SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 JANUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 | `5.00 |LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SUMMON ME, NOT MY OFFICERS: CAPT TO PUNJAB GUV GOP TORN OVER TRUMP’S ELECTORAL COLLEGE CHALLENGE P10 Mist/fog in the morning later mainly clear sky. Temperature most likely to be in the range of 25-13 degree Celsius. P7 P12 Min. 34 % Max: 25.7°C (1) Min: 13.4°C (N) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:17 hrs 17:05 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 21:08 hrs 09:32 hrs Next moon quarter on 06 January THUMBNAILS A girl walks past a wall graffiti depicting the condition of migrant workers during Covid-19 lockdown. In Kolkata on Saturday. IANS Iran chalks out Uranium enrichment plan: Iran on Saturday said that it plans to enrich Uranium up to 20 per cent at its underground Fordo nuclear facility as soon as possible, pushing its programme a technical step away from weapons-grade levels as it increases pressure on the West over the tattered atomic deal. The move comes amidst heightened tensions between Iran and the US in the waning days of the administration of President Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew America from Teheran's P11 nuclear deal in 2018. Airtel, VI deny Jio allegations: After Jio's purported allegations that channel partners of rival telcos were inciting and provoking agitators involved in tower disruption, Airtel and Vodafone Idea have hit back terming the charges as baseless, false and outrageous. Airtel in a letter to Department of Telecom (DoT) said Jio's allegations against it did not demonstrate any evidence that Bharti had any hand in the ongoing issues that Jio is facing, and that the complaint should be dismissed "with the contempt it deserves". Former home minister Buta Singh passes away at 86 NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY Former Union home minister Buta Singh, who remained in public service for a long time and served under four prime ministers, died at the AIIMS here on Saturday morning. He was 86. The senior Congress leader was in a coma since October last year, when he was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. His family said Singh died around 7.10 a.m. He will be cremated at the Lodhi Road crematorium here later in the day. Singhalso served as the governor of Bihar. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Modi and former PM Manmohan Singh condoled his demise. “In the passing of Shri Buta Singh, the country has lost one of the longest serving parliamentarians with rich administrative experience. He championed the cause of the oppressed and marginalized. Condolences to his family and supporters,” Kovind tweeted. Born in Punjab’s Jalandhar district on 21 March, 1934, Singh was an eight-time former Lok Sabha MP He repre. sented Jalore constituency in Rajasthan and was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1962. PTI Obituary on Page 5 Union Health minister reviews preparedness, warns against misguided rumours Rehearsal in state capitals in at least 3 session sites Expert panel recommends emergency use authorisation to Biotech’s Covaxin PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI/CHENNAI, 2 JANUARY RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P5 India conducts Covid vaccination drill WEATHER Max. 95 % WHY ALL IS NOT QUITE WELL WITH WARNER CAN RAJINI STILL BE A FACTOR? s India came closer to the roll-out of Covid19 vaccine, a dry run was held by all states and union territories on Saturday in preparation for a massive inoculation drive, with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealing to people not to be misguided by rumours and disinformation regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Vardhan said that free vaccine would be provided in the first phase to the most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare and two crore frontline workers. He said the details of how 27 crore priority beneficiaries~ those above 50 years of age and those below it having comorbidities~ would be vaccinated until July were being finalised. In the national capital, where the dry run was held at three sites, Delhi Health minister Satyendar Jain said that free coronavirus vaccine will be provided to the people in the city. Interacting with reporters during a visit to a facility in Daryaganj, he said the system “seems flawless” as of now. The dry-run was being conducted in state capitals in at least three session sites. Some states also included districts that are situated in difficult terrain or have poor logistical support, according to officials. Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat conducted the mock drill in four districts each, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in five districts each while Rajasthan carried out the dry-run in seven districts. India has reported 1.03 crore Covid-19 cases so far and the exercise was held on a day an expert panel of the A PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY Covid-19 Vaccine dry run at Daryaganj Dispensary. In the Capital on Saturday. DEEPAK Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan to review the dry run drill for administering Covid-19 vaccine. SNS Central drug authority recommended granting permission for restricted emergency use of the indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, with certain conditions, after giving similar direction for the Oxford vaccine Covishield. The first dry run was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab on 829 December with at least 125 intended beneficiaries at five sites in a maximum of two districts each. The Union health ministry had said that no major issues were observed during the pilot dry run and all states had expressed confidence in the operational guidelines and IT platform for large-scale programme implementation. Specific teams were formed for various tasks conducted on Saturday’s rehersal by the district administrations and activities like uploading of dummy beneficiary data, session site creation, vaccine allocation, communicating vaccination details to beneficiaries and vaccinators, and beneficiary mobilisation, etc were carried out. “I appeal to the people not to be misguided by rumours regarding safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccine. We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine,” Vardhan said underlining that vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when the country started polio immunisation drive, but “we must remember its success”. The health minister has been credited with doing pioneering work in the successful mass pulse polio immunisation programme. It is as a result of our steadfastness and dedication, that India was declared polio-free in 2014. Our rich learning from the earlier immunisation drives including the Polio vaccination campaign is being used to guide our present countrywide Covid-19 vaccination campaign,” he said. An expert panel of India’s central drug authority on Saturday recommended granting permission for restricted use of Bharat Biotech-developed indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin in emergency situation, especially in the context of infection by mutant strains, officials said. The recommendation for Bharat Biotech's vaccine came a day after the panel cleared the Serum Institute of India's emergency use athorisation application for the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine Covishield, paving the way for the roll-out of Covid-19 shots in the country in the next few days. The Union Health Ministry on Saturday also confirmed that the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has recommended granting permission to the Serum Institute of Institute (SII) for restricted emergency use of Covishield in India, subject to multiple regulatory conditionalities. “The SEC of CDSCO met on January 1 and 2 and made the recommendations for the consideration and final decision of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI),” the Ministry said. Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in col- Recoveries goes past 99 lakh as India logs 20K new cases SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/ KOLKATA, 2 JANUARY The number of fresh Covid-19 cases was recorded below 20,000 in India on Saturday, taking the country’s caseload to 1,03,05,788, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 99 lakh, according to the health Ministry. Bengal records 863 fresh cases: West Bengal today registered 863 fresh Covid cases and 28 deaths due to the infection. The total Covid case count is 5,54,079 with the death toll standing at 9,766 in the state till now while there are 11,008 active cases. Kolkata recorded 211 cases and North 24 Parganas recorded 220 fresh laboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The SEC again deliberated on the emergency use authorisation (EUA) application of Bharat Biotech on Saturday after it presented the updated data, justification and requested for consideration of their proposal in the wake of incidence of new mutated coronavirus infection. It recommended “grant of permission for restrict- 1,03,05,788 2,50,183 19,079 22,926 1,49,218 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 03 JANUARY 2021 Covid cases. In the last 24 hours, 1,443 patients were discharged. ed use in emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, specially in the context of infection by mutant strains, to Bharat Biotech,” the health ministry stated. According to sources, the committee, however, stated that the firm shall continue the ongoing phase 3 clinical trial and submit data emerging from the trial as and when available. The committee noted that the vaccine is an inactivated whole virion, coronavirus vaccine, having the potential to target mutated coronavirus strains, a source said. The data generated so far demonstrates a strong immune response (both antibody as well as T cell) and in-vitro viral neutralisation. While granting the restricted emergency use approval for the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, the panel had imposed certain regulatory provisions, including that the shot is indicated for active immunisation in individuals of 18 years or more to prevent the disease and that SII should submit safety, efficacy and immunogenicity data from the ongoing clinical trials in the country and across the globe for review at the earliest. Also, the Pune-based firm should submit the safety data including the data on adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) and adverse event of special interest (AESI) with due analysis every 15 days for the first two months and monthly thereafter till the completion of the ongoing clinical trial in the country, according to the recommendations. The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield. Farmers warn of tractor parade on R-Day Pak arrests 26/11 mastermind PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY Issuing an “ultimatum” to the government ahead of the next round of talks, protesting farmer unions on Saturday said they will march into Delhi with a “tractor parade” on the Republic Day if their demands are not met. Addressing a Press conference, the union leaders said the time has come for “decisive” action as their demands for a repeal of the three agri laws and a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) have not yet been addressed by the government. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on 26 January at Rajpath, the city’s centrepiece boulevard where the major 75-year-old protesting farmer kills self GHAZIABAD, 2 JANUARY A 75-year-old farmer protesting against the Centre’s new agri laws allegedly hanged himself at the Uttar PradeshDelhi border in Ghazipur on Saturday morning. Sardar Kashmir Singh, a native of Bilaspur in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district, hanged himself in a mobile toilet using a rope, police said. Deputy Superintendent of Police of Indirapuram Anshu Jain said that a suicide note written in Guruceremonial event is held every year. “The farmers’ movement delivered an ultimatum to the Government of India and announced that farmers will march into Delhi on 26 Bio bubble breach: BCCI to back 5 put in isolation PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MELBOURNE/NEW DELHI, 2 JANUARY Five India Test players, including vice-captain Rohit Sharma, opener Shubman Gill and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, have been placed in isolation and an investigation launched into a possible breach of the Covid-19 bio-security protocol by them, Cricket Australia said on Saturday. This was after a fan put out a video of the players sitting inside an indoor restaurant on Twitter on Friday. He claimed to have been seated close to them and also talked about getting a hug from Pant after he paid for the players’ meal. The BCCI brass had initially ruled out any investigation after reports of a possible breach first appeared in the media here, but a late statement from Cricket Australia’s (CA) said a joint probe is on. “The BCCI and CA were today alerted to a video on social media that purported to show Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini eating at an indoor venue in Melbourne on NY’s Day,” the CA said. It has been learnt that the Indian Cricket board will back its players. Details on Page 12 mukhi was found on him. Singh wrote in the suicide note that the government must repeal these farm laws as these are against the interests of farmers, according to a leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU). In the purported suicide note, Singh expressed anguish that though some people from Punjab died during the agitation, no one from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has sacrificed his life for the cause. PTI January,” Sankyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of around 40 protesting unions, said in a statement. Calling the tractor march as ‘Kisan Parade’, farmer leader Darshan Pal Singh said it will be held after the Republic Day parade. The next round of talks between the government and the protesting farmer unions is scheduled to be held on 4 January. On Friday, the unions had announced that they would have to take firm steps if the meeting fails to resolve the deadlock. After the Press conference, farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar said that farm unions are hopeful about the 4 January meeting, but cannot trust the government going by their experience. Thousands of farmers have been camping at three Delhi border points ~ Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur ~for more than a month, pressing for a repeal of the three farm laws, a legal guarantee for minimum support price for their crops, besides two other demands. LAHORE, 2 JANUARY Mumbai attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi was arrested on Saturday in Pakistan on terror financing charges, according to an official statement, amidst growing international pressure on Islamabad to bring to justice terrorists roaming free in the country. UN-proscribed terrorist Lakhvi, who was on bail since 2015 in the Mumbai attack case, was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab province. Sources in CTD said Lakhvi was arrested from Lahore. “Following an intelligencebased operation conducted by the CTD Punjab, proscribed organisation LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was arrested on charges of terrorism financing, the CTD said in an official statement. It further said that Lakhvi, 61, was arrested in a case of terrorism financing registered in a police station of CTD Lahore. “Lakhvi is accused of running a dispensary, using funds collected for terrorism financing. He and others also collected funds from this dis- pensary and used these funds for further terrorism financing. He also used these funds for personal expenses,” the CTD said. The CTD said that in addition to belonging to proscribed organisation LeT, Lakhvi is also a UN-designated individual. “His trial will be held before the Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore,” it added. Lakhvi was designated as a global terrorist by the UN in December 2008 for being associated with LeT and alQaeda and for participating in the financing, planning, perpetrating of acts by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of both the entities. The LeT, led by Jamat-udDawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. Ganguly undergoes angioplasty after heart attack SNS & PTI KOLKATA, 2 JANUARY BCCI president and former India skipper Sourav Ganguly was stated to be out of danger after undergoing angioplasty in a southern Kolkata nursing facility this evening. Ganguly was rushed to the hospital on Saturday afternoon following complaint of chest pain. It was said that he had the same problem last night and had become unconscious this morning whilst working out in the family gym. He was diagnosed with three blocked coronary arteries after which a stent was inserted in one to remove the blockage, Dr Saroj Mandal, whose team performed the procedure at private Woodlands Hospital, said. “He will be under strict observation for the next couple of days. We will be taking a decision on our next course of action depending on his improvement. His other parameters are fine and needs to be in the hospital for next three to four days,” Mandal said.“He had an acute myocardial infarction (MI). We have found three blocks in his heart. We have conducted a primary angioplasty on him and one stent has been inserted. He is awake and absolute- ly stable,” Mondal said. As political leaders with varied loyalties, cricket administrators of different statures and India captain Virat Kohli expressed their concerns and sympathies and conveyed their best wishes, the Maidan seemed stunned as Ganguly had seldom been known to be ill. Though not an active cricketer anymore, Ganguly took great care of his health. His diet had ceased to be very strictly watched, an aspect of his everyday life, said a few insiders of the Cricket Association of Bengal. Not that he indulged himself excessively. On the other hand, medical sources said that he had a family history of heart ailments. While the state government was said to have called for coordinated treatment of the cricket icon, under the supervision of a carefully selected panel, word was out that there was an offer from New Delhi of an airlift by an ambulance to the Capital’s AllIndia Institute of Medical Sciences. Doctors being rushed from the institution to the city was not ruled out either. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today tweeted after hearing the news: “Sad to hear Saurav Ganguly suffered from mild heart attack and admitted to the hospital. Wish him a speedy recovery and my prayers are with him and his family.”Later in the evening, she visited the hospital and spoke to Ganguly.
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