present in big pujas from 25 to 60. Hearing an appeal submitted by ‘Forum for Durgotsab’, a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court comprising Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee, retained its earlier order declaring all Durga Puja marquees noentry zones and erecting barricades in front of the pandals to prevent visitors from entering to prevent burst of cases. Counsel for the forum submitted before the CHC that as Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the Bengalis and emotions are attached to it, the number of people who can enter the marquees be increased for offering “anjali” and also during “sandhi puja”. The Bench ordered that T the number of people who can stay inside the marquees be increased from 25 to 60 for big-ticket pujas but retained it at 15 for the small ones. The CHC allowed ‘dhakis’ (drummers), an integral part of the celebrations, to stay within the no-entry zones of the marquees but they will have to maintain all safety protocols. The list of 60 people who can stay inside the pandals for big-ticket pujas will have to be put up daily, the court said. The court also said a maximum of 45 people can be present inside the marquees at a time. For small Pujas, the maximum number of people who can stay inside the pandals at a time is 10, the court said. The court had on Monday declared all pandals across West Bengal noentry zones to prevent the surge of Covid cases in the state. The Division Bench had also ordered that no visitors would be allowed to enter the marquees. Understandably, doctors’ fraternity in Bengal has hailed CHC’s order of noentry for visitors inside pandal and appealed to Durga Puja organisers to follow the restrictions to stem a possible surge of infections in the state during the festivities. Describing the order as “historic”, doctors said that if clubs and puja committees adhere to the directive, Covid-19 transmission would definitely be restricted to a certain level. “This is a revolutionary and historic verdict of the Calcutta High Court. Understanding the situation and the realising the importance of the verdict, people must adhere to it. Nobody is against any festival but we must understand that avoiding gatherings is the safest option to stem the transmission,” Protect the Warriors (a doctors’ forum fighting the pandemic) secretary ENT consultant Dr Abhik Ghosh said. Doctors have been issuing warnings that the state might see a tsunami of Covid infections if people are not restricted from gatherings during this year's Durga Puja festival. NEW DELHI, 21 OCTOBER The Election Commission on Wednesday took a serious view of “utter violation” of social distancing norms during poll campaigning and leaders addressing public meetings without wearing masks in complete disregard of its guidelines. In an advisory issued to presidents and general secretaries of all recognised national and state parties, the poll panel said chief electoral officers and the district machinery would be expected to invoke appropriate and relevant penal provisions against candidates concerned as well as organisers responsible for such violations. Separate instructions for strict compliance of guidelines are being issued to chief electoral officers and state governments of poll-going states, it said. P12 India’s new cases below 60K mark for third day in a row 76,51,107 7,40,090 SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 21 OCTOBER The number of new coronavirus infections reported in India in a span of 24 hours remained below 60,000 for the third consecutive day, taking the COVID-19 caseload to76,51,107, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. A total of 54,044 fresh infections were reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,15,914 with 717 fatalities being registered in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed. As many as 67,95,103 people have recovered from the disease so far pushing the national recovery rate to 88.81 per cent while the case fatality rate due COVID-19 has dropped to 1.51 per cent. The active cases of coronavirus infection remained below 8 lakh for the fifth consecutive day. There are 7,40,090active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 9.67 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7,30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past50 lakh on September 16,60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11. According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 9,72,00,379 samples have been tested up to October 20 with 10,83,608 samples being tested on Tuesday. The 717 new fatalities 54,044 61,775 1,15,914 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8 A.M. WEDNESDAY 21 OCTOBER 2020 include 213from Maharashtra, 66 from Karnataka,61 from West Bengal, 50 each from Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu, and 41 from Delhi. A total of 1,15,914 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 42,453 from Maharashtra followed by 10,741 from Tamil Nadu, and 10,608 from Karnataka. Bengal: 4,069 new cases; 64 deaths India-US ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue in Delhi on 27 Oct: MEA STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 21 OCTOBER With fresh Covid cases crossing 4,000, state home secretary HK Dwivedi will monitor the daily Covid situation and its management in the wake of apprehension of a sharp spike during festive days. KS Roy TB Hospital has been upgraded as a full-fledged Covid hospital and it will start operating with 130 beds. Along with increasing Covid beds in government hospitals, the process of appointing 200 doctors and 1500 nurses has been initiated. Facilities of oxygen therapy are being arranged in hospitals for treating the critical Covid patients. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has directed police to ensure revellers follow Covid norms. The Covid-19 tally in Bengal today rose to 3,33,126 after the highest single-day spike of 4,069 new cases were reported from various parts of the state, the health department said in a bulletin. The death toll mounted to 6,244 with 64 more people succumbing to the disease, it said. The discharge rate is at 87.45 per cent. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 21 OCTOBER India will host the third IndiaUS ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue on 27 October in New Delhi, it was officially announced here tonight. U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark T. Esper will be visiting India on 26-27 October to participate in the dialogue, the External Affairs Ministry said. From the Indian side, Defence Minis- India is likely to sign the BECA with the US for geospatial cooperation ter Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will lead the delegations from the ministries of Defence and External Affairs, respectively. The first two ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogues were held in New Delhi in September 2018 and in Washington in 2019. The EC frets as parties violate social distancing norms SNS & PTI MANCUNIANS OWE IT TO RASHFORD “It has come to the notice of the Commission instances of such public meetings where large crowds assembled in utter violation of social distancing, and the political leaders and campaigners addressing the gatherings without wearing masks in complete disregard of the guidelines and instructions issued by the Election Commission,” the poll panel said. By not following the norms, the EC said, the political parties and candidates are not only flouting its guidelines “with impunity but exposing themselves as well as the public attending the rallies or meetings to the danger of infection during the pandemic”. As the most important stakeholders in the electoral process, the parties are duty-bound to observe the norms determined by the Commission for electioneering, it noted. Non-compliance of instruc- tions during the period of public interface will attract actions as per provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides invocation of the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and other legal provisions, the EC warned referring to its guidelines issued in August. “The Commission has taken a serious view of the laxity on the part of political parties and candidates, on the ground, in terms of maintaining crowd discipline, and hereby reiterates and further advises them to demonstrate utmost vigil and care during electioneering,” the advisory said. Campaigning is on for Bihar Assembly polls as well as for byeelections in other states. Assembly polls in Bihar will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 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. The election commission's advisory comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to follow all COVID guidelines, including wearing of masks, especially during the festive season. With the onset of festival season, PM Modi on Tuesday made an impassioned 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. The poll panel also referred to its October 9 advisory in which it had sought the cooperation of all political parties in following instructions related to COVID-19 at all stages, especially wherever public interface in physical form is involved. The previous advisory had said the observance of preventive measures, including wearing masks, use of sanitiser and social distancing is a duty cast upon all the stakeholders in the larger interest of public health. “As representatives of public, this onerous responsibility rests with the political parties to ensure that they not only cooperate with the district machinery in following the due norms of public health safety as prescribed but also instill a sense of discipline for civic behaviour in their cadre while doing ground management during campaign times,” it had said. The Election Commission said it seeks the fullest cooperation from parties so that its district election machinery ensures that all the preventive measures are adhered to by every participant, including organisers. agenda for the third dialogue will cover all bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. India is likely to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial cooperation with the US during the dialogue. This will be the third foundational agreement to be signed between the two countries after the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement in 2016 and 2018 respectively. With BECA, the two countries will be able to share geospatial information and intelligence helpful for defencerelated issues. This, for example, may help Indian missiles to be more accurate. The dialogue between the two countries comes at a time when India is locked in a tense military stand-off with China at eastern Ladakh. The US has solidly backed India in the face of the border row with China. Sindh police rise in defiance against Pak army INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD, 21 OCTOBER In a major show of open defiance against Pakistan Army, police officers in Karachi have threatened to go on mass leave after the Sindh Police chief was allegedly kidnapped and coerced to act against PML(N) vice-president Marayam Nawaz Sharif. Sources in Islamabad said that Pakistan is rapidly slipping into a civil warlike situation with the ongoing tussle between the opposition parties and the Army. In Karachi in Sindh province, headed by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the Sindh Police in a major show of defiance against the Pakistan Army have threatened to go on leave after they were pressurised to arrest PML(N) Vice President Marayam Nawaz's husband Safdar Awan. Sources said that Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mahar and at least two additional inspector generals, seven deputy inspector generals and six senior superintendents of Sindh Police on Tuesday applied for leave in order to "come out of the shock" caused by the "episode of registration of FIR against Capt (R) Safdar". The Sindh Police on Monday had arrested Safdar Awan, the husband of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, and the son-in-law of exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, from a hotel in Karachi. The arrest came just hours after the PML(N) Vice President criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan's government at a massive rally of People's Democratic Movement (PDM) -- an alliance of 11 opposition political parties which have joined hands to challenge the Imran Khan government backed by the Pakistan Army. He was later released on bail. Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an inquiry into Safdar Awan's arrest after Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari questioned the Army and the ISI about the incident in a tweet. SC to examine if educational institutions fall under consumer law Bimal Gurung returns STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 21 OCTOBER The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the question as to whether an educational institution or university can be sued under the consumer protection law for deficiency in services, saying there have been “divergent views” of the top court on the issue. A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee has admitted an appeal filed by Manu Solanki and other students of a medical course against Vinayaka Mission University at Salem in Tamil Nadu, alleging deficiency in services. “Since there are divergent views of this Court bearing on the subject as to whether an educational institution or University would be subject to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the appeal would require admission. Admit,” the top court said in its order of October 15. It asked lawyer Soumyajit, appearing on behalf of caveator university, to file the response within six weeks to the appeal filed against a decision of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). The university has relied upon apex court judgments in the Maharshi Dayanand University and in the PT Koshy cases to say that these verdicts have held that the education is not a commodity and educational institutions are not providing any kind of service. Hence, in the matter of admission and fees, there cannot be a kind of service and therefore, there cannot be a question of deficiency of service to be adjudicated upon in consumer forum or commissions. The students, however, cited other judgments in which it has been held that educational institutions would come within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Solanki and eight other students of the medical course of the university had sought a compensation of Rs 1.4 crore each alleging deficiency in service and on account of “loss of social standing, academic years, career opportunities, mental and physical agony”. They alleged the university induced them to take admission in the course on a false assurance that it had all the requisite approvals from the authorities. The students were admitted in the offshore programme in 2005-2006 comprising of two-year study in Thailand and two-and-a half-year study in the university here, the plea said. The students were assured that they would be getting their MBBS final degree conferred by the university and recognized by the Indian Government and Medical Council of India. However, after two years of study in Thailand, the students were informed that they should continue their course at Thailand and would be conferred a Foreign Medical Degree and should subsequently appear for the screening test in India, the plea alleged. The students said they suffered the loss of career opportunities as the National Board of Examination said that their qualification was “not a primary medical qualification CMYK since the Degree is not recognized by the Medical Council of India or the Council of Thailand”. The NCDRC, in its judgement of January 20, had said, “We are of the considered opinion that the institutions rendering education including vocational courses and activities undertaken during the process of pre-admission as well as post-admission and also imparting excursion tours, picnics, extra co-curricular activities, swimming, sport, etc. except Coaching Institutions, will, therefore, not be covered under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.” Aggrieved by this, the students filed an appeal in the apex court. SILIGURI, 21 OCTOBER In an interesting turn of events in Darjeeling Hill politics, fugitive leader of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha Bimal Gurung today threw his weight behind Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and said his party will now work with the Trinamul Congress for next year’s Assembly elections in the state. On the run since the 2017 agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland, Mr Gurung appeared in Kolkata and interacted with media persons this evening. The state government has slapped on him several police cases, including those under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged anti-national activities. Heaping praises on CM and criticising his ally, the BJP, Gurung said: “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did for us what she promised, but the BJP did not. As such, I want to announce today that I want to end the partnership with the BJP and give a befitting reply to the BJP by joining hands with Miss Mamata Banerjee for the 2021 Assembly elections. We want to see her back at the helm in the state in 2021.” According to him, the BJP-led central government failed to keep its promises that included a ‘permanent political solution’ (PPS) for the Hill demand and granting of Scheduled Tribe status to 11 Gorkha communities, even after the Hills gave the saffron party three MPs for three consecutive terms in the past.
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