CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 12 FEBRUARY 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 AFTER A LIFE OF QUIET ENDEAVOUR BIDEN CRACKS WHIP P6 P7 P8 P12 Rajnath confirms LAC disengagement WEATHER Fog/mist in the morning and partly cloudy sky later. Temperature likely to be in the range of 29-16 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.99% Min. 34% TEMPERATURE Max: 29.2°C (N) SUN RISES 06:10 hrs MOON RISES 05:55 hrs New moon on 12 SVITOLINA ADVANCES IN OZ OPEN ADITYA TO TAKE OVER AS CEO OF ARCELORMITTAL Min: 15.5°C (-2) SUN SETS 17:31 hrs MOON SETS 17:07 hrs February THUMBNAILS Flowers in full bloom at the Mughal Gardens, Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on Thursday. The Mughal Gardens will open for the public from 13 February, 2021. IANS 'CAA implementation after Covid vaccination': Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the process of granting Indian citizenship to refugees under the CAA, including to the Matua community of Bengal, will begin once the process of Covid vaccination has ended. Accusing the Opposition parties of misleading the minorities about the Citizenship (amendment) Act, he said its implementation will not impact P3 the citizenship status of Indian minorities. Maha guv denied state plane for Dehradun visit: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was denied permission to use a state government aircraft to travel to Dehradun on Thursday, triggering a row and inviting a strong criticism from the Opposition BJP. Koshyari was scheduled to travel by a state government aircraft to Dehradun, but the permission to use the plane was not granted. India, China to pull back troops in phased, coordinated manner at North, South Banks of Pangong Tso , Singh informs Parliament ASHOK TUTEJA NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY ndia and China have reached an agreement on disengagement in a “phased, coordinated and verified manner” at the North and South Banks of the Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh, defence minister Rajnath Singh announced today in what is considered a major breakthrough in the talks between Asia’s two major military powers to ease months of border tensions between them. “It has also been agreed to convene the next meeting of the senior commanders within 48 hours after the complete disengagement in the Pangong Lake area so as to address and resolve all other remaining issues,” he said, making an identical statement in both Houses of Parliament. The implementation of the agreement, I which had started yesterday, would substantially restore the situation that existed prior to the commencement of the military stand-off between the two countries which started in April-May last year, Mr Singh added. He said his information was that the accord was being sincerely implemented and most armoured vehicles of the two sides had moved back from the area. The Indian Army also released a video footage of the disengagement process that was under way. The Chinese Defence Ministry had yesterday announced that the disengagement process in the Pangong Lake area had begun, but New Delhi waited to confirm the development since Parliament is in session and any such announcement could only be made by the minister on the floor of the House. Mr Singh said that as a NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY Stepping up the attack against the government over the three farm laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that these legislations would damage country's food security system as also “break the spine of farmers” and that the country is being run by only four people with a ‘Hum do, Hamare do’ approach. Gandhi, who was participating in the debate on Union Budget in Lok Sabha, kept speaking on the three contentious agri laws, triggering protests from BJP members with Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi urging Speaker Om Birla to direct Rahul to speak on the Budget. Saudi women’s rights activist freed from jail DUBAI, 11 FEBRUARY One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent political activists was released from prison on Wednesday, her family said, after serving nearly three years on charges that sparked an international uproar over the kingdom’s human rights record. Loujain al-Hathloul, who pushed to end a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to six years in last December, under counter-terrorism law. She was accused of agitating for change, using the internet to cause disorder and pursuing a foreign agenda, charges that rights groups describe as politically motivated. Details on Page 9 India’s approach and strategy for negotiations with the Chinese side has been guided at the highest level by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve that India would not give an inch of territory RAJNATH SINGH DEFENCE MINISTER result of India’s thought-out approach and sustained talks with the Chinese side, it has been decided that both sides would cease their forward deployment. The Chinese side would keep its troops presence in the North Bank area to the east of Finger 8. Reciprocally, Indian troops would be based at their permanent PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY Amidst a row with Twitter over blocking of accounts, India on Thursday warned social media platforms of strict action for failure to crack down on inflammatory content, saying they have to fully comply with the country’s law. A day after his Ministry rebuked Twitter for not complying with its orders to take down inflammatory content, Information Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said social media platforms cannot give differential treatment while handling problems on Capitol Hill and the Red Fort. The government, he said, was committed to freedom of media and rights of individuals but it was equally concerned about safety, security, and law and order in India. “Please don’t spread enmity, violence and misinformation. Please follow the Constitution of India and the law of the land (otherwise we will be very strict),” he said replying to a question in Rajya Sabha. On Wednesday, his Ministry had When the Speaker told Rahul to speak on the Budget, he said he would talk only on the farmers’ issue. Rahul said the Prime Minister, in his reply to the discussions on motion of thanks to the President’s address, had mentioned that the Opposition is talking about the farmers agitation but was not speaking about the content and intent of the laws. “So I thought let us make the Prime Minister happy and talk of the content and intent of these laws,” he said, and alleged that “the intent of these three laws is to allow industrialists to buy unlimited quantities of foodgrains and hoard them as much as they want.” Claiming that these measures will end the ‘mandis’ and will end the Essential Com- modities Act, he said, “the new farm laws will destroy India’s food security system and will hurt rural economy. The farmers are not going anywhere but will overthrow the government.” Invoking the family planning slogan ‘Hum do Hamare do’, he attacked the government and said just 4 people are running the country. “Now four people are running the country...and everyone knows who they are,” he said. The Prime Minister had said that these laws have given options to farmers ~ “Yes, options are~ hunger, unemployment and suicide”, Gandhi alleged. He also said the agitation is not of the farmers alone but a movement of the country and the government will have to repeal the laws. expressed displeasure at Twitter for failing to remove all of the over 1,100 accounts and posts it alleged spread misinformation about the widespread protests by farmers against new agricultural laws. Prasad said the social media companies took immediate action when riots broke out at Capitol Hill in Washington but ignored similar action when farm Bill protestors ran riot at Red Fort on Republic Day. “This double standard would not work here,” he The areas between the Indian position in Finger 3 and Finger 8 will effectively become a no patrolling zone till a resolution on future deployment is reached The Chinese military built several bunkers and other structures in the areas between Finger 4 and 8 and had blocked all Indian patrols beyond Finger 4, triggering strong reaction from the Indian Army. base at the Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3. He said a similar action would be taken in the South Bank area by both sides. These were mutual and reciprocal steps and any structure that had been built by both sides since April 2020 in both the North and South Bank areas would be removed and the land- forms restored. It has also been agreed to have a temporary moratorium on military activities by both sides in the North Bank area, including patrolling to the traditional areas. Patrolling would be resumed only when both sides reach an agreement in diplomatic and military talks that would be said flagging inflammatory content, especially those with the hashtag of Modi planning farmers’ genocide. “Yeh kya mazak hai? (What kind of a joke is this?),” he said. The Constitution of India guarantees freedom of speech but Article 19 (2) also says that it is subject to reasonable restrictions because of the “sovereignty and integrity” of India. Prasad said that while social media platforms have their own self-regulatory mechanism to check and evaluate inflammatory content, that does not mean they will not follow the Indian rules. “This will not work here,” he said. Asked about steps taken by the government to check the spread of misinformation on social media, he said “We have recently flagged Twitter” on the issue. His Ministry officials are in talks with Twitter on the issue. On Wednesday, the government told Twitter’s representatives that the microblogging site has to follow its orders and that it was not a subject matter of negotiation. Left-Cong supporters clash with police KOLKATA, 11 FEBRUARY Left and Congress activists demanding jobs clashed with the police in central Kolkata’s Esplanade area on Thursday as they tried to break barricades on their way to state secretariat Nabanna, resulting in injuries to several participants and also the police. Condemning the brutal attacks on students and young men and women by the “police force of the Trinamool Congress government”, Left Front Chairman Biman Bose announced a 12- hour West Bengal bandh by the Left and associate parties from 6 a.m. on Friday in protest.The march to Nabanna started at College Street but was stopped by the police on SN Banerjee Road in the Esplanade area. As the activists tried to proceed further by breaking the metal barricades, police used water cannons. The Left-wing youths and students tried to climb up the bar- held subsequently. Military experts say the disengagement process would still be a long haul since it involves verification at every step by the two sides. The minister assured Parliament that India has not conceded anything in the talks with the Chinese side. There were still some outstanding issues with regard to deployment and patrolling at some other points along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. These would be the focus of further discussions with the Chinese side. “We have agreed that both sides should achieve disengagement at the earliest and abide fully by the bilateral agreements and protocols. By now the Chinese side is fully aware of our resolve. It is, therefore, our expectation that the Chinese side will work with us in full sincerity to resolve these remaining issues,” Mr Singh said. The Chinese army will pull back its troops to east of Finger 8 areas in the northern bank of Pangong lake. Reciprocally, Indian troops will be based at their permanent location at Dhan Singh Thapa post near Finger 3 areas. Follow law of the land, India warns Twitter ‘Only 4 people running India’: Rahul slams govt over farm law PRESS TRUST OF INDIA RESTORING STATUS QUO Police personnel lathi charge DYFI and Congress activists during their march to Nabanna in Kolkata on Thursday. BISWAJIT GHOSHAL ricades, following which police began a baton-charge and also fired tear-gas shells. SNS/PTI See Page 3 He said India’s approach and strategy for negotiations with the Chinese side has been guided at the highest level by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve that India would not give an inch of territory. “Our tenacity and approach during the talks have yielded results,” he added. Mr Singh said the actions by the Chinese side since last year have seriously disturbed peace and tranquility and consequently impacted the overall relationship. He also praised the Indian armed forces for showing grit and resolve under extremely harsh conditions of Ladakh which has resulted in the agreement with the Chinese side. “Our nation will always remember the sacrifices made by our brace soldiers which has been the foundation of this disengagement at the Pangong Tso Lake,” he added. Rescue work halted as rivers Rishiganga, Dhauliganga swell RAJU GUSAIN DEHRADUN, 11 FEBRUARY A sudden rise in the water levels of the Rishiganga and Dhauliganga rivers, in the flash flood-affected area, caused panic among rescue workers and the local administration in Chamoli on Thursday. The rescue work was temporarily suspended for about one hour. Policemen and other workers deployed in the search and rescue work were asked to move to safer locations. The sound of sirens echoing in the valley created fear among those present on the site. Chamoli district magistrate Swati S Bhadauria said, “We have asked them to stop the work as a precaution.” The operation resumed again after one hour on Thursday afternoon. The “head race” tunnel at the Tapovan hydel project site where 30-35 workers have been trapped since 7 February, remains the focal point of rescue operations. The rescuers are using multiple strategies at the operation site. They started drilling operations at 2 a.m. on Thursday to peep into the slush-flushing tunnel 12 to 13 metres below. This was executed from the tunnel from where rescue teams are presently taking out slush and debris. Till Wednesday, about 120 metres of slush from the mouth of the tunnel was cleared and those trapped Chinook helicopters being used for ferrying heavy machinery in flood-hit area inside were stated to be located somewhere at 180 metres. The continuous flow of slush and silt remains a major obstacle between the rescuers and those trapped inside. Hours before the sudden rise in the water, rescuers had also begun an operation to drill through the debris from the mouth of the river to get life-saving devices to the trapped workers. The search and rescue teams have recovered 35 bodies so far, while 169 people remain missing since the flash flood caused havoc in the valley on 7 February. The IAF’s Chinook helicopters were used for the first time in the operation on Thursday. The aircraft was used for transporting men, material & heavy loads to help in the rescue operations. Fourteen passengers and 1,400 kg load was carried for NDRF and SDRF. Three tons of load and staff of the Border Road organisation was moved to forward locations. (With PTI inputs) 12,923 fresh cases, 108 deaths Domestic airfares to turn 10-30 pc dearer SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 11 FEBRUARY India’s Covid-19 tally has reached 1,08,71,294 with 12,923 fresh cases reported in a day, while the death toll due to the disease has gone up to 1,55,360 with 108 more fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry. The number of people who have recovered from the disease has reached 1,05,73,372, which translates to a national Covid-19 recovery rate of 97.26 per cent, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.43 per cent, according to the data updated at 8 a.m. The country currently has 1,42,562 active Covid19 cases. Among the states, Kerala is in the worst shape, adding 5,281 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, taking its total caseload to 9.88 lakh, while the active case count is 63,915. Meanwhile, the cumulative number of beneficiaries vaccinated against the coronavirus stands at 74,30,866 as of Thursday 7 p.m, according to the health ministry. Bengal: Bengal today registered 217 fresh Covid19 cases and 5 deaths linked to the disease, taking the state’s Covid case count to 5,72,032 and toll to 10,225. With 286 patients discharged from hospitals, the state now has just 4,313 active cases. Kolkata recorded new 65 cases with 3 deaths. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 11 FEBRUARY 1,08,71,294 1,42,562 12,923 11,764 1,55,360 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2021 Passengers will have to shell out more money for air travel from now as the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday increased the lower and upper limits on domestic airfares by 10 to 30 per cent. These new limits would remain “in force up to 31 March, 2021, or until further orders”, the Ministry said its order on Thursday. While announcing the resumption of scheduled domestic flights on 21 May last year, the Ministry had placed limits on airfares through seven bands classified on the basis of flight duration. The first such band consists of flights that are of less than 40 minutes duration. The lower limit for the first band was CMYK SCORCHING PRICES DURATION <40 mins 40-60 mins 60-90 mins 90-120 mins 120-150 mins 150-180 mins 180-210 mins LOWER LIMIT Rs 2,200 Rs 2,800 Rs 3,300 Rs 3,900 Rs 5,000 Rs 6,100 Rs 7,200 increased on Thursday from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,200. The upper limit in this band was set at Rs 7,800, which was Rs 6,000 earlier. The subsequent bands are for flights with durations of 40-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, 90-120 minutes, 120-150 minutes, 150-180 minutes and 180-210 minutes. The fresh lower and upper limits set by the Ministry for UPPER LIMIT Rs 7,800 Rs 9,800 Rs 11,700 Rs 13,00 Rs 16,900 Rs 20,400 Rs 24,200 these bands on Thursday were: Rs 2,800 - Rs 9,800; Rs 3,300Rs 11,700; Rs 3,900-Rs 13,000; Rs 5,000-Rs 16,900; Rs 6,100Rs 20,400; Rs 7,200-Rs 24,200, respectively. Till date, the lower and upper limits for these bands were: Rs 2,500 - Rs 7,500; Rs 3,000 - Rs 9,000; Rs 3,500 - Rs 10,000; Rs 4,500 - Rs 13,000; Rs 5,500 - Rs 15,700 and Rs 6,500 -Rs 18,600, respectively. Aviation regulator DGCA had said on 21 May last year that each airline would sell at least 40 per cent of its tickets on a flight at prices less than the midpoint between the lower limit and upper limit. Airlines permitted to fly 80 per cent of pre-Covid flights: The cap on the number of domestic flights that Indian airlines are permitted to operate will remain at 80 per cent of their pre-Covid levels till March 31 or till the summer schedule begins, said the Civil Aviation Ministry. The Ministry had set the 80 per cent limit on 3 December, 2020. The Ministry had resumed domestic passenger services from 25 May, 2020, after a gap of two months due to coronavirus lockdown.
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