CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 27 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 ‘TB, CORONAVIRUS EQUALLY CONTAGIOUS’ MCCONNELL SAYS WILL SUPPORT TRUMP IF HE WINS 2024 NOMINATION P10 WEATHER Mainly clear sky with fog/mist in the morning. Temperature most likely to be in the range of 35-22 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 98% TEMPERATURE P7 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE ‘Did Modi, Shah suggest poll dates?’: Mamata KOLKATA, 26 FEBRUARY THUMBNAILS Vehicles ply at Esplanade during Bharat Bandh called in protest against rising fuel prices, GST, E-Bill and others. In Kolkata on Friday. IANS Labour activist Naudeep Kaur granted bail: Around six weeks after her arrest in a criminal case filed under several charges including attempt to murder, labour rights activist Naudeep Kaur was on Friday granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Kaur was arrested in Sonipat for allegedly gheraoing an industrial unit and demanding money from a company on 12 January. Police had claimed that a team of cops was allegedly attacked with sticks, resulting in injuries to seven policemen P5 in the incident. Sensex posts worst day in 10 months: The BSE Sensex crashed about 1,940 points to post its biggest single-day fall in nearly 10 months and the NSE Nifty plunged over 568 points to crack below the psychological 15,000-mark on Friday, tracking global selloffs triggered by a panic in bond markets overseas. Investors also turned cautious ahead of the third quarter GDP data release and simmering tensions between US and Syria. At the day's close, 30-share BSE Sensex settled 3.80 per cent lower at 49,099.99 points, its worst one-day fall since May 2020. P8 ssembly elections in West Bengal will be held in eight phases starting from 27 March, the Election Commission announced today. The EC also announced Assembly election dates for three other states and one Union Territory, with elections in Assam to take place in three phases, and single-phase polling for Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry. The counting of votes for all the Assemblies would be held on 2 May. While polling in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry would be held on 6 April, Bengal will have its elections on 27 March, 1 April, 6 April, 10 April, 17 April, 22 April, 26 April, and 29 April. Assam will vote on 27 March, 1 April and 6 April, said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. Mr Arora said that considering the law and order situation in Bengal, the number of phases has been increased to eight for the A Questioning the eightphase Assembly elections in West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she suspects that poll dates were announced following suggestions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah. However, she ‘welcomed’ the decision of Election Commission (EC) and said with ‘due regards’, elections will be held as declared by chief election commissioner in eight phases. Addressing a Press conference here, she said, “But a question has been raised that though Bihar has 240 seats, poll was held in three phases only”. She pointed out that although Tamil Nadu has 234 Assembly seats, election will be held in a single phase. Kerala’s polling will also be concluded in a day. “I’m surprised to see the same schedule which was available at the BJP party office was declared by none other than the chief election commissioner, she said. SNS (See Page 3) state’s 294 Assembly segments from seven the last time. In total, 824 Assembly segments would go to the polls where 18.68 crore electors would exercise their franchise. Because of Covid-19, the EC has considerably increased the number of polling stations. There will be 1,01,916 polling stations in Bengal, 88,936 in Tamil Nadu, 40,771 in Kerala and 33,530 in Assam. Assembly terms are ending on 31 May in Assam, on 30 May in Bengal, 1 June in Kerala, 8 June in Tamil Nadu and on 24 May in Puducherry, the CEC said. Giving details of polling in Bengal, the CEC said in the first phase, polling would be held in 30 Assembly seats in Purulia (9AC), Bankura (4AC), Jhargam (4AC), West Midnapore (6AC) and East Midnapore (7AC). The second phase covers 30 Assembly constituencies in Bankura (8AC), West Midnapore (9AC), East Midnapore (9AC), and South 24-Parganas (4AC). The third phase covers 31 seats in Howrah (7AC), Hooghly (8 AC), South 24-Parganas (16 AC). In the fourth phase 5 districts will go for polling ~ Howrah (9 AC), Hooghly (10AC), South 24-Parganas (11 AC), Alipurduar (5 AC) and Cooch Behar (9AC). Fifth phase will cover six districts~North 24-Parganas (16AC), Nadia (8AC), East Burdwan (8AC), Darjeeling (5AC), Kalimpong (1AC), and Jalpaiguri (7AC). In the sixth phase, 43 seats would go for polling in North 24-Parganas (17AC) Nadia (9 AC), East Burdwan PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 26 FEBRUARY After contracting for two quarters in a row, the Indian economy entered the positive territory with a growth of 0.4 per cent in the October-December quarter, mainly due to good performance by farm, services and construction sectors, official data showed on Friday. Trade and hotel industry registered a contraction of 7.7 per cent during the third quarter this fiscal, as the sectors continued to ARCHANA PHULL SHIMLA, 26 FEBRUARY of the House) sat outside the Speaker’s gate in protest after the session was adjourned. They gheraoed the governor as also chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and speaker Vipin Singh Parmar and some other ministers, who had come out to see him off. The five MLAs were suspended for the entire Explosives-laden SUV found near Ambanis’ had been stolen The vehicle with explosives found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence in south Mumbai had been stolen last week, and a letter found inside said it was only a “glimpse” of things to come, police said on Friday. A Scorpio with gelatin sticks was found parked on Carmichael Road near ‘Antilia’, the multi-storey residence of Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, on Thursday evening. The registration number on the vehicle’s number plate was the same as that of an SUV in Ambani’s security detail, police had said. “The owner of the vehicle, Hiren Mansukh, visited the police commissioner’s office (8AC), and North Dinajpur (9 AC). The seventh phase covers 36 seats in Malda (6 AC), Murshidabad (11 AC), Economy enters positive phase with 0.4% growth GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q3 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 36.22 lakh crore, as against Rs 36.08 lakh crore in Q3 of 2019-20, showing a growth of 0.4 per cent. NATIONAL STATISTICAL OFFICE (NSO) suffer on account of coronavirus pandemic. According to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the farm sector recorded a growth of 3.9 per cent, and the manufacturing sector output grew by 1.6 per cent in the quarter under review. The construction sector advanced HP Cong MLAs ‘manhandle’ Guv MUMBAI, 26 FEBRUARY P12 Election Commission also announces Assembly election dates for Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 26 FEBRUARY Max: 35.1°C (4) Min: 21.3°C (1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:59 hrs 17:39 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 17:45 hrs 06:04 hrs Full moon on 27 February PRESS TRUST OF INDIA P5 AUBAMEYANG TO THE FORE AS GUNNERS BOOM Bengal braces for 8 phases of polling Min. 27% In an unprecedented unruly turn of events on the first day of the Budget session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, five Congress legislators, including leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri blocked the passage of Governor Bandaru Dattatraya, misbehaving with him and jostling his security staff outside the Speaker’s gate. The incident occurred when the Governor was leaving for the Raj Bhawan after his address to the House on the opening day of the Budget session. The Congress MLAs, who were agitated over the Governor reading only a few pages of his address in the House (laying the rest of it on the table SPECIAL CELL READY IN ARTHUR JAIL FOR NIRAV MODI in south Mumbai this afternoon after he saw visuals of the SUV found near Ambani’s house, which was similar to his vehicle,” a police official said. Mansukh, a resident of neighbouring Thane, said that he had parked the SUV near Airoli Mulund Bridge on 17 February after its steering got jammed while he was on his way to attend a family event. “The next day, when I went to get my car, it could not be found....following which I lodged a complaint at Vikhroli police station,” he said. A letter was also found in the SUV in Hindi but written in English alphabet and purportedly addressed to the Ambanis, saying , “this was only a ‘jhalak’ (glimpse) but the next time the ‘saaman’ (explosives) will be fully assembled.” session till 20 March. The Congress MLAs also stopped the Governor’s cavalcade, banging the bonnet of his car, raising loud slogans against the failure of the government to address the issues of price rise, unemployment, while criticising the farm Bills. It was a complete ruckus outside the Speaker’s gate for about 20 minutes as the Congress leaders did not budge. In that chaos, there was jostling involving the Parliamentary Affairs minister, Suresh Bhardwaj, Agnihotri and the Governor’s security staff. The Speaker, who had earlier adjourned the House till afternoon, later recalled the House in special circumstances and condemned the behaviour of the Congress MLAs. by 6.2 per cent, while electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services clocked a 7.3 per cent growth. The NSO said, “GDP at Constant (201112) Prices in Q3 of 202021 is estimated at Rs 36.22 lakh crore, as against Rs 36.08 lakh crore in Q3 of 2019-20, showing a growth of 0.4 per cent”. The GDP had expanded by 3.3 per cent in the corresponding period of 2019-20. In its second advance estimates of national accounts, the NSO has projected 8 per cent contraction in 202021, showing the pandemic impact. In its first advance estimates released in January, it had projected a contraction of 7.7 per cent for the current fiscal as against a growth of four per cent in 2019-20. “Real GDP or Gross Domestic Product at Constant (2011-12) Prices in the year 2020-21 is estimated to attain a level of Rs 134.09 lakh crore, as against the First Revised Estimate of GDP for the year 2019-20 of Rs 145.69 lakh crore, released on 29 January 2021. The growth in GDP during 2020-21 is estimated at (-) 8.0 per cent as compared to 4.0 per cent in 2019-20,” it stated. The economy shrunk by an unprecedented 24.4 per cent in the first quarter this fiscal following the pandemic lockdown. In the second quarter, the GDP declined 7.3 per cent. GRAND KICKOFF The second edition of Khelo India Winter games kickstarts at Gulmarg on Friday. SNS West Burdwan (9 AC), Kolkata South (4 ACs) and South Dinajpur (6 AC). The last phase will see polling in 35 constituencies in Malda (6AC), Murshidabad (11 AC), Birbhum (11 AC), and Kolkata North (7AC). India, China FMs to set up hotline for border problems ASHOK TUTEJA NEW DELHI, 26 FEBRUARY External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi have agreed to set up a hotline for timely communication in the wake of last year’s border crisis even as the Indian minister insisted that it was necessary for the two countries to disengage at all friction points in eastern Ladakh in order to achieve de-escalation of forces in the sector. In a statement this morning, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) gave details of the 75-minute telephonic conversation Mr Jaishankar had with Mr Wang last night. The marathon conversation between the two ministers took place on a day when India and Pakistan agreed to cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC). Mr Jaishankar discussed the situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh with Mr Wang and also issues related to overall India-China relations. He referred to his meeting with Mr Wang in September 2020 in Moscow at which the Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts by China to alter the status quo. External affairs minister S Jaishankar insisted in his discussion with his Chinese counterpart that it was necessary for the two countries to disengage at all friction points in eastern Ladakh in order to achieve de-escalation The Chinese minister noted that the Indian side had proposed ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests) as the approach to the ties. Mr Jaishankar noted that bilateral ties have been impacted severely over the last year, adding that the boundary question might take time to resolve but disturbance of peace and tranquility, including by violence, would inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship. Mr Jaishankar emphasised that both sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC. He said that once disengagement was completed at all friction points, the two sides could look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace . Rising graph of daily new Covid cases after brief fall STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 25 FEBRUARY Fresh Covid-19 cases are rising once again with the country reporting 16,577 cases in the last 24 hours taking the overall tally to 1,10,63,491 on Friday, the Union Health Ministry said. The situation continues to remain worrisome as the testing positivity rate has also been rising gradually, going up to 1.41 per cent. As per the ministry's data, there are 1,55,996 active cases at present after 12,179 patients were discharged in a day. Meanwhile, 120 more deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the overall toll to 1,56,825, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said. India had been recording less than 15,000 new infections daily with the toll not crossing the 200-mark over the last one month. Experts have raised a number of possibilities which could account for the change, ranging from lax attitude of people towards following Covid protocols to the likelihood of "mutations and new strains" causing the surge. Till now, 1,07,50,680 Covid patients have been discharged. The recovery rate has reduced to 97.17 per cent, a change of 0.8 per cent from the previous day. Meanwhile, the fatality rate remains 1.42 per cent. The ministry's data showed that 90 per cent of the new cases reported came from seven states including Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. West Bengal today registered 216 fresh Covid-19 cases, also following the trend of rising number of cases, and 3 deaths due to infection. The total Covid-19 case count is 5,74,716 with the death toll at 10,263. There are 3,343 active cases, with 223 patients being discharged from hospitals. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), meanwhile, extended the February Covid19 Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution to remain in force up to 31 March. States and Union Territories have also been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population so as to break the chain of transmission of the virus and to overcome the pandemic. See also Page 5 CMYK Senior citizens can register on-site and get Covid vaccine NEW DELHI, 26 FEBRUARY As India gears up to vaccinate people above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities against Covid-19 from 1 March, the Union Health Ministry on Friday said the facility of onsite registrations will be available so that eligible beneficiaries can walk into identified vaccination centres, get themselves registered and get inoculated. The beneficiaries will be able to self-register in advance by downloading the Co-WIN 2.0 portal and through other IT applications such as Arogya Setu etc which will list the government and private hospitals serving as Covid-19 vaccination centres (CVCs) with the date and time of the available schedules. The beneficiary would be able to choose the CVC of his/her choice and book an appointment for immunisation, the ministry said. Vaccination will be free of charge at the government vaccination centres. Those taking the vaccine at any designated/empanelled private health facility will have to pay a pre-fixed PTI charge, it said. 1,10,63,491 1,55,986 16,577 12,179 1,56,825 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2021
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