CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 26 DECEMBER 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 ‘BUREAUCRATS A CAUSE FOR CONCERN’ NEPAL TOP COURT ISSUES SHOW-CAUSE NOTICE TO OLI GOVT P11 NITISH DOWNPLAYS DEFECTION OF JDU MLAS IN ARUNACHAL P7 P4 LET US BOWL IN PARTNERSHIPS, SAYS RAHANE P12 RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY PM open to talks with farmers; attacks Opp Accuses rivals of misusing protests, transfers 2k each to over 9 crore farmers Bengal govt depriving farmers, says Modi; Mamata hits back Max. 98 % PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 25 DECEMBER WEATHER Fog/mist in the morning and Mainly clear sky later. Temperature will be in the range of 25-13 degrees Celsius. TEMPERATURE Min. 42 % Max: 25.7°C (-1) Min: 13.7°C (-1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:14 hrs 16:59 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 13:36 hrs 01:51 hrs Full moon on 30 December THUMBNAILS President Kovind pays homage to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary, at Sadaiv Atal, in Delhi on Friday. PIB Rajinikanth hospitalised: Actor Rajanikanth was admitted to Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad with his blood pressure fluctuating. This came in the wake of four people among the film crew testing positive for Covid-19. The actor had tested negative and was isolating himself. However, according to a statement from the hospital: “He will be investigated and monitored closely in the hospital till his blood pressure settles down before being discharged. Apart from fluctuating blood pressure and exhaustion he does P4 not have any other symptoms.'' Dharavi records no new Covid cases: The slumdominated Dharavi area of Mumbai did not report a single coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours, a civic official said on Friday evening. For the first time since 1 April when the first coronavirus patient was detected in the area, no new case has been detected. The caseload for Dharavi now stands at 3,788, though the number of active cases is 12. So far, 3,464 people have recovered in Dharavi. NEW DELHI, 25 DECEMBER rime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday squarely blamed those with a political agenda for the deadlock in the Centre’s talks with protesting farmers and asserted that his government is willing to hold dialogues with all, including those staunchly opposed to it, as long as talks are based on farm issues, facts and logic. In a blistering speech targeting Opposition after transferring an installment of Rs 2,000 each to over nine crore farmers, Modi said when the agitation began, farmers had some genuine demands like guaranteed minimum support price but people with political motives then took over and began making unrelated demands like the release of those accused of violence and making highways toll-free. While putting up a strong defence of the three farm laws, enacted in September, he said farmers in overwhelming numbers across the country have welcomed the three Acts and listed their benefits as well during his interaction. His government is approaching dialogues with protesting farmers with an open heart, Modi said, claiming that the parties rejected by the electorate are pushing their political agenda by misleading farmers and using their shoulders to fire at the government as they lack any logical argument against these laws. Defeated in elections, these parties are now indulging in event management P PM Modi addresses the launch of the seventh instalment of the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme on Friday. IANS Union leaders reject PM’s speech NEW DELHI, 25 DECEMBER Protesting farm unions on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address appeared as an attempt to “divide and mislead” the farmers and said they want a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP). Reacting to the Prime Minister’s allegations that political rivals were misusing the protest to push their agenda, farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar said unions do not allow any political party to use their stage and accused the government of diverting the issue. Kohar said, “The Prime Minister’s claim that we are for selfies and are appearing on television for publicity, he said. “Our decision can be tested on logic and facts. If there is any shortcomings, it should be highlighted. It is a democracy. We are not being misguided by other political parties is false. It has been a month since we have been protesting at Delhi borders, and we have not offered our platform to any politician. Unions to meet today: The protesting farmer unions met on Friday to discuss the government’s latest letter inviting them for talks, with some of them indicating that they may decide to resume their dialogue with the Centre to find a solution to the ongoing deadlock over the three agri laws. The unions said they will hold another meeting on Saturday where a formal decision is likely to be PTI taken. claiming that God has given us all knowledge,” he added. Farm reforms became necessary because poor farmers, who are over 80 per cent, were getting poorer during rules of earlier Dry run for Covid vaccination drive in 4 states PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 25 DECEMBER To assess readiness of the mechanism laid out for the Covid-19 inoculation drive, a dry run has been planned by the Centre on 28 and 29 December in four states~Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The exercise will include necessary data entry in Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring of vaccine delivery, testing receipt and allocation, deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries, a well as reporting and evening meeting, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. It will also include testing of cold storage and transportation arrangements for Covid-19 vaccine, management of crowd at session sites with proper physical distanc- BEIJING, 25 DECEMBER China said on Friday that there was no “link” between the situation of Indian crew on two stranded ships at Chinese ports and its strained relations with India and Australia. The External Affairs Ministry on Thursday said in New Delhi that two cargo vessels with a total of 39 Indians on board have been on anchorage in Chinese waters as they were not allowed to unload their cargo though some other ships have managed to do so. “There is a considerable amount of stress on the crew members on account of this unprecedented situation,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sparked off another war of words with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee after he accused her government of “destroying” the state and depriving its farmers of benefits from the Centre’s flagship PM-KISAN scheme under which Rs 6,000 per year is given to each farmer. The comments were made while addressing a virtual event after releasing over Rs 18,000 crore to more than nine crore farmer families under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’ (PM-KISAN). In a sharp rebuttal, Miss Banerjee accused Mr Modi of trying to mislead the people with half-truth and distorted facts over the nonimplementation of the scheme in the state, maintaining that her government has always been ready to cooperate in the interest of farmers. She also iterated that for all its posturing, the Modi government has done nothing to help Bengal. Slamming Miss Banerjee for not letting lakhs of farmers of the state avail benefits of PM-KISAN scheme in his address at the virtual event, Mr Modi said her politics has destroyed the state. “Today I regret that more than 70 lakh farmers of West Bengal have not been able to get Let me set the record straight... We have always been ready to cooperate in the interest of the farmers. I personally have written two letters and have even spoken to the concerned Union minister two days ago but they are refusing to cooperate benefits of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. More than 23 lakh farmers of Bengal have applied online to take advantage of this scheme. But the state government has stopped the verification process for so long,” he said. “Mamata Banerjee’s ideology has destroyed the state and her actions are against the farmers,” he said. Mr Modi said the entire country is benefiting from the PM-KISAN programme, but only one state, West Bengal, has not implemented this scheme. In her strongly worded reply, Miss Banerjee stated: “While he (Mr Modi) publicly claimed his intention to help farmers of West Bengal and alleges non-cooperation of the state government, the fact is that he is trying to mislead the people with half-truth and distorted facts.” “Let me set the record straight... We have always been ready to cooperate in the interest of the farmers. I personally have written two letters and have even spoken to the concerned Union minister two days ago but they are refusing to cooperate and are instead indulging in malicious propaganda for political gains,” Miss Banerjee said. “The fact is that the Modi government has done nothing to help Bengal. They are yet to release even a portion of the Rs 85,000 crores of outstanding dues that includes unpaid GST dues of Rs. 8,000 crores. If he genuinely wants to help the state, he must release at least a part of these funds so that we are in a better position to address our needs,” Miss Banerjee stated. Mr Modi also attacked the Left parties, which had ruled in Bengal for over three decades before Banerjee and her party TMC came to power in the 2011 Assembly polls. “The people following one specific ideology ruled Bengal for 30 years, brought the state down and the whole country knows about it. The parties that do not speak on the benefit of farmers are engaged in harassing the citizens of Delhi here in the name of the farmers and are ruining the economy of the country,” he said.(WIth PTI inputs) CHRISTMAS CHEER CONTINUOUS DECLINE OF ACTIVE CASES 23,067 new cases take India’s Covid-19 infection tally to 1,01,46,845; recoveries cross 97 lakh The trend of more daily recoveries from Covid19 than the num ber of new infections has led to a continuous contraction of India’s active caseload which presently stands at 2,81,919 and accounts for merely 2.78 per cent of total cases West Bengal ing, the Ministry said. Each state will plan it in two districts and preferably in five different session-type settings ~ district hospital, community health centre (CHC) or primary health care centre (PHC), urban site, private health facility and rural outreach. An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) recorded 1,541 fresh Covid-19 cases and 31 deaths due to the infection on Friday. The total Covid case count in the state is 5,44,755 with a death toll of 9,536 while there are 14,749 active cases. as well as on adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site to prevent disease transmission. The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at block and district levels, and preparation of feedback to be shared with the state and Centre. A detailed checklist has been prepared by the Union Health Ministry for this purpose. No link between stranded crew and bitter ties: China PRESS TRUST OF INDIA governments, he said. He cited the BJP’s victory in panchayat elections in several states, in which farmers were the main voters and including in areas surrounding protest sites, to argue that these reforms have received support from cultivators. Though the government is making humble efforts to resume the dialogue, some are not letting talks happen due to political reasons and are misleading the farmers, Modi said. Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are camping on various Delhi borders for almost a month to protest against the three farm laws. At least five rounds of formal talks have failed to break the deadlock with the farmer groups refusing to accept anything less than the complete repeal of the laws. While the government has projected these laws as major reforms for benefit of farmers, protesting unions have been saying that these legislations would leave them at the mercy of corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems. The government has maintained that such apprehensions were unfounded as the MSP and mandi systems are not just continuing but also being expanded and strengthened further. “MSP etc were pushed , aside and now they are demanding release from jail of those accused of violence... They want highways toll-free, opposing policies that have existed through several governments. Why have they shifted from farmer's issues to new demands,” he added. Srivastava said bulk cargo vessel MV Jag Anandis on anchorage near Jingtang port in Hebei province of China since 13 June and it has 23 Indian sailors. Another vessel, MV Anastasiawith 16 Indians as its crew, is on anchorage near Caofeidian port in China since 20 September, waiting for discharge of its cargo, he said at a media briefing. Asked about India’s concern about the Indian crew members and whether China’s decision has related to the current situation between India and China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “As far as I understand, China allows the crew change while meeting certain quarantine conditions. But this Jingtang port is not in the list for such crew changes,” he said. 1,01,46,845 2,81,919 23,067 24,661 1,47,092 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 25 DECEMBER 2020 Throwing pandemic fears to the wind, the crowds swelled at Park Street on Friday as evening descended into night as they have done every Christmas, with a slide in temperature adding an extra zeal. PHOTOGRAPH BY BISWAJIT GHOSHAL IIM-A to raze ‘unsafe’ dorms designed by Louis Kahn PRESS TRUST OF INDIA AHMEDABAD, 25 DECEMBER The Indian Institute of Management has decided to demolish 14 of its dormitories designed by legendary American architect Louis Kahn in the 1960s, saying that they have turned “unsafe” for living due to “dilapidation and structural deterioration”. The institute said that these dormitories have suffered damages beyond repairs over the years, due to various reasons including 2001 earthquake and water seepages. Kahn, a world-famous architect, had been called to Ahmedabad by renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai to design various buildings. IIM-A was one of the iconic buildings that was built by him in the 1960s. IIM-A director Errol D’Souza, in a letter to the alumni, has shared the photographs of the depleted state of the around 60-yearold iconic brick structures. “We felt it necessary to keep you informed as we are the custodians of the Louis Kahn buildings that have the potential to inspire future generations. Over the past couple of decades, the buildings have undergone dilapidation and structural deterioration,” he said. “The earthquake at the beginning of the millennium and water seepage through ageing and deterioration of the exposed brick walls has resulted in large cracks in the masonry and periodical detachments of it in frag- CMYK The earthquake at the beginning of the millennium and water seepage through ageing and deterioration of the exposed brick walls has resulted in large cracks in the masonry and periodical detachments of it in fragments. ERROL D’SOUZA IIM-A DIRECTOR ments. They are unsafe for living,” he said. “We have grappled with questions as to why we should presume that the past is not changeable and why we should assume that future generations will value things in exactly the same way that past generations have. We wondered if it is appropriate for us to colonise future perceptions of living spaces,” he added. “It has not been easy to deal with the issues that have come up as we have attempted to restore these buildings,” D'Souza said in the 11-page letter. “As is well-known that concrete encasing was not used by Kahn to protect the embedded reinforcement bars in the brickwork and that has resulted in rusting of the bars and cracks in the brickwork. The bricks used were not the best in class and had an in-built efflorescence. “The bricks used by Kahn were what architects call second class bricks as per IS 3102-1971 with an average compressive strength of 4.89 N/sqmm and with in-built efflorescence,” the letter said. “The pointing that was used to hide the blunt edges of the bricks got damaged and allowed collection of water, which resulted in ingress into the masonry,” it said. “We have attempted to address these issues with the best team of conservation architects anyone could ask for- SNK (Somaya & Kalappa Consultants). We had invited international restoration consultants Peter Inskip and Stephen Gee to advise us and they suggested we first restore one building and then based on our findings we could proceed to take up further work in other buildings.
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