CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 02 APRIL 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 JOE BIDEN LETS TRUMP-ERA H-1B VISA BANS EXPIRE MISOGYNY IS ALIVE AND THRIVING P7 Hot, discomfort weather. Temperature likely to be in the range of 38-25 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P10 P5 P12 Bengal phase 2: Temperatures run high WEATHER Max.93% COMBAT TERRORISM, HAZLEWOOD HAS INTENSIFY TIES: EAM HAD ENOUGH TO BIMSTEC NATIONS OF BIO BUBBLES Min. 18% Max: 39.4°C (5) Min: 25.2°C (N) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:29 hrs 17:52 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 21:51 hrs 08:09 hrs Next moon quarter on 04 April THUMBNAILS A woman quenches her thirst on hot Thursday afternoon in the Capital. SUBRATA DUTTA EC bars A Raja from campaigning for 48 hours: The Election Commission on Thursday banned DMK leader A Raja from campaigning for 48 hours after finding him guilty of violating the model code of conduct by making alleged derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu CM. In its order, the poll panel reprimanded Raja and removed his name from the list of DMK's “star campaigners” and debarred him from campaigning for 48 hrs “with immediate effect”. P4 Pak rejects bid to import cotton from India: In a volte-face, Pakistan's Cabinet on Thursday rejected the recommendation of the Economic Coordination Committee to import cotton and sugar from India, with two senior ministers saying there can be no normalisation of ties with New Delhi until it reverses its decision in 2019 to revoke the special status of P9 Jammu and Kashmir. Kovind recovering well after bypass surgery: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said he is recovering well after his bypass surgery and thanked doctors and caregivers. The president said he was touched by messages from citizens and leaders from across the country and abroad wishing him speedy recovery. Overall voter turnout at 80.43 p.c till 5 p.m.; sporadic incidents of violence as TMC accuses BJP, Central forces of voter intimidation STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA/BANKURA/EAST & WEST MIDNAPORE/SOUTH 24 PARGANAS, 1 APRIL he phase 2 polling of Assembly elections in West Bengal recorded an overall voter turnout of 80.43 per cent till 5 p.m. amidst sporadic violence with the ruling Trinamul Congress accusing the BJP and Central forces of stopping polling agents and voters from entering polling booths. Trinamul traded allegations of booth capturing in Nandigram, where chief minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Election Commission over inaction to complaints filed by her party and threatened to move court over it as well as raised the issue to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar over phone. Tension erupted in Nandigram, where Miss Banerjee is locked in a high- stakes electoral battle with her former lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari, who has switched to the BJP , with Trinamul Congress accusing the BJP and the Central forces of stopping voters from casting their votes. Later in the afternoon, Miss Banerjee rode her wheelchair to the polling booth at Boyal primary school and seated herself outside the booth while the situation aggravated outside. Mr Sudip Jain, deputy Election Commissioner incharge of Bengal inquired about the Nandigram incident from Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab while special and micro observers spoke to Miss Banerjee at the booth. The Commission has also sought a detailed report from the district administration in connection to this incident. T POLLING POTBOILER CANDIDATES 10,620 POLLING STATIONS Election at Nandigram AC in East Midnapur on Thursday. VOTER TURNOUT TILL 5 PM. 82.92 81.23 79.65 78.02 80.79 per cent Bankura West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee arrives at a polling station in Boyal “There was disturbance between two groups following which tension had ensued. But re-enforcement of forces brought the situation under control,” said Mr Aftab. Till 5 p.m., Bankura recorded the highest voter turnout of 82.92 per cent followed by East Midnapore with 81.23 per cent while South 24 Parganas recorded a voter turnout of 79.65 per cent and West Midnapore saw a turnout of 78.02 per cent. In Nandigram 80.79 per cent voters cast their votes. “Polling was overall peaceful except a few stray incidents. Twenty eight people were arrested in connection to two incidents in Keshpur in West Midnapore,” said Mr Aftab adding that decision on re-poll would be taken after scrutiny tomorrow. Earlier, Mr Adhikari’s car was attacked, and stones were pelted while he was visiting booths in the constituency. Two separate stone-pelting incidents took place in Takapura and Satengabari in Nandigram. A BJP worker was found hanging at his home at Bhekutia in Nandigram, triggering tension in the Covid-19 vaccination for all people aged 45 years and above commenced from Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said. Morethan 6.5 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far to frontline workers, healthcare workers, those above 60 and for people aged above 45 with specified co-co-morbid conditions. The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated and vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2. The next phase of Covid- GST mop-up at record high of `1.23L cr in Mar NEW DELHI, 1 APRIL GST collections in March touched a record high of over Rs 1.23 lakh crore, a 27 per cent growth over the year-ago period, the Finance Ministry said on Thursday. “GST revenues crossed above Rs 1 lakh crore mark at a stretch for the last six months and a steep increasing trend over this period are clear indicators of rapid economic recovery post pandemic,” the Ministry said. Closer monitoring against fake-billing, deep data analytics , income tax and customs IT and effective tax administration have also contributed to increase in tax revenue.PTI Details on Page 8 19 vaccination commenced fromMarch 1for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. The ministry said so far vaccine doses have been administered to 82,60,293HCWs (1st dose), 52,50,704 HCWs (2nd dose),91,74,171 FLWs (1stdose) and 39,45,796 FLWs (2nd Dose), 78,36,667(1st dose) and 17,849 (2nd dose). As on Day-75 of the vacci- per cent South 24 Parganas per cent West Midnapore per cent Nandigram INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE Few sporadic incidents of violence in Chandipur, Nandigram, Keshpur, Ghatal and Chandrakona constituency. The deceased has been identified as Uday Sankar Dubey, a worker of IIT-Kharagpur and his family members lodged a complaint with the police stating that he committed suicide as some unidentified Trinamul workers had threatened him after he attended Mithun Chakraborty’s rally in the area. Soon after polling started it was reported that a TMC worker, identified as Uttam Dolui, was stabbed to death in the early hours today. SP of West Midnapore said that some unidentified miscreants killed a TMC worker with a sharp weapon last night in Dadpur. Eight have been arrested in connection with the murder. A BJP polling agent at booth number 173 in Keshpur was beaten up allegedly by TMC workers and was rushed to a hospital. BJP leader Tanmay Ghosh’s car was also vandalised. Bharti Ghosh, BJP candidate from Debra constituency, alleged that her polling agent was surrounded by TMC goons in Nowpara booth no 22 of Anchal-1 who were not letting him inside the booth. There are a few spo- radic incidents of violence in Chandipur, Nandigram, Keshpur, Ghatal and Chandrakona. Few media persons were attacked and their vehicles were damaged. In the Gosaba area of South 24 Parganas, clashes were reported between Trinamul and BJP supporters while in the Mahisadal seat, the Trinamul alleged BJP workers had stopped voters from going to the polling stations. An overall peaceful polling was witnessed in Bankura. In booth number 73 and 74 of Sonamukhi, trouble ensued after BJP polling agent was allegedly beaten up with sticks by Trinamul workers but police reached the spot bringing the situation under control. Polling in a few booths were stalled for few hours due to technical problems. A total of 87 VVPATS were replaced while 12 EVMs reported malfunctioning in the district. CPI-M delegation led by senior leader Rabin Deb complained to the EC against BJP and Trinamul workers for blocking voters from entering polling booths in Keshpur, Chandrakona and Ghatal. More reports on Page 3 Central force personnel during violence at Boyalgram during election at Nandigram AC in East Midnapur on Thursday. SAILENDRA MAL SOUMYADIP MULLICK NANDIGRAM, 1 APRIL Hundreds of people gathered on a field with sticks, rods, bricks and bamboos, ready for a battle~ such was the scenario in Boyal village in Nandigram where polling though began on a sombre note in the morning, turned bitter in the afternoon as TMC and BJP supporters clashed over allegations of rigging and booth capturing which could have well turned into a riot had large companies of CRPF not intervened at the right time. With deployment of about 2,200 CAPF personnel, Nandigram people who put up a fierce resistance in 2007 refusing to allow law enforcement personnel inside their territory, today felt safe as they began gathering outside the 355 polling booths when the clock struck 6:30 a.m. However, little did one know that morning doesn’t always show the day. Just as the overall polling process was going smooth except for some isolated incidents, Boyal- Dada Saheb Phalke award to Rajini NEW DELHI, 1 APRIL NEW DELHI, 1 APRIL India recorded 72,330 new cases in the last 24 hours, highest since October 2020, taking the total tally to 1,22,21,665 on Thursday. The active cases have now increased to 5,84,055 comprising 4.78 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 93.89 per cent. The death toll increased to 1,62,927 with 459 daily new fatalities. The number of people who have recovered from the disease surged to 1,14,74,683, while the case fatality rate stood at 1.33 per cent, the data stated. A total of 24,47,98,621 samples were Vaccination throughout April: Seeking to exponentially expand the countrywide anticoronavirus inoculation drive, the Centre has decided to keep all public and private sector Covid-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) operational throughout April, including on gazetted holidays. The vaccination exercise continues to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level, the Union Health Ministry highlighted. Bengal Covid-19 cases cross 1,000: West Bengal recorded a highest spike of 1,274 fresh Covid cases and 2 deaths today. The total Covid case count is 5,88,189 and death toll is 10,331 in the state till now while there are 6,513 active cases. Kolkata recorded 399 cases and one death in the SNS last 24 hours. tested for Covid-19 up to 31 March. Of these, 11,25,681 samples were tested on Wednesday, said the Indian Council of Medical Research. India fought through the first wave of infection six months ago and recorded a highest single-day spike of 93,617 cases on 16 September. The highest number of deaths recorded in a day were 1,169 on 15 September. Eight states~ Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh continue to report steep rise in daily new cases, the Health Ministry said. India today demanded a comprehensive and expertled mechanism to expeditiously investigate the origin of coronavirus, days after the WHO came out with a report on it that failed to meet expectations of the US, the UK and several other countries, which voiced concerns over the findings. U-turn: Centre rolls back cut in small saving rates RAKESH KUMAR NEW DELHI, 1 APRIL Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that the government is withdrawing the cut in small savings rates. The minister in a tweet said that interest rates of small savings schemes will continue to be the rates which existed in the last quarter. “Interest rates of small savings schemes of GoI shall continue to be at the rates which existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021, ie, rates that prevailed as of March 2021. Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn,” reads the tweet of Sitharaman. The government on 31 March announced a cut in interest rates on small savings schemes including NSC and PPF, by up to 1. 1 per cent for i village in Nandigram turned into a battlefield as villagers who are apparently divided on the basis of political preferences, mainly TMC and BJP, charged at each other. A furious mob gathered on the field outside booth no. 7 at Boyal Muktab Prathamik Vidyalay, shouting slogans of “Jai Sri Ram” and “Mamata Chor Hai”. With trouble on the verge of breaking out, Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee reached the spot and stormed into the polling booth, and installed herself inside for the next two hours. A huge contingent of CAPF arrived at the spot where the agitated villagers began raising a war cry. A section of villagers alleged that BJP booth agents chased their TMC counterparts out of the polling booth and began rigging. They accused Central forces of acting with bias by not taking any action despite receiving complaints. “We demand repolling in this booth” shouted a section of the villagers who belonged to the part STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE nation drive (31st March), 20,63,543 vaccine doses were given. Out of which, 17,94,166 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 39,484 sessions for 1st dose and 2,69,377 beneficiaries received 2nd dose of vaccine. NEW DELHI, 1 APRIL per cent East Midnapore of the village that is dominated by the minority. On the opposite side where the Hindu population is the majority strength, men women and kids ran towards the booth while calling out to the rest to join them. Between these two parts of the village stood a huge empty field that turned into an arena as both sides engaged in scuffle and fist fight, leaving the Central forces to call for more personnel to separate the two factions and prevent the breakout of a possible riot. Police too reached the spot but tension ran high as the mob kept increasing in strength. Mamata called Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and warned that a disaster is about to break out and Centre will have to take responsibility for this as Central forces failed to act, she alleged. Banerjee quickly wrote a complaint letter which she told the Press, will be deposited with the EC as an FIR. After two hours of heated exchanges and vile sloganeering, the CAPF was able to contain the situation while Election Commission general observer reached the spot and spoke to Mamata Banerjee, assuring her of taking necessary steps. However amidst all the action, what caught attention was, voters resuming to enter booths to cast votes even though the premises outside was still teeming with trouble. Nandigram witnessed 80.79% voter turn-out. Steep rise: India logs 72,330 new cases Those above-45 begin gettingCovid jabs SNS & PTI Sticks, rods and bricks: Forces prevent clashes in Nandigram 30 171 SEATS IN PHASE II Interest rates of small savings schemes of GoI shall continue to be at the rates which existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021, ie, rates that prevailed as of March 2021. Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn NIRMALA SITHARAMAN FINANCE MINISTER the first quarter of 2021-22 in line with falling fixed deposit rates of banks. It has reduced the interest rate on Public Provident Fund (PPF) by 0.7 per cent to 6.4 per cent, National Savings Certificate by 0.9 per cent to 5.9 per cent. The steepest fall of 1.1 per cent was effected in the oneyear term deposit, which was brought down to 4.4 per cent as compared to 5.5 per cent. The girl child savings scheme Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana was reduced to 6.9 as compared to 7.6 per cent. Interest rates for small savings schemes are notified on a quarterly basis. As it was restored, PPF and NSC will carry an annual interest rate of 7.1 per cent and 6.8 per cent, respectively. Similarly, the interest rate for the five-year senior citizens savings scheme would be retained at 7.4 per cent. The interest on the senior citizens’ scheme is paid quarterly. Interest rate on savings deposits to be restored at 4 per cent annually from the reduced rate of 3.5 per cent. Term deposits of one to five years will fetch interest rate in the range of 5.5-6.7 per cent, to be paid quarterly, while the interest rate on five-year recurring deposits will earn a higher interest of 5.8 per cent as against the reduced 5.3 per cent. Opp slams rollback: However, Sitharaman’s ‘oversight’ remark instantly drew flak from the Opposition. They alleged the government’s decision to roll back will last till the election is over in four states. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the small saving rates would be reduced soon after elections. “There was already a loot CMYK on petrol and diesel and soon after the end of the election, the small saving rates will be reduced and there will be a loot on the savings of the middleclass,” tweeted Gandhi. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “Really Nirmala Sitharaman ‘oversight’ in issuing the order to decrease interest rates on GOI schemes or election driven ‘hindsight’ in withdrawing it?” Saying that the Finance Minister’s action “does not fool anybody,” the CPI (M) politburo said “It is clear that due to the ongoing Assembly elections in five states this decision has been kept on hold.” “This is similar to the dictate imposed by the government on oil retailers to not hike the prices of petroleum products till the elections are over,” the party said. 1,22,21,665 5,84,055 72,330 40,382 1,62,927 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 01 APRIL 2021 Superstar Rajinikanth will be honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Thursday. The announcement comes days ahead of the 6 April Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu where the 70-year-old Rajinikanth resides and has a massive following among the people. Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Indian cinema’s highest honour for an artiste, for the year 2019, will be presented to Rajinikanth on 3 May. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Rajinikanth for his contribution to cinema while congratulating him. PTI Details on Page 5 Indian Army to be part of military drill in B’desh STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 1 APRIL An Indian Army contingent will participate in the multinational military exercise, “SHANTIR OGROSHENA 2021” (Front Runner of the Peace) to be hosted by Bangladesh from 4-12 April to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of the country's liberation. The Indian contingent will comprise 30 personnel, including officers, JCOs and Jawans of a Battalion from the DOGRA Regiment. Contingents of the Royal Bhutan Army and the Sri Lankan Army will also take part in the Contingents of the Royal Bhutan Army and the Sri Lankan Army will also take part in the exercise exercise, a Defence Ministry release said. The theme of the exercise is “Robust Peace-Keeping Operations”. Military observers from the US, UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore will also be in attendance throughout the exercise. The announcement comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh to participate in the Bangabandhu's anniversary functions.
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