SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 07 MARCH 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 PAKISTAN PM WINS TRUST VOTE MARXIST WITHOUT DOGMA P6 P11 P7 Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 36 °C and 22 °C respectively. RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 84 % TEMPERATURE Max: 36.0°C (4) SUN RISES 05:53 hrs MOON RISES 01:04 hrs New moon on 13 Min. 28 % Min: 21.7°C (1) SUN SETS 17:43 hrs MOON SETS 12:00 hrs March Former protest-site set for keenest electoral battle STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 6 MARCH THUMBNAILS Bowler Axar Patel (right) celebrates with teammates the dismissal of England batsman Ben Foakes during the third day of the 4th and last cricket Test match, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday, as India thrashed England to set up a World Test Championship final with New Zealand. AGENCIES (Match report on Page 12) Farmers block a highway along Delhi-Haryana border to mark 100 days of their ongoing protests against Centre’s new agri laws. (P5) AIADMK seals poll pact with BJP: The ruling AIADMK has allotted 20 Assembly constituencies and the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat to its ally BJP for the 6 April Assembly elections, after several rounds of negotiations. Following up with the release of its first list of six candidates for the polls on Friday, the AIADMK firmed up the electoral agreement with the Saffron party late Friday. The pact was signed by O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami from the ruling party side and BJP’s national general secretary, C T P4 Ravi and state unit chief L Murugan. 415 companies Central forces for WB 1st phase: Voters of five districts of south Bengal will exercise their right to franchise across 10,288 polling booths in the first phase of elections on 27 March in the presence of 495 companies of central forces. In Purulia there are 3,127 polling booths, Jhargram has 1,307 booths, Bankura 1,338 booths, East Midnapore 2,437 booths and West Midnapore 2,089 booths. Voters will be able to cast their votes from 7 a.m. to 6.30 pm. The Election Commission has decided to deploy a total of 495 companies of CAPF in the first phase of elections.P3 Active caseload on rise again SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 6 MARCH India’s Covid-19 tally rose to 1,11,92,088 with over 18,000 fresh cases being reported in a span of 24 hours in the country after 36 days, while active cases registered an increase for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday and were recorded at 1,80,304, according to the Union Health Ministry. The death toll reached 1,57,656 with 108 more fatalities, while a total of 18,327 new cases were registered in a day, the ministry’s data showed. On 29 January, 18,855 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours after which the daily rise in fresh cases remained below 18,000. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,08,54,128 which Customs dept summons Kerala Assembly Speaker STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 6 MARCH The Customs department, probing the Kerala gold and dollar smuggling case, has issued a notice to Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan asking him to appear before it on 12 March in connection with the dollar smuggling case. The development came close on the heels of the Customs informing the Kerala High Court that the prime accused in the case, Swapna Suresh, has stated that the smuggling of the US currency was done at the instance of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan with the P12 Mamata to take on Suvendu in Nandigram fight WINNING WAYS WEATHER DANANJAYA LEADS SPINNERS’ DRIVE FOR T20 VICTORY BUS THAT BHANDARI AND OLI MISSED help of the UAE Consul General Sumit Kumar, Commissioner of Customs (preventive), Kochi, in an affidavit filed before the Kerala High Court. In January 2021, the Customs has recorded the statements of Sreeramakrishnan’s assistant private secretary in connection with the probe into the alleged smuggling of US currency totalling $1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) by a former finance head of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to Muscat. Separately, the Customs also issued a summons to Vinodini Balakrishnan, wife of former CPI-M Kerala secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan for using an iPhone purchased by Unitac owner Santhosh Eapen. translates to a national Covid-19 recovery rate of 96.98 per cent, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.41 per cent. The Covid-19 active caseload has increased to 1,80,304 which now comprises 1.61 per cent of the total infections. Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have reported a high number of Covid19 daily new cases, cumulatively accounting for 82 per cent of the new cases reported in a span of 24 hours, the Ministry said. Two Covid deaths in Bengal: West Bengal today registered 259 fresh Covid cases and 2 deaths due to the virus. The total Covid case count is 5,76,435 and death toll is 10,277 in the state till now while there are 3,213 active cases. Kolkata recorded 83 cases. ‘Speed up vaccination’ 1,11,92,088 1,80,304 18,327 14,234 1,57,656 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 06 MARCH 2021 In the last 24 hours, 270 patients were discharged from hospitals. NEW DELHI, 6 MARCH The Centre has asked states and UTs witnessing surge in new Covid19 cases to continue with the strategy of “test, track and treat” that had yielded rich dividends at the height of the pandemic and accelerate vaccination for priority population. Expressing particular concern over the surge in Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, the Centre asked the state to not let its guard down, while asserting that the surge could be due to lack of fear of the disease among people and pandemic fatigue. PTI West Bengal chief minister and Trinamul Congress party chief Mamata Banerjee will be taking on former aide Suvendu Adhikari in what will be the most closely-watched electoral battle of the state Assembly elections, with the BJP deciding to field Mr Adhikari from his home turf of Nandigram. The BJP on Saturday released its first list of 57 candidates for the Bengal Assembly elections, naming Mr Adhikari as its candidate from Nandigram, from where Miss Banerjee has already announced her candidature. Former Indian cricketer Ashoke Dinda and ex-IPS officer Bharati Ghosh are among the BJP candidates, party general secretary Arun Singh told a Press conference in New Delhi, adding that it has conceded one seat to ally AJSU. With this, the party has announced candidates for all but three of the 60 seats which will go to polls in the first two phases of the eight-phase elections to be held between 27 March and 29 April. The announcement comes amidst considerable unrest among the sitting MLAs of the Trinamul Congress whose names did not figure in the party’s list of candidates made public yesterday. Several of the dropped MLAs are said to have made a beeline for the residence SC to start hybrid-physical hearings from 15 Mar PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 6 MARCH The Supreme Court, which is hearing cases through videoconferencing since March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will commence hybrid physical hearing from 15 March. The apex court has issued the standard operating procedure (SOP) for such hearings. The top court has been hearing cases through videoconferencing since March last year due to the pandemic and several bar bodies and lawyers have been demanding that physical hearings should resume immediately. “On an experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, the final hearings/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays On experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, the final hearings/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays may be heard in the hybrid mode, to be decided by the bench, considering the number of parties as well as the limited capacity of the courtrooms; all other matters, those listed on Mondays and Fridays, shall continue to be heard through video conferencing and Thursdays may be heard in the hybrid mode, as may be decided by the bench, considering the number of parties in a matter as well as the limited capacity of the courtrooms; all other matters, including those listed on Mondays and Fridays, shall continue to be heard through video/tele-conferencing mode,” said the SOP issued by the apex court. It said unless otherwise directed by a bench, the final hearings or regular matters where the number of lawyers for the parties is higher than the average working capacity of the courtrooms according to Covid-19 norms, that is 20 per courtroom at any given time, shall invariably be listed for hearing through the video or tele-conferencing mode. It said if the number of parties is higher than the specified number in a matter listed for hybrid hearing, then one advocate-on-record (AOR) and one arguing counsel per party would be allowed entry. “In any such matter as may be listed for hybrid hearing, all the counsels appearing for one party can appear either through physical presence or through video/teleconferencing,” it said. The SOP said AORs may submit their preferences for appearing before the court either physically or through the video or tele-conferencing mode within 24 hours or by 1 p.m. the next day after the publication of the weekly list of final hearings or regular matters. “If the advocate-on-record for a party does not opt for either physical or video/teleconferencing modes, it shall be presumed that counsels for the party seek to appear through video/tele-conferencing and will be facilitated accordingly,” it said. The BJP released its first list of 57 candidates for the Assembly elections. Former Indian cricketer Ashoke Dinda and ex-IPS officer Bharati Ghosh are among the party’s candidates of former Trinamul leader and current BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy, or communicated with him over the phone, apparently in hopes of securing tickets from the saffron party. Miss Banerjee’s trusted lieutenant, Sonali Guha, the sitting MLA from Santgachhia, was among them, and told reporters that she had “fruitful discussions” with Mr Roy. She indicated that she might join the BJP during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally on Sunday at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade ground. “I told him that it is not necessary to make me a candidate but I want to take part in campaigning for the BJP Ms ,” Guha told news persons. Another of Miss Banerjee’s erstwhile trusted aides, former TMC MP Dinesh Trivedi, formally joined the BJP in New Delhi on Saturday, accusing Miss Banerjee of abandoning her principles and alleging that people of the poll-bound state are distressed with “violence and corruption” under her government. Nandigram, the site of protests against the Left government which had ignited a popular upsurge and catapulted the TMC to power in 2011, is set for one of the keenest electoral battles in the state with Miss Banerjee taking on her former protegee and now BJP leader Mr Adhikari. Mr Adhikari had won from the seat in 2016 and resigned recently before crossing over to the saffron party. The Adhikari family, headed by sitting Trinamul MP Sisir Adhikari and comprising sons Suvendu, Dibyendu and Soumendu hold considerable sway in East Midnapore district. Miss Banerjee yesterday announced her candidature from the seat while giving up her traditional constituency of Bhowanipore in Kolkata. More on Pages 2,3 US defence secretary likely to visit India STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 6 MARCH US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin is expected to visit India later this month in what could be the first trip to New Delhi by a top representative of the new Joe Biden administration. His visit will be part of the American leader’s larger trip to countries in the Indo-Pacific region, sources said. During his India visit, Llyod is likely to hold wide-ranging talks with Defence minister Rajnath Singh and also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat and the three services chiefs are also likely to meet the visiting dignitary. The two defence ministers had held a telephonic conversation in January soon after Austin was named as the Secretary of Defence with the focus on the Indo-Pacific region. The proposed visit is being seen as an important sign of how the two countries propose to take forward their relationship under the new administration in US. The visit is expected to take place at a time when the stage is being set for the first summit-level meeting of the ‘Quad’ countries: India, Japan, Australia and US. The virtual meet will be attended by US President Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga and Modi. Heavy rains, thaw freeze could have led to U’khand tragedy Myanmar asks India to return BEHIND THE MISHAP 8 policemen who fled after coup SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 6 MARCH Heavy precipitation in the Chamoli region from February 4-6 and an overall rise in temperature in Uttarakhand in last four decades could have led to the rock collapse which triggered the deadly flash floods in the state last month, according to a study by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. The report by Kathmandubased ICIMOD, which was released on Friday, found that a crack had formed prior to the incident at the site where the rock detachment led to a rockslide from the Raunti peak. The rockslide brought along with it mounds of earth and snow which could have triggered the flash floods. The report by Kathmandu-based ICIMOD found that a crack had formed prior to the incident at the site where the rock detachment led to a rockslide from the Raunti peak. The resulting destabilisation of the rock due to the lack of ice cover (glacial debuttressing, stress-release fracturing) an increased freeze thaw cycle, in combination with a large snowfall event preceding the event of 7 February With a straight slide line of 1.6 km, the kinetic energy during the fall generated enough heat to melt the ice. As the debris moved downstream in the Rishiganga river, it pushed running river water ahead of it, including water from small ponding structures along the river path. So far 72 bodies and 30 human body parts have been recovered from different places in the avalanche-hit areas, out of which 41 bodies have been identified. As many as 132 persons are still missing. The ICIMOD is a regional organisation that works on different aspects in the Himalayan-Hindukush region. At the same headwall of the Raunthi peak, a large ice avalanche was previously released somewhere between 19 September and 9 October 2016, which deposited ice and more bedrock in the valley below, the report states. The resulting destabilisation of the rock due to the lack of ice cover (glacial debuttressing, stress-release fracturing), and increased exposure to solar radiation and hence an increased freeze thaw cycle, in combination with a large snowfall event preceding the event of 7 February, 2021 and rapid melt water production, may have favoured the fracturing of rock, the report states. This can, however, not explain the depth of the fracture (150 metres), which must have evolved over a longer period of time, the report states. The ICIMOD report further states that a strong western disturbance passed across Kashmir and northwest India from 4-6 February. It was fully charged with convective instability that may have contributed to the heavy precipitation. The Uttarakhand tragedy occurred on 7 February. The temperatures are also rising in Uttarakhand, the report states, saying maximum temperature in the Chamoli area has increased at the rate of 0.032 degrees Celsius per year between 1980 and 2018. January 2021 was the warmest January on record in Uttarakhand for six decades. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA AIZAWL, 6 MARCH Myanmar has requested the administration in Mizoram to send back eight policemen, who have apparently crossed over to the Indian state to take refuge following last month’s military coup in the neighbouring country, an official here said. Mizoram shares a 510km-long porous border with Myanmar, where mass demonstrations are going on against the declaration of a year-long emergency by the country’s armed forces. At least 16 people from Myanmar are said to have crossed over into Mizoram over the last few days in the wake of the coup, among whom 11 claimed they were police personnel. According to Maria CT Zuali, the deputy commissioner in Champai district, her counterpart in Myanmar’s Falam has sought the “handover of eight police personnel who fled the neighbouring country and entered India” as a “friendly gesture”. Falam district deputy commissioner Saw Htun Win, in a letter to Zuali, said that eight police personnel from Myanmar have escaped to India. “In order to uphold friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries, you are kindly requested to detain eight Myanmar police personnel who had arrived in Indian territories and hand over to Myanmar,” the letter undersigned by Falam district deputy commissioner Saw Htun Win stated. A top official of the state’s home department had said that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has been apprised of the developments, and the state government is waiting for a “direction” from the Centre. Sources in the Assam Rifles, which guards the MizoramMyanmar border, said about 35 Myanmarese have sneaked into the state so far. Assam Rifles DIG Brigadier Digvijay Singh said security has been stepped up along the border to stop infiltration from the trouble-torn country. Protests in Myanmar -P11
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.