TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 DECEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR MARYAM DARES ‘PUPPET’ PM TO QUESTION ISI RAJINIKANTH STILL NOT SURE OF POLITICAL PLUNGE P4 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 27 and 07 degrees Celsius respectively. BIDEN ANNOUNCES ALL-WOMEN COMMUNICATION TEAM P10 P9 Shah holds meeting as farmers continue protest on Delhi borders Farmers in no mood to back off Traffic snarls in Capital SNS & AGENCIES Max: 92% P Max: 26.8°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:57 hrs MOON RISES 18:10 hrs NDA ally threatens exit over farm laws VARANASI/ NEW DELHI TEMPERATURE Min: 06.9°C (-3) SUN SETS 17:24 hrs MOON SETS 08:30 hrs THUMBNAILS Fireworks light up the skies over the illuminated Golden Temple on Guru Nanak IANS Jayanti. In Amritsar on Monday. Utpal Singh appointed LS Secretary General: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday appointed senior IAS officer Utpal Kumar Singh as Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, an official order said. Singh, a 1986 batch IAS officer of Uttrakhand Cadre, will assume charge on 1 December. He will succeed incumbent Snehlata Shrivastav. At present, he is posted as Secretary in the Lok Sabha secretariat. Singh has also held important positions at the Centre, as Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. States asked to ensure fire safety in hospitals: The Centre on Monday asked all states to ensure proper fire safety in hospitals and nursing homes, saying utmost precautions must be taken at a time when the country is fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla wrote a letter to chief secretaries of all states and Union territories in the wake of recent fire incidents in two hospitals in Gujarat which killed 14 people. rime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tore into the Opposition over the protests against the new agri-marketing laws, accusing them of playing tricks against the farmers. The attack comes when thousands of farmers are gathered at the entry points of the national capital, seeking the repeal of the three laws, which Prime Minister Modi has called “historic.” “The farmers are being misled on these historic agriculture reform laws by the same people who for decades have misled them,” he said, referring to the Opposition parties but not directly naming them. The Prime Minister was addressing a public meeting in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, where he was scheduled to spend several hours. Modi said apprehensions and protests are being whipped up by those opposing the Acts. They are misleading the society, he said. “These same people have in the past played tricks with farmers in the name of MSP(Minimum Support Price), loan waiver and fertiliser subsidy,” he said. Farmers have been duped for quite a long time, he added. Efforts are on now to ensure doubling of farmers’ income, Modi said, listing schemes launched for them. Earlier, he dedicated to the nation the sixlaning of the 73-km highway from Varanasi to Allahabad. “Today, UP is getting recognition as ‘Express NEW DELHI, 30 NOVEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates a six-lane Varanasi-Prayagraj project. In Varanasi on Monday. Pradesh’. Everyone knows what the situation used to be in the past, he said, referring to the expressways projects undertaken in the state. Even as farmers continued to protest on Delhi borders, Union Home minister Amit Shah is chairing a meeting here to deliberate on the issue with senior leaders. The meeting that began on Monday morning at Shah’s residence, where Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and other senior BJP leaders were also present, seems to indicate the Central government’s willingness to hold unconditional talks with farmers. The meeting, sources said, would decide on the future course of action by the Union government to persuade farmers to end their protest and resolve the contentious issues through discussions across the table. Home Ministry sources said that the government could send out an invite to farmers for talks any time. After the Akali Dal broke off ties with the ruling BJP, another ally has threatened to quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the contentious farm laws. In a tweet addressed to Home Minister Amit Shah, Rajasthan MP Hanuman Beniwal, chief of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), has demanded that the three new agricultural laws at the core of massive farmer protests near Delhi be scrapped. Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal said he will have to reconsider his party’s support to the Centre if the new agricultural reform laws are not withdrawn. Beniwal also urged the BJP-led Central government to talk to the farmers immediately instead of Thursday, when the second round of ministerial talks has been scheduled over PTI the protests. it was learnt, some farmer leaders were in touch with BJP leaders and also holding discussions among themselves on parleys with the Central government if it gets ready for the unconditional talk. Meanwhile, the farmers’ protest was on at Delhi’s Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders on the DelhiChandigarh, Delhi-Rohtak caseload to 4,46,952 comprises just 4.74 per cent of the total coronavirus infections reported so far in the country. “The difference in new recoveries outnumbering new cases of Covid-19 has also improved the nation- al recovery rate to 93.81 per cent as on date,” the Ministry said, adding that India’s coronavirus case fatality rate has further dipped to 1.45 per cent. Delhi adds 108 more deaths, 3,726 cases: Delhi on Monday recorded 3,726 fresh Covid cases, but the fresh deaths tally crossed the 100-mark again to stand at 108. These cases were detected from 50,670 tests in which the number of RTPCR tests surpassed that of rapid antigen ones. The positivity rate was 7.35 per cent. The city’s Covid toll rose to 9,174. The caseload climbed to 5,70,374, of which 5,28,315 patients have recov(SEE ALSO P 2) ered. India highlights Pak’s role in terror-financing at SCO meet STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 30 NOVEMBER Chairing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation heads of government meeting attended, among others, by China and Pakistan, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today tore into Islamabad for using terrorism as an instrument of state policy and repeatedly raising bilateral Indo-Pak issues at multilateral forums. Underlining that economic growth and trade could only operate in an environment of peace and security, he said, “Peace is the essential prerequisite for progress. The most important challenge faced by us in the region is terrorism, particularly crossborder terrorism. Terrorism is truly the enemy of humanity. It is a scourge we need to collectively combat.” With Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan opting out of it, the meeting was attended by Pakistan’s parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and the prime ministers of other SCO countries~ Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan-- also attended the meeting. Without directly naming Pakistan, Naidu condemned terrorism in all its manifestations, saying India was concerned about threats emerging from ungoverned spaces and the threat from countries that leverage terrorism as an instrument of state policy. “Such an approach is entirely against the spirit and charter of the SCO,” he reminded. NEW DELHI, 30 NOVEMBER 94,31,691 4,46,952 38,772 45,333 1,37,139 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2020 Farmers from Punjab and Haryana continue to protest against the Central government’s IANS farm laws at Delhi-Haryana's Singhu border on Monday. and Delhi-Ghaziabad routes respectively. They have been allowed to rally at their current locations amidst heavy police presence. The farmers have been protesting to demand the repeal of the three controversial agricultural laws enacted in September. Farmers mainly from Punjab, spearheaded by 31 farmers’ unions, had announced their intention to hold a protest in Delhi on 26 and 27 November. However, police tried to stop them in Haryana as they rode towards Delhi but they moved ahead and reached Singhu and Tikri borders, where they have been rallying. Traffic continued to be disrupted in the national capital due to the protests. The Delhi Traffic Police on Monday alerted commuters to take an alternate route since Singhu and Tikri borders continued to remain closed. Commuters had a harrowing time. Congress’ online campaign to support agitating farmers SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 30 NOVEMBER The Congress on Monday launched a social media campaign to muster support for the farmers protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws with party leader Rahul Gandhi saying, when farmers raise their voice, it resonates across the country. “The Modi government has persecuted the farmer ~ first it brought black laws and then used lathis against them, but it forgot that when the farmer raises his voice, it resonates throughout the country. You also raise your voice against the exploitation of farmers and join the #SpeakUpForFarmers campaign,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. Covid: Modi to chair all-party meeting p SNS& PTI New guidelines for marketplaces: In a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW ) issu-ed a new set of guidelines for marketplaces. Markets in containment zones will remain closed and only those outside containment zones will be allowed to function. NEW DELHI, 30 NOVEMBER A total of 45,333 new Covid-19 recoveries has been registered across the country in a span of 24 hours as against 38,772 new infections reported during the same period, leading to a net reduction of 6,561 cases from the active caseload, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday. The total recoveries have surged to 88,47,600. “The gap between Covid-19 recoveries and active cases, that is steadily increasing, presently stands at 84,00,648 i.e 19.8 times the active cases,” the ministry said. The contraction of India’s active Covid-19 IANS The development comes a day after the farmers rejected the Centre’s offer for parleys if they shifted to north-west Delhi’s Burari ground and ended their protest. The meeting comes just two days after the Home Minister announced that “if farmers’ unions want to hold discussions before 3 December, then I want to assure you all that as soon as you shift your protest to the designated place, our government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day”. As the farmers’ protest entered the fifth day on Monday, some farmer leaders also confirmed the development that the government may soften its stand on their protest. In the last five days, both the farmers as well as the Central government have been holding a series of meetings to decide their future actions. But they have not come forward for talks on the issue so far. After Shah’s assurance, Gap between recoveries & active cases increasing SNS & PTI P12 Opp playing tricks on farmers: PM RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Min: 44% ‘HARD TO SUSS OUT KOHLI’S GAMEPLAN’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold an all-party meeting on Friday morning to discuss the coronavirus situation in the country, sources said. This is the second all-party meeting called by the Central government on the coronavirus, which has affected over 94 lakh people across India, since the beginning of the pandemic. Defence minister Rajnath Singh, Home minister Amit Shah, Health minister Harsh Vardhan and Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi are likely to attend the meeting, sources said, adding that the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has reached out to floor leaders of all the parties. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a virtual meeting with three teams working on developing and manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine and said they should take extra efforts to inform people in simple language about the vaccine and related matters such as its efficacy. A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that Modi also asked the companies, represented by these teams, to come out with their suggestions and ideas regarding the regulatory processes and related matters. “The Prime Minister advised all the departments concerned to engage with the manufacturers and seek to resolve matters so that the efforts by these companies bear fruit in order to serve the needs of the country and the entire world,” it added. These teams were from Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd Pune, Biological E Ltd Hyderabad and Dr Reddys Laboratories Ltd Hyderabad. The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts being taken by scientists in these companies to come out with a vaccine solution to tackle Covid-19. The potential of various platforms for vaccine development was also discussed, the statement said. Matters relating to logistics, transport, cold chain etc in respect of delivering the vaccines were also discussed. All the vaccine candidates discussed are at different stages of trials and detailed data and results are expected early next year onwards, it added. Modi had on Saturday visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review the development and manufacturing process of coronavirus vaccines at facilities in these cities. The PM visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and the Serum Institute of India in Pune. Amit Shah’s remark upsets Nizam’s family ANINDITA CHOWDHURY HYDERABAD, 30 NOVEMBER The family of the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan VII (photo) has objected to the remark made by Union Home minister Amit Shah who promised to free Hyderabad city of its “Nizam culture” pointing out that the last sovereign ruler’s image was being tarnished for political gain. The Nizam’s grandson Nawab Najaf Ali Khan who heads the Nizam Family Welfare Association today issued a statement saying : “Whenever elections are held my grandfather H.E.H late Sir Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Nahadur Nizam VII’s name is criticised and his immense services towards his subjects are blatantly disre- garded.” Khan told this paper that “the family was hurt over these statements.” He went on to say that politicians should attract voters by their welfare schemes and by working for the people instead of resorting to such statements against the Nizam. Although the statement does not name any politician or a political party, it was Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath who had spoken about renaming Hyderabad as Bhagyanagar in the lines of Allahabad which was changed to Prayagraj during his campaign for civic elections. Yesterday, Union Home minister Amit Shah had also promised to free the city from its Nizam culture if BJP was voted to power in the Greater Hyderabad Munic- ipal Corporation elections slated for tomorrow. “Renaming the city or promising to free our state of Nizam culture is nothing more than a gimmick to attract attention but these politicians cannot change the Ganga Jamni Tehzeeb which has been a part of the cul- ture of the people of Hyderabad for centuries,” said Khan ruing the new low touched by politicians who are lagging behind in their knowledge of history of their own nation. He claimed that in the 1940s Hyderabad was better than most Western countries and his massive donations were unmatched by any other ruler in history. He had built the prestigious Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) from his own private purse and tarring him as a “looter” is an attempt to damage his image, said his grandson. In fact even today most buildings used by the state administration were built during his reign as were the institutions including Osmania Hospital, the High Court and Osmania University, the first vernacular university in the state of Hyderabad. The richest among the rulers in Pre-Independence India he is credited for building the modern Hyderabad. His descendants wondered why the Centre had appointed him as Raj Pramukh and accepted 5 tons of gold donated towards National Defence Fund if he was a fascist and why was his name and legacy being maligned even though secularism was the essential form of governance. As the BJP national level leaders were roped in to campaign for the municipal election in the city, the narrative tended to be on religious lines with BJP leaders even promising to launch surgical strikes in old city area. “The farmer of the country has come to Delhi in the cold, leaving his home and fields, to voice his protest against the black agriculture laws. In this battle of truth and untruth, with whom do you stand - the ‘Annadata’ (food-giving) farmer or the PM’s capitalist friends,” Gandhi tweeted. “These laws are for Narendra Modi’s twothree friends and are aimed at stealing from the farmers. That is why we all have to together stand with the strength of India - the farmer,” he said. The former Congress chief said wherever these farmers are protesting, the people and the Congress workers should stand in their support and provide them food. (See also pages 3 & 5) Moderna asks US, European regulators to OK its virus shots NEW YORK, 30 NOVEMBER Moderna Inc. said it would ask US and the European regulators Monday to allow emergency use of its Covid-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus rampage worsens. Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, which has been on the upswing in the US and Europe. US hospitals have been stretched to the limit as the nation has seen more than 1,60,000 new cases per day and more than 1,400 daily deaths. Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide. Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the US in December. Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca. Moderna created its shots with the U.S. National Institutes of Health and already had a hint they were working, but said it got the final needed results over the weekend that suggest the vaccine is more than 94% effective. Moderna said the shots’ effectiveness and a good safety record so far with only temporary, flulike side effects mean they meet requirements set by US FDA.AP (See page 10)
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