CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 NOVEMBER 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 ‘NORTH KOREA EXECUTED PEOPLE IN COVID FIGHT’ SHOTGUN ALLIANCE P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 27 °C and 19 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 96% TEMPERATURE Max: 27.5°C (-1) Min: 19.2°C (+2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:58 hrs 16:50 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 15:03 hrs 03:08 hrs Full moon on 30 November P7 P12 Economy claws Farmers allowed to enter Delhi after hours of chaos back: GDP fell only 7.5 p.c in Q2 NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH, 27 NOVEMBER GDP had contracted by a record 23.9 p.c in first quarter PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 27 NOVEMBER ndia’s economy recovered faster than expected in the September quarter as a pick-up in manufacturing helped GDP clock a lower contraction of 7.5 per cent and held out hopes for further improvement on consumer demand bouncing back. The gross domestic product (GDP) had contracted by a record 23.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2020-21 fiscal (April 2020 to March 2021) as the coronavirus lockdown pummelled economic activity. The second straight quarter of contraction pushed India to its first technical recession. The GDP contraction of 7.5 per cent in July-September compared with a growth of 4.4 per cent in the same quarter last year, according to data released by the statistics ministry on Friday. With the gradual opening up from June, the economy picked up momentum. Manufacturing clocked a surprise 0.6 per cent growth in July-September after it had shrunk by a massive 39 per cent in the preceding quarter. Continuing its good showing, the agriculture sector grew by 3.4 per cent, while electricity and gas expanded 4.4 per cent. Financial and real estate services shrank 8.1 per cent in the second quarter of FY21 from a year ago, while I THUMBNAILS The Majherhat bridge being readied ahead of the inauguration. In Kolkata on Friday. SNS MiG-29K jet crashes in Arabian sea: An Indian 2 Navy’s MiG-29K trainer aircraft crashed in the Arabian Sea on Thursday following which one pilot has gone missing while the other has been rescued. ''MiG-29K trainer aircraft operating at sea ditched at about 1700 hrs on 26 November 20. One pilot safely recovered, search for the second pilot Cdr Nishant Singh, by air & surface units is in progress. An enquiry to investigate the incident has been ordered,'' the Indian Navy spokesperson tweeted on Friday. SC extends Arnab's interim bail: The Supreme Court on Friday extended the interim bail of TV anchor Arnab Goswami and two others till four weeks after the Bombay High Court decides their pleas for quashing of an FIR in the 2018 abetment to suicide case, stating that the judiciary should ensure criminal law does not become a weapon for selective harassment. Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, Neetish Sarda and Feroz Md Shaikh were arrested by P4 Alibaug police on 4 November. India’s Covid caseload climbs to 93.09 lakh SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 27 NOVEMBER Bengal adds 3.4K cases in 24 hrs: West Bengal today registered 3,489 fresh cases and 46 deaths due to the infection. Kolkata recorded 893 fresh cases and 16 deaths while North 24-Parganas saw 858 cases and 12 deaths. Currently, the total Covid case count in the state is P11 PACE ACE IS OUT OF OZ SERIES SNS & PTI Min. 49% India’s Covid-19 tally of cases climbed to 93.09 lakh with 43,082 new cases in a day, while 87,18,517 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 93.64 per cent on Friday, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The Covid-19 case fatality rate has further declined to 1.45 per cent as the novel coronavirus virus claimed 492 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed. ‘INDIA HAS UNDER-PERFORMED’ 93,09,787 4,55,555 43,082 39,379 1,35,715 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2020 4,73,987 and the death toll is 8,270. There are 24,617 active cases. trade, hotels, transport and communication declined 15.6 per cent. The construction sector, which is the secondlargest employer in the economy, contracted only 8.6 per cent in Q2 versus (-) 50 per cent in Q1. Public spending was down 12 per cent. Analysts and economists, who have projected the economy shrinking for the full fiscal, had expected a wider contraction in Q2. China’s economy grew by 4.9 per cent in July-September this year, faster than the 3.2 per cent growth in April-June 2020. Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian said the GDP numbers were “quite encouraging” given the pandemic and compared with the previous quarter’s performance. He said, “We should be cautiously optimistic and caution is warranted because the economic impact is primarily due to pandemic.” Rumki Majumdar, economist, Deloitte India said recent high-frequency data possibly suggest a quicker rebound ahead. “The possibility of a release of several highly effective vaccines soon gives us hope that there is an end date to the pandemic, even if it may not be immediate,” she said. Analysts said the recovery was ‘V’ shaped. Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das had on Thursday stated that the recovery from the lockdown has been stronger than expected and the economy could show growth in the fourth quarter. Thousands of farmers gathered at various entry points into the national capital were allowed in on Friday to hold a peaceful protest at a north Delhi ground, defusing some of the tension building up since morning around the city’s edges and beyond. The concession came after hours of a standoff that saw police using teargas shells, water cannons and multi-layer barriers to block the protesters and the farmers pelting stones and breaking barricades in some places in their determination to push through as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s new farm laws. “After holding discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold peaceful protest at Nirankari Ground in Burari. We appeal to all farmers to maintain peace,” said Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal. At the Tikri border, farmers were escorted by police personnel around 3 p.m. and taken towards the Nirankari Ground, one of the biggest in the city. But those gathered at the Singhu border, one of the main routes used to access the city from Punjab, had not entered the city till evening. As the issue snowballed, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said no government in the world can stop farmers 5 dead in Guj Covid hospital blaze STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, 27 NOVEMBER At least five people were killed and half a dozen others sustained injuries in a fire at a designated Covid-19 hospital in Rajkot early on Friday morning. Earlier on 6 August, eight people were killed in a similar fire in Shrey Hospital of Ahmedabad. The fire started shortly after midnight in Uday Shivanand hospital in Mavdi area of Rajkot. Of the 33 Covid-19 patients admitted in the hospital, at least six have sustained injuries while five died due to the fire. Those who survived the fire have been shifted to another hospital on Kuvadva road on the outskirts. As per the preliminary reports, the fire started around 12.20 past midnight due to a short circuit in a medical equipment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on the second floor of the hospital. Chief minister Vijay Rupani has ordered a probe into the incident and announced an ex The fire started after midnight in Uday Shivanand hospital in Mavdi area of Rajkot. Of the 33 Covid-19 patients admitted, six have sustained injuries while five died due to the fire. gratia relief of Rs four lakh each for the kin of the victims. Apex Court takes note: The Supreme Court took cognisance of the fire incident and sought a report from Gujarat government on the issue. Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said 26 patients at the hospital were rescued and shifted to other facilities. Rajkot Police Commissioner Manoj Agarwal said, “Out of the 11 coronavirus patients admitted to the ICU ward, five lost their lives in the fire, which was quickly brought under control before it could spread to other floors.” Patel said the blaze broke out in the ICU ward and was brought under control within half an hour by the fire brigade. While three coronavirus patients died on the spot, two others succumbed to the injuries while they were being shifted to another hospital. “Nobody else was injured in the incident. Twenty-six other patients, including those who were undergoing treatment on the upper floors, were shifted to other hospitals,” Patel said. The Chief Minister’s Office said senior IAS officer AK Rakesh would carry out the probe into the incident. In August, eight COVID-19 patients were killed after a fire broke out on the top floor of a four-storey private hospital in Ahmedabad. In the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, assured the bench that the Union home secretary will convene a meeting latest by Saturday and issue directions on fire safety in government hospitals across India. Farmers shout slogans during their ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest against Central government’s newly-passed farm laws, at the Singhu border. In the Capital on Friday. AMARJEET SINGH fighting the “battle of truth”. In a tweet, Gandhi said Modi should remember that whenever arrogance takes on truth, it gets defeated. “The Modi government will have to agree to the demands of the farmers and take back the black laws. This is just the beginning!” he tweeted with the hashtag ‘IamWithFarmers’. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the Union government’s decision to allow the farmers to enter Delhi to exercise their democratic right to protest. They should also now initiate immediate talks to address farmers’ concerns on the #FarmLaws and resolve the simmering issue,” he tweeted. Punjab farmer groups said Union Home Ministry officials had allowed them a place in Delhi to hold the agitation. “We have been allowed safe passage to Delhi,” claimed Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal. Earlier in the day, clashes broke out at multiple places and Delhi’s borders resembled a virtual battle zone with restless crowds of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, milling around and a sea of police personnel keeping them at bay. Drones circled the air and plumes of smoke from teargas shells could be seen from far. Beyond the border points, the tension spilled over on highways where groups of farmers squatted on the road, and stood in trucks and tractors, waiting impatiently to make their way into the national capital. At the Singhu border, multi-layer barricading, including sand laden trucks and water cannons, was put up to block the farmers. Delhi Police used teargas to disperse farmers who had reached Singhu. At Tikri, a few kilome- PM to review vaccine work in three cities STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE HYDERABAD, 27 NOVEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit a vaccine manufacturing facility of Bharat Biotech International Limited at Genome Valley, about 50 km from Hyderabad tomorrow as a part of his three-citytour to review the development and manufacturing process of coronavirus vaccine candidates, but the plan has not gone down well with TRS leaders who are apprehensive that he might announce distribution of free vaccine prior to GHMC polls slated for 1 December. The BJP has already included the promise of free vaccine and Covid tests in its manifesto. Bharat Biotech is developing the Covaxin vaccine in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research which has entered its third phase of trial. Modi will also be visiting the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad to review development of the company’s ZyCoV-D vaccine, as well as the facilities of the Serum Institute of India in Pune, which has partnered with AstraZeneca and Oxford University for the vaccine. TRS MPs today raised the issue of the PM’s trip while lambasting the four BJP MPs and Union minister from the state for remaining silent on the demands of state for projects or funds. “Neither the Prime Minister nor the Union ministers had visited Hyderabad during the floods. They didn’t give any funds. But they are all visiting the state just before GHMC polls. Don’t be surprised if the Prime Minister makes an announcement of free distribution of Covid Vaccine before GHMC polls,” said Nama Nageshwara Rao the TRS floor leader in the Lok Sabha. On eve of DDC polls, Mufti put under house arrest Two troopers dead in LoC firing STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 27 NOVEMBER A day before polling for the district development committees (DDCs) in all the 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir, former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti on Friday alleged that she has been “illegally detained yet again” and her daughter Iltija has also been placed under house arrest. Mehbooba claims that the detention was made to prevent them from visiting the family of Waheed Parra, party’s youth wing chief, who has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Mehbooba alleged on Twitter that she is not being allowed to visit the family of Parra who was arrested by the NIA on Wednesday for his alleged links in a terror case involving Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Naveed Babu and J&K Police DSP Devinder Singh. He had filed his papers for contesting the election. Later during the day, Mehbooba con- vened a Press conference at her residence but media persons were not allowed to enter her house. An armoured vehicle of the police blocked the gate of her house from morning. “I’ve been illegally detained yet again. Since two days, J&K admin has refused to allow me to visit @parawahid’s family in Pulwama. BJP Ministers & their puppets are allowed to move around in every corner of Kashmir but security is a problem only in my case,” Mehbooba said in a series of tweets. She also tweeted a photo of an armoured vehicle at the gates of her house and also a copy of a letter of the ADGP (Security) advising rescheduling of her visit to Parra’s house. She tweeted; “We are one day away from DDC polling & its evident that the admin here is using fear & intimidation in tandem to muffle any form of opposition”. Referring to media not allowed to attend her press conference, Mehbooba tweeted; “Press has been barred from entering my residence in Srinagar. This despite no written orders explaining my arbitrary detention. Kashmir is an open air prison where no one has the right to express their opinion”. Meanwhile, J&K Police said Mehbooba was only asked not to go to Pulwama for security reasons. NC leader Omar Abdullah also came out in support of Mehbooba. CMYK STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 27 NOVEMBER Two soldiers of the Indian Army were on Friday killed when Pakistani troops indiscriminately targeted Indian positions and civilian areas in the Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district in Jammu. A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the Army lost his life on Thursday evening in the Poonch Sector where Pakistani troops indiscriminately showered mortars. Army’s spokesman Lt. Colonel Devender Anand said that Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Sunderbani sector of Rajouri on Friday morning. Indian Army retaliated strongly to the enemy fire. “In the ensuing fire, two jawans of the Indian Army Naik Prem Bahadur Khatri and Rifleman Sukhbir Singh got critically injured and later succumbed to their injuries,” said the spokesman. Sukhbir Singh belonged to the Khwaspura village of Taran Taran district in Punjab, while Khatri was from Sarojni Nagar in the Maharajganj district of UP . The nation will always remain indebted to them for their supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty, said the Army. A JCO of Army, Subedar Swatantra Singh was killed and a civilian injured in unprovoked mortar shelling on Thursday by the Pakistani troops along the LoC in Poonch district. Lt. Colonel Anand said Swatantra Singh was critically wounded and was shifted to medical facility where he succumbed. The martyred soldier belonged to Odiyari village in the Kotdwar tehsil of Uttrakhand. Pakistani troops initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by intense shelling with mortars along LoC in Qasba and Kirni sectors in district Poonch. tres away, some farmers used a tractor to pull away a truck placed as a barricade to prevent them from entering the city. Water cannons were used against the farmers. Hundreds of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh were also moving towards Delhi from Greater Noida to join the protest. The Bharatiya Kisan Union had given the call to farmers from the region, including Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat, to come together for the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march. “We have started our onward movement. But our route to Delhi is yet to be decided by our union leaders, BKU spokesperson Pawan Khatana said. Delhi Police had expressed concern over the pandemic situation in the city, had sought permission from the AAP government to use the city’s nine stadiums as temporary jails for farmers arrested but this was denied. Suvendu quits state Cabinet, as Haldia devp body chief MIDNAPORE, 27 NOVEMBER A day after being replaced as the chairman of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC), influential Trinamul Congress leader Suvendu Adhikari tendered his resignation as the state’s transport minister today amidst speculations over his next political move. Adhikari, who was the prime architect of the Nandigram anti-land acquisition movement which catapulted Mamata Banerjee to power in 2011, defeating the 34-year-long Left regime in Bengal, sent his resignation letter to the chief minister by fax, which he also forwarded to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar by e-mail. Adhikari also tendered his resignation as Chairman of the Haldia Development Authority to Firad Hakim, the state’s urban development and municipal affairs minister. Soon after he submitted his resignation letters, it is learnt, chief minister Mamata Banerjee called Adhikari over the phone and talked with him for a few minutes, but what transpired during the interaction was not immediately known. “Our party is trying to talk with him to douse his anger. MPs Sougata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay have been deputed to talk to him” a senior TMC leader said. SNS (Details on Page 3)
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