CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 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 ‘DMK, CONG LEADERS INSULTS WOMEN’ CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE P6 Partly cloudy sky. Thundershower likely to occur towards evening. Temperature to be in range of 36-26 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P4 P7 P12 Covid 2nd wave may peak by mid-April WEATHER Max.90% GALLOPING KNIGHTS ARE ALL SET FOR A FRESH BEGINNING ‘PARAM BIR SHOULD HAVE SACKED WAZE’ Min. 34% Max: 35.9°C (1) Min: 26.9°C (2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:28 hrs 17:52 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 22:56 hrs 08:59 hrs Next moon quarter on 04 April THUMBNAILS Devotees offer prayers at Sacred Heart Cathedral Church on the occasion of 'Good Friday'. In Jalandhar. AGENCIES Three militants killed in Pulwama encounter: Three militants, including two who were involved in an attack on a BJP leader's house here, were killed in an encounter with security forces on Friday in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district, police said. The encounter took place early in the morning after security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Ghat Mohalla in the district's Kakapora area. During searches in the area in south Kashmir, the militants fired on the security forces, who P5 retaliated, and an encounter ensued. DMK slams Centre for 'income tax searches': The DMK on Friday condemned the Central government for 'searches' by income tax officials in the residence of party chief M K Stalin's daughter Senthamarai in Chennai and alleged it has a 'political objective.' Party general secretary, Duraimurugan said the Centre has made a 'wrong calculation' that raids just ahead of the election would shock Stalin and P4 also weaken poll preparations. EC orders repoll in one Assam polling booth As India logs 81,466 new cases in last 24 hours, experts predict following 15-20 April, infections may see steep decline by end of May India records highest single-day vaccine coverage SNS & PTI cientists have predicted using a mathematical model that the ongoing secondwave of Covid-19 pandemic across the country could peak by mid-April, following which the infections may see a steep decline by the end of May. During the first wave of Covid-19 infections across India, the mathematical approach, named SUTRA, predicted that the initial surge of infections in August would peak by September and lower in February 2021. Scientists, including Manindra Agrawal from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, applied the model to predict the trajectory of the current surge in infections and found that the number of daily new infections is likely to peak in mid-April for this ongoing pandemic wave. “For the last several days, we have found that there is a reasonable chance that the cases in India could peak sometime between 15-20 April. It is a sharp slope, but on the way down, it would likely be equally sharp, coming down very fast and by end of May may see a dramatic reduction,” Agrawal said. “There is some uncertainty in predicting the peak value of daily new cases because of the sharp rise. Currently, it is coming to 1 lakh infections per day, but this can go up or down. But the timing remains the same between 15-20 April ,” he added. The scientists predict that in the current wave, the first state to peak could be Punjab in a few days, followed by Maharashtra. S STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 APRIL A Trinamul Congress delegation on Friday complained to the Election Commission of partisan behaviour by Central police forces in favour of its rival, BJP which made a counter-complaint that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had violated the model code of conduct by being inside a polling booth in Nandigram for two hours on polling day. Sanjukta Morcha delegation meanwhile, complained that PM Modi’s visit to Bengal on days of the election is influencing voters and disturbing the peace in the respective constituencies going for polls. A high-level Trinamul Congress delegation, led by Yash- Modi accepts Biden’s invite for climate summit on 22 Apr STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 APRIL Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted US President Joe Biden’s invitation to attend the “Leaders' Summit on Climate” which the US leader will host virtually on 22-23 April, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi announced here today. At a media briefing here, the spokesperson said US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will travel to New Delhi from 5-8 April to discuss with Indian leaders the agenda of the summit as also the preparations under way for the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held later this year. During his visit, Kerry would DELHI, 2 APRIL UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 02 APRIL 2021 Delhi will not go into lockdown again, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday, following a meeting with top officials over a huge spike in coronavirus cases. “We are keeping a very close eye on the developments. The difference between the first few and the fourth wave is that lots are not getting treated in home quarantine itself. For the time being there is no plan to implement a lockdown. Should there be a need in future, we will discuss with the people and make a necessary decision. But as of now, no lockdown," he said. Kejriwal had called “urgent” meeting with the Health Minister and other officials on Thursday as the city reported 2,790 new coronavirus cases~ its highest daily figure this year ~ along with nine deaths amidst a spurt in Covid-19 infections in the country. However, Menon cautioned that such projections of Covid-19 cases should really be trusted only in the short term. “Any excessively precise prediction, of a peak within just a 5-day window, would ignore the many uncertainties associated with the inputs to any such calculation,” Menon, who was not involved in the SUTRA modelling, said. With 81,466 new Covid- 19 cases, India reported highest single-day spike in past six months and 469 related deaths in the last 24 hours even as the country recorded highest single day vaccine coverage with more than 36.7 lakh doses administered in a day, Union Health Ministry said. Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have been reporting a steep rise A health worker collects a nasal sample from a passenger for Covid-19 test. In New Delhi on Friday. AGENCIES Can’t rule out lockdown: Maha CM MUMBAI, 2 APRIL The possibility of a lockdown in Maharashtra can’t be ruled out if the surge in coronavirus cases continues, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday amidst a fresh Covid-19 wave in the state. “I cannot rule out imposing a lockdown if the current Covid-19 situation prevails. People have become complacent. We are in a Catch 22 situation~ should we look at economy or health?” he said. However, the IIT Kanpur professor added that the model’s prediction of the new peak is sensitive to the daily new infections data. Independent calculations made by scientists, including Gautam Menon from Ashoka University in Haryana, have also predicted that the peak of the ongoing wave of infections could be between midApril and mid-May. 1,23,03,131 6,14,696 81,466 50,356 1,63,396 More than 36.7 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day coverage till now, the Union Health ministry said on Friday. Of the 36,71,242 vaccine doses, 33,65,597 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 51,215 sessions for the first dose and 3,05,645 beneficiaries received the second dose of vaccine, the Health ministry said Cumulatively, more than 6.87 crore (6,87,89,138) vaccine doses have been admin- Beneficiaries receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine during the third phase of the countrywide inoculation drive, in Patna on Friday. AGENCIES istered through 11,37,456 sessions. Eight states account for 59.58 per cent of the cumulative doses given so far. These eight states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. 11 states, UTs of ‘grave concern’: Centre SNS & PTI Eleven states and Union Territories, marked as “states of grave concern” because of their rising daily Covid-19 cases, have not shown a commensurate increase in enforcement of containment activities, the Centre said. Chairing a high-level review meeting with chief secretaries, Directors General of Police and health secretaries of all states and UTs, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba asked these states to take strict action to contain the virus. According to the health ministry, the 11 states of grave concern are Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Haryana. They have contributed 90 per cent of Covid cases, 90.5 per cent of deaths in 14 days till 31 March, and have crossed or close to crossing their early reported peaks last year, it said. Use of the Police Act, Disaster Management Act and other provisions for imposing penalties on defaulters were underscored at the meeting. in daily new cases, they said. With these additional cases, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country reached 1,23,03,131. With 469 new deaths, the death toll in India has gone up to 1,63,396. There are 6,14,696 active cases in the nation as of now. Registering a steady increase for the 23rd day in a row, the active cases have increased to 6,14,696, while the total recovery stands at 1,15,25,039, the data stated. Furthermore, 50,356 people were discharged after recovery on Thursday, taking the nationwide recovery tally to 1,15,25,039. Bengal numbers: Recording more than 1,700 single-day Covid cases, Bengal registered 1733 fresh Covid cases and 4 deaths today. The total Covid case count is 5,89,922 and death toll is 10,335 in the state till now while there are 7,692 active cases. Kolkata recorded 513 cases and 2 deaths in the last 24 hours. Priyanka self isolates: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday self isolated after her husband Robert Vadra tested Covid positive. NEW DELHI, 2 APRIL MCC violations: TMC, BJP, Morcha knock at EC door At least 51 killed in one KOLKATA, 2 APRIL The Election Commission on Friday ordered a repoll at a polling booth in Ratabari seat of Assam after a controversy broke out over the presiding officer carrying the EVM after polling in a vehicle which belonged to the wife of a BJP candidate contesting from a neighbouring seat. To prevent the polling team from being assaulted in Karimganj by a mob which alleged that the electronic voting machine was being taken for tampering, police had to use force. In a statement, the EC said the presiding officer and three other officials have been placed under suspension. SNS Details on Page 4 No plan for lockdown in Delhi: CM NEW DELHI, 2 APRIL have talks with several Indian leaders, including External Affairs, Finance, Environment, Power, Petroleum and Energy ministers. Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Modi, to the two-day summit to underscore the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action. Other world leaders invited to the summit include: Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British PM Boris Johnson, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga, PM Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and PM Lotay Tshering of Bhutan. Pakistan is upset that it has not been invited to the summit despite its efforts to tackle the climate crisis. TMC complaint to the Election Commission of partisan behaviour by Central forces in favour of BJP is met with counter-complaint by the BJP to the EC that CM Mamata Banerjee had violated model code of conduct by being inside a polling booth in Nandigram on polling day want Sinha, former Cabinet minister and now TMC vice president and state minister Subrata Mukherjee, met the Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab with their complaint alleging Central police forces acted with partiality in favour of the BJP at certain polling centres. Sinha told reporters after meeting Aftab that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is influencing the poll process by passing on instruction from Delhi. “We have told them, the role of Central forces have been partial in many booths in the first two phases. There have been incidents of violence and attacks on our party supporters by BJP We have asked . the EC to see to it this was not repeated in the next six phases,” Sinha said. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday had also accused Central forces deployed in Nandigram constituency, where she is locked in battle with her former lieutenant, Suvendu Adhikari now with the BJP of , helping the saffron party Central police forces function under the home ministry, which is headed by Amit Shah. They also flagged the issue of malfunctioning of EVMs. Not to be outdone, the BJP delegation led by Sishir Bajoria and former governor, Tathagata Roy told the Chief Electoral Officer that the chief minister’s presence inside the booth for two hours disrupted the polling process and violated the model code of conduct. They complained that “the CM went to booth number 7 and sat there for two hours. She obviously did this to arrest the pace of voting after getting feedback that the high voter turnout signified her defeat by a huge margin,” Bajoria said. “The CM was also India: Hope China works with us to complete disengagement STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 APRIL Amidst prolonged delay in scheduling a meeting between senior commanders of the two countries, India today hoped China will work with it to ensure that the disengagement of troops in remaining areas of Eastern Ladakh was completed at the earliest. “This (disengagement) would allow both sides to consider deescalation of forces in Eastern Ladakh as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquility and provide conditions for progress of our bilateral relationship,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing. “This (disengagement) would allow both sides to consider deescalation of forces in Eastern Ladakh as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquility and provide conditions for progress of our bilateral relationship” MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS He said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has already pointed out to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that a prolongation of the situation in Eastern Ladakh was in neither side’s interest The spokesperson recalled that after the disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, the senior commanders of the two countries had held the tenth round of talks, followed by a long telephonic conversation between the two foreign ministers and a meeting of senior diplomats under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Coordination and Consultation in border areas on 12 March. The spokesperson noted that at both the meetings of senior commanders and senior diplomats, the two sides had detailed exchange of views on the remaining issues. The two sides continued to remain in touch through military and diplomatic channels, he added. His remarks are important since the two sides have so far not been able to schedule the 11th meeting of the senior commanders. CMYK aware of the fact that section 144 CrPC was in force in her entire constituency. Yet she violated the prohibitory order, threatening to disrupt the peaceful polls with an assembly of people,” he said. A Sanjukta Morcha delegation led by CPIM leader Rabin Deb complained to the EC that repeated visits to Bengal by PM Modi, on the day of elections, needs to be looked into since his speeches are being telecast in Assembly seats going for polls which may tend to influence the voters. 86.11 per cent polling in Phase 2: Bengal recorded an impressive vote percentage in the second phase. The average polling in the 30 Assembly seats was 86.11 per cent, higher than the previous polls. See Page 3 TDP to boycott panchayat polls in AP: Naidu HYDERABAD, 2 APRIL TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu today announced that for the first time in the party’s 39-year-old history, it has decided to boycott the Zilla Parishad and Mandal Parishad polls in Andhra Pradesh, attributing the decision to the lack of trust on the new State Election Commissioner accused of being partisan to the ruling party. The new SEC Nilam Sawhney who retired as chief secretary has waded into controversy over releasing poll notification without consulting all political parties.The new SEC also decided to continue the election process from the point at which the it was stopped last year due to the pandemic but the Opposition is demanding fresh start to the process. SNS of Taiwan’s worst rail tragedies in 40 years The Taroko Express, with almost 500 aboard, was travelling from Taipei to the south-eastern city of Taitung when it derailed north of tourist hot spot Hualien The train had apparently hit a truck that slid off a nearby road leading to a construction site THE STRAITS TIMES/ANN TAIPEI, 2 APRIL A Taiwan express train with almost 500 aboard derailed in a tunnel on Friday morning, killing at least 51 passengers ~ the youngest victim is six years old and injuring 156 in one of the island’s worst rail tragedies in 40 years. The train had apparently hit a truck that slid off a nearby road leading to a construction site. The Taroko Express was travelling from Taipei to the south-eastern city of Taitung when it derailed north of tourist hot spot Hualien around 9.30am local time, said the National Fire Agency. The train, which has eight coaches, was carrying many tourists and people heading home to be with family at the start of a four-day long weekend amidst the Qing Ming tomb-sweeping holiday. Taiwan media said that many people were standing as the train was full, and they were thrown about when it crashed. “People just fell all over each other, on top of one another,” one female survivor told local television. “It was terrifying. There were whole families there.” The 33-year-old train driver was killed in the derailment, United Daily News reported. His assistant, aged 32, also died in the crash. Rescuers found 81 people who were seriously or slightly injured and took them to several hospitals for treatment. President Tsai Ing-wen has ordered the relevant departments to offer their best rescue efforts. “It’s regrettable that an accident happened on the first day of holidays, leading to heavy casualties. I share the sorrow with fellow countrymen,” said Ms Tsai.
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