WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 31 MARCH 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR MY CONSCIENCE IS CLEAR: MISTRY ON APEX COURT RULING ‘LDF GOVT BETRAYED KERALITES JUST AS JUDAS DID TO JESUS’ P4 JOHNSON CALLS FOR NEW GLOBAL TREATY TO FIGHT PANDEMICS SMITH GAME FOR ANOTHER BITE AT THE CHERRY P12 P10 P8 Campaign ends for high-voltage ‘khela’ v WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Strong dust raising winds during the day. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 36 and 18 degrees Celsius respectively. All eyes set on Nandigram where Mamata Banerjee takes on her protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari LOOKING BACK Campaigning ends in Assam for 2nd phase RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 82% Min: 17% TEMPERATURE Max: 37.9°C (+6) SUN RISES 06:11 hrs MOON RISES 21:40 hrs Min: 19.0°C (+1) SUN SETS 18:38 hrs MOON SETS 08:45 hrs THUMBNAILS GUWAHATI, 30 MARCH West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a rally on the last day of the campaign for the 2nd phase of Assembly elections, in Nandigram on Tuesday. AGENCIES Union Home Minister Amit Shah during an election campaign roadshow in support of BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram constituency. AGENCIES SNS & PTI support of Adhikari in Nandigram during the day, while Banerjee, who is confined to a wheelchair following her injury which she had sustained while campaigning in the constituency, crisscrossed it addressing rallies at several venues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda had led BJP's campaign from the front addressing rallies at Kanthi and Nandigram and urging the electorate to vote for the saffron party to usher in ‘ashol poriborton’ (actual change) to build ‘Sonar Bangla’ (prosperous Bengal). Modi in his rallies had attacked the TMC government and Banerjee, accusing her of “appeasement politics” and asserting that “khela shesh hobe” (game will be over). Other star campaign- KOLKATA, 30 MARCH A A flock of flamingos at a creek in Navi AGENCIES Mumbai. Sensex, Nifty rally to 2-week highs: Benchmark w Sensex rallied by 1,128 points, its biggest single-day gain in nearly two months, to close at a two-week high on Tuesday as financials, IT and energy stocks advanced amid positive global cues. Extending its gains to the second consecutive session, the 30-share BSE index ended 1,128.08 points higher at 50,136.58. P8 Sharad Pawar hospitalised: NCP chief Sharad Pawar was on Tuesday admitted to a hospital in Mumbai, a day ahead of the scheduled surgery after he experienced pain in his abdomen, a party leader said. Pawar will undergo surgery at the hospital after it was diagnosed that he has a gall bladder issue. ll eyes are on battleground Nandigram, where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has locked horns with her protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari. The campaigning in the constituency, which will go to the polls on April 1, ended at 5 p.m. today. The stage is all set for the voting in 30 constituencies spread across four districts on April 1. The fate of 171 candidates will be decided in the second phase by 75,94,549 voters who will exercise their franchise in 10,620 polling booths spread across the 30 constituencies, the Election Commission sources said. All the booths where polling will be held in the second phase have been declared as “sensitive” by the EC, sources in it said. It will deploy total 651 companies of Central Armed Police for this phase of election which will be held in Bankura (Part II), Purba Medinipur (Part II), Paschim Medinipur (Part II) and South 24 Parganas (Part I), they said. A total of 199 companies of CAPF will be deployed in Purba Medinipur, 210 companies in Paschim Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas and 72 in Bankura, the sources said. The final day of the campaigning saw hectic canvassing for the Nandigram seat in Purba Medinipur district where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is facing BJP leader and her former follower Suvendu Adhikari. Union Home Minister Amit Shah held roadshows with Bengal's megastar Mithun Chakraborty in ers of the BJP stressed on various scams of the ruling Trinamool Congress - from the Saradha and Narada tape scam to the recent allegations over the siphoning of funds for Amphan relief and the Covid-19 pandemic. They highlighted the achievements of the BJPled government at the Centre in their rallies and blamed the TMC government for not allowing schemes like the Ayushman Bharat, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi to be implemented in the state, where the BJP leaders claimed corruption and anarchy are prevalent. Banerjee, who has chosen to contest from Nandigram instead of from her home seat Bhowanipore in the city, stayed put there and campaigned from her wheelchair. The feisty politician held Virus situation turning from bad to worse: Centre SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 30 MARCH The coronavirus situation is “turning from bad to worse” and is a huge cause of worry especially for some states, the Centre said on Tuesday while stressing that the whole country is at risk and nobody should be complacent. It said eight of the top 10 Covid-19 high-burden districts of the country are from Maharashtra and that Delhi, taken as one district, is also on the list. At a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the 10 districts with maximum active Covid19 cases are Pune (59,475), Mumbai (46,248), Nagpur (45,322), Thane (35,264), Nashik (26,553), Aurangabad (21,282), Bengaluru Urban (16,259), Nanded (15,171), Delhi (8,032), Ahmednagar (7,952). Though technically speaking, Delhi has many districts, but it has been taken as one district, he said. NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said, “Covid19 situation is turning from bad to worse. In last few weeks, especially in some states, it is a huge cause for worry. No state, no part of the country or district should be complacent.” “We are facing an increasingly severe and intense situation, more so surely in some districts. But the whole country is potentially at risk and therefore all efforts to contain and save lives should be taken. “Hospital and ICU preparations have to be readied. If the cases increase rapidly, the healthcare system would be overwhelmed, Paul said. There is a need to significantly and exponentially increase the number of Covid19 tests. The proportion of RTPCR tests need to be increased too, Bhushan said. “On Saturday, we held meeting with these states and also spoke to 47 districts. We requested them to increase the number of tests with a special focus on RT-PCR tests,” he said. On variants of the virus, the health secretary said 10 laboratories have done genome sequencing of 11064 samples since December of which the UK variant was detected in 807 samples, South African variant in 47 and Brazilian variant in one. A total of 6,11,13,354 Covid19 vaccine doses have been 56,211 cases in a single day SNS & PTI 1,20,95,855 5,40,720 56,211 37,028 1,62,114 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 30 MARCH 2021 administered till 10 a.m. Bhushan also said that 48.39 per cent, Telangana tops the list of states with the highest Covid-19 vaccine doses given in private facilities. Delhi came second with 43.11 per cent. From April 1, people above the age of 45 years would be eligible for vaccination. NEW DELHI, 30 MARCH India's Covid-19 tally climbed to 1,20,95,855 with 56,211 more people testing positive for the infection in a span of 24 hours, while 271 more fatalities pushed death toll to 1,62,114, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Tuesday. Registering a steady increase for the 20th day in row, active cases have increased to 5,40,720 comprising 4.47per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 94.19 per cent. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,13,93,021, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.34 per cent, the data stated. India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20 lakh-mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and50 lakh on September 16. It went past60 lakh on Sep- tember 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one crore-mark on December 19. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 24,26,50,025 samples have been tested up to March 29 with7,85,864 samples being tested on Monday. Some experts said that the low count of daily cases could be because of lower testing on account of Holi on Monday. The number of samples tested on Sunday were 9,13,319, according to the ICMR. Delhi’s positivity rate stands at 2.70 pc: Delhi today reported 992 new coronavirus infections with a positivity rate of 2.70 per cent, even as 4 more people succumbed to the pathogen in the city, according to the latest health bulletin issued by the Delhi (SEE P 2) government. The fate of 171 candidates will be decided in the second phase by 75,94,549 voters who will exercise their franchise in 10,620 polling booths spread across 30 constituencies All the booths where polling will be held in the second phase have been declared as “sensitive” by the EC It will deploy total 651 companies of Central Armed Police for this phase two back-to-back rallies in Paschim Medinipur despite the early summer heat urging people to vote for TMC so that the development work taken up there by the government continued. Banerjee, who was accompanied by TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee attacked the Adhikary family, calling them “gaddars” (traitors) and “Mir Jafars” and asked people not to vote for them. “Bangla wants her own daughter (Mamata). So vote for her,” Abhishek Banerjee urged in his meetings. Pak President, minister latest victims of Covid after PM PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 30 MARCH Aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday told airports to increase surveillance to ensure Covid-19 norms are followed and consider imposing spot fines, with the help of police authorities, on passengers who are found not wearing masks properly and not maintaining social distancing. On March 13, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked airports and airlines to ensure that passengers wear mask and maintain social distance at all times during air travel, and take action against those violating the norms. In a circular issued on Tuesday, the regulator said, “During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance (of Covid-19 protocols) is not satisfactory.” “All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on Covid-19 protocol from the standpoint of wearing face mask properly, covering nose and mouth, as well as maintaining social distance norms within the airport premises are followed scrupulously,” it said. Accordingly, all airport operators can increase surveillance in this regard, the DGCA said. “The possibility of taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines in accordance with the law, shall also be explored with local police authorities so as to serve a deterrent for violation of Covid-19 proto- NEW DELHI, 30 MARCH Pakistan’s top leadership has been hit by the coronavirus with President Dr Arif Alvi (in photo) and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak contracting it, days after Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife tested positive for the disease which is now raging in the country. On Monday, President Alvi tweeted that he had tested positive for the virus.“I have tested positive for Covid-19. May Allah have mercy on all Covidaffected. Had the first dose of the vaccine but antibodies started developing after the second dose that was due in a week. Please continue to be careful,” the president said. First Lady Samina Alvi tested negative for Covid-19 and was quarantining. She said the president has “mild symptoms but is in good spirits”. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail tweeted that Defence Minister Khattak, 71, had also tested positive for the virus. “Perwaiz Khatak is diagnosed with Covid positive. Get well soon PK,” wrote Ismail, who Amid attempts by key Gulf nations to bring India and Pakistan to the negotiating table, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the people of his country desired peaceful cooperative relations with all countries, including India. “We are convinced that durable peace in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all issues between India and Pakistan, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said in the letter sent in response to the message received by him from Modi last week on the occasion of ‘Pakistan Day’. Khan is believed to have stated that the creation of an enabling environment was imperative for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue between the two countries. He also conveyed to Modi his best wishes for the people of India in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter sent on 22 March, Modi had stated that India desired “cordial relations” with Pakistan in an environment “devoid of terror”. The exchange of letters between the two Prime Ministers follows efforts being made by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to bring down the temperature between the two South Asian neighbours and persuade them to resume the stalled dialogue after more than two years of heightened tensions in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot airstrikes. But in February, the two countries agreed to abide by the 2003 ceasefire agreement at the LoC in letter and spirit. They also last week concluded water-sharing talks in New Delhi on a positive note. However, the much-anticipated meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the 'Heart of Asia' conference on Afghanistan in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe did not fructify today. SNS SUMMER SCHEDULE DGCA on Tuesday said it has approved 18,843 flights per week from 108 airports for the summer schedule, which begins on the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Sunday of October Out of these 108 airports, Bareilly, Bilaspur, Kurnool and Rupasi are the new airports proposed by the scheduled airlines col,” it stated. The March 13 circular had asked the airport operators to hand over the passengers, who are not following the Covid-19 protocol even after repeated warnings, to the security agencies. Moreover, it had asked the Pak desires peace: Imran writes to Modi ISLAMABAD, 30 MARCH himself contracted and recovered from the virus last year. Prime Minister Khan, 68, tested positive for the virus on March 20. His wife Bushra Bibi also tested coronavirus positive the same day. Both were now self-isolating. Meanwhile, former finance minister Hafeez Shaikh was tested positive for Covid-19, it emerged on Tuesday. Shaikh, who was dropped from the Cabinet on Monday by Prime Minister Khan, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The news was tweeted by Shaikh's successor Hammad Azhar. “Just found out that Dr Hafeez Shaikh has tested positive for Covid-19. I pray for his swift recovery and good health. Ameen,” Azhar tweeted. Consider imposing fines for not wearing masks properly: DGCA to airports PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Campaigning for second phase polling of Assam legislative Assembly elections, scheduled for 1 April, came to end this evening. 345 candidates including 26 women are in fray for 39 Assembly constituencies. The election authority has banned any kind of poll rallies, processions, display of election matters by means of cinematograph or similar apparatus after the prescribed time. It also prohibits propagation of any election matter to the public by holding musical concerts, theatrical performances or other entertainment program to attract the public in any polling area 48 hours prior to voting. Within this period, no result of exit or opinion polls should be published, publicised or disseminated in any manner by print, electronic or other media platforms. Details on Pg 5 IndiGo's 8,749 weekly flights, SpiceJet's 2,854, GoAir's 1,747 flights, Air India's 1,683, Vistara's 1,288 and AirAsia India's 1,243 have been approved The number of flights for this year's summer schedule has been approved keeping in mind that airlines are permitted to operate not more than 80 per cent of their pre-Covid flights airlines to de-board the passengers who refused to adhere to Covid-19 norms even after repeated warnings, and consider treating them as “unruly”. An “unruly” passenger can be banned from flying by an airline for any period between three and 24 months, as per DGCA norms. Fifteen passengers, who were found violating Covid19 norms on domestic flights of three airlines between March 15 and March 23, might be banned for three months by carriers, senior officials of the DGCA had said last week. These 15 passengers included nine of IndiGo, four of Alliance Air and two of AirAsia India. While most of these passengers refused to wear masks onboard the flights, others refused to put on PPE gowns that are compulsory for those sitting in the middle seats.
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