CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 16 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 BLINKEN IN KABUL TO SELL BIDEN TROOP WITHDRAWAL ALARUMS & EXCURSIONS P6 Partly cloudy sky . Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 37 °C and 27 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P9 P5 P12 India worst-hit by second Covid wave WEATHER Max.92% GUARDIOLA IS AMONG THE BEST, AGAIN LADAKH STANDOFF: RAJNATH HAILS IAF Min. 43% Max: 36.0°C (N) Min: 27.0°C (1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:16 hrs 17:57 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 07:14 hrs 20:45 hrs Next moon quarter on 20 April THUMBNAILS Women participate in a rally on the occasion of Bengali New Year in Kolkata on Thursday. IANS Coast Guard apprehends Pak boat with heroin: A Pakistani boat ‘NUH' with 30 Kgs of heroin worth about Rs 300 crore in the international market has been apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in a joint intelligence-based operation with ATS Gujarat off Jakhau, Gujarat. Eight Pakistani nationals have also been arrested from the boat, Defence Ministry said. The Ministry said that an input was received on 13 April regarding suspected narcotics trafficking by the Pak boat. India-France sign deal for Gaganyaan mission: F Space agencies of India and France on Thursday signed an agreement for cooperation for the country's first human space mission Gaganyaan, the French space agency CNES said. The agreement was announced during French Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visit to the ISRO headquarters. US expels 10 Russian diplomats: The US on Thursday announced the expulsion 10 Russian diplomats and slapped sanctions on over 30 individuals and key financial institutions as it held Moscow accountable for interference in 2020 US presidential election and the hacking of US federal agencies. The sanctions are also meant to impose penalty over Russia's P10 continued occupation of Crimea. WPI inflation spikes to 8-year high of 7.39% Country adds over 2 lakh new cases in 24 hours; daily deaths also on rise; exponential rise forces states to impose fresh curbs SNS & AGENCIES Weekend curfew imposed in Delhi NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 15 APRIL ndia has emerged as the worst-hit nation in the latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, with as many as 2,00,739 new infections in a 24hour period being reported on Thursday. The country’s highest peak in the first wave of the pandemic was 97,894 cases, recorded on 17 September last year. Covid-19 cases have been on the rise at an alarming rate for the past fortnight, with India recording over one lakh daily cases for the first time on 4 April. Within 10 days, India became the second nation to record over 2 lakh daily cases, as per data provided by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at 8 a.m. on Thursday. India has been recording more than 1.5 lakh cases a day for five days in a row now and added 13,88,515 cases in nine days. As per Union Health Ministry figures, India reported 2,00,739 new I 1,40,74,564 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 15 APRIL 14,71,877 As Delhi recorded over 17,000 cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday to become the worst-affected city in the country, the national capital will come under a weekend curfew, beginning with Friday (16 April) evening, till further orders. Announcing this today at an online Press conference, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said this had become unavoidable in view of the surging Covid-19 cases in Delhi for the past few days and to “break the chain of transmission”. The announcement came after Mr Kejri- 2,00,739 93,528 1,73,123 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 15 APRIL 2021 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest single-day spike so far, taking its overall tally to 1,40,74,564, cases. India’s daily deaths due to Covid are also rising with 1,038 new deaths getting reported on Thursday, the second consecutive day the country reported over a thousand deaths. This took the overall death 1,700 test Covid +ve in Kumbh over 5 days PRESS TRUST OF INDIA DEHRADUN/RISHIKESH, 15 APRIL wal had a meeting with Delhi Lt-Governor Anil Baijal and top officials to take stock of the situation arising out of the alarming rise in coronavirus cases in the city. Delhi recorded 17,282 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, the highest single-day surge in the national capital since the onset of the pandemic, while over 100 fatalities were reported. On Thursday, the national capital recorded 16,699 new Covid-19 cases along with 112 fatalities. Mr Kejriwal said after meeting, “We have taken this harsh step because people generally go out for work on weekdays and spend their weekends on entertainment. So, we are imposing a weekend curfew to break the chain. All essential services will remain exempted.” He also announced ban on all social, religious and political gatherings. in cases has forced states to impose new curbs to control the virus spread. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during the day announced a weekend curfew after the national capital on Wednesday recorded a new high daily Covid tally, making it the worst-hit city in the country, outstripping Mumbai. Uttar Pradesh, which saw its highest single-day spike on Thursday, at 22,439 fresh cases, shut all schools NEET-PG postponed Decision on use of foreign Covid-19 vaccines in 3 days Covid testing at Defence Colony, in the Capital on Thursday. SNS NEW DELHI, 15 APRIL Over 1,700 people have tested positive for Covid19 in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela area from 10 to 14 April confirming fears that one of the world’s largest religious gatherings may contribute further to the rapid rise in coronavirus cases. Medical workers conducted 2,36,751 tests over the five-day period in the mela site. Out of these, 1,701 came out positive for coronavirus. The numbers include both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test reports of devotees and seers of different akharas (ascetic groups) over the five-day period in the entire mela site extending from Haridwar to Devprayag, Haridwar’s Chief Medical Officer Shambhu Kumar Jha said on Thursday. More RT-PCR test reports are awaited and the trend shows that the number of infected persons in the Kumbh Mela site is likely to climb to 2,000, he said. The Kumbh Mela area is spread over 670 hectares covering parts of Haridwar, Tehri and Dehradun districts, including Rishikesh. A majority of the 48.51 lakh people who took part in the last two ‘royal baths’ (shahi snan) held on Somwati Amavasya on 12 April and Mesh Sankranti on 14 April were seen openly violating Covid norms. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA In view of a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, the National EligibilityCum-Entrance Test (postgraduate), which was scheduled to be held on 18 April, has been postponed, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday. The decision was taken keeping the well-being of the young medical students in mind, he added. Next date to be decided later. Decision has been taken keeping wellbeing of our young medical students in mind,” Vardhan said in a tweet.PTI NEW DELHI, 15 APRIL The drug regulator will take a decision on applications seeking approval for restricted emergency use of foreign produced Covid-19 vaccines within three working days from the date of submission, the government said on Thursday. The moves comes at a time when India is battling a surge in Covid-19 cases with over two lakh cases reported in a single day on Thursday. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), which is headed by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), will process applications for registration certificate and import license within three working days from the date of approval of restricted use in emergency situation. The CDSCO has issueddetailed guidelines for approval of foreign approved Covid vaccines after the Centre on Tuesday decided to fast-track emergency approvals for all coronavirus jabs that have been given a similar nod by the WHO or regulators in the United States, Europe, Britain or Japan. Gateway of India wears a deserted look following Covid curbs in Mumbai Board exams postponed J&K:The Jammu and Kashmir government ordered cancellation of ongoing board examinations of classes X and XII in view of spike in Covid-19 cases. It has also been ordered that schools will remain closed till 30 April instead of 18 April. UP: All schools in Uttar Pradesh will be closed till 15 May while board exams for classes 10 and 12 have been postponed till 20 May amidst rising Covid-19 cases. Ramzan curbs The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed 50 people to offer namaz five times a day at Nizamuddin Markaz during Ramzan, saying there is no direction from Delhi Disaster Management Authority to close down places of worship. Night curfew in Odisha The Odisha government imposed night curfew in all urban areas of the state and weekend shutdown in 10 districts bordering Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. It also announced suspension of 10th and 12th state board examinations and closed all schools. ASI monuments closed till 15 May All Centrally-protected monuments, museums and sites under the Archaeological Survey of India have been closed till 15 May. Mamata urges remaining phases held in one go ISRO spy case: SC orders probe STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The EC has ruled out the possibility of either curtailing or clubbing the remaining poll phases in Bengal, citing logistical problems KOLKATA, 15 APRIL NEW DELHI, 15 APRIL The wholesale price-based inflation shot up to over 8-year high of 7.39 per cent in March on rising crude oil and metal prices. Also, the low base of March last year, when the data was computed with a low response rate due to the nationwide lockdown, contributed to the spike in inflation in March 2021. The WPI inflation was 4.17 per cent in February 2021 and 0.42 per cent in March 2020. This is the third straight month of up-tick seen in the wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation. Such a high level of WPI was last recordPTI ed in October 2012. Details on Page 8 toll in the country to 1,73,123 till date. By comparison, the USA and Brazil, the other badlyhit countries, added 75,267 and 73,513 new cases, respectively, on Wednesday. The exponential surge till 15 May and postponed board examinations and imposed night curfew in 10 districts. Odisha imposed night curfew in all urban areas and weekend shutdown in 10 districts. On Wednesday, Maharashtra remained the worst hit as the state reported 58,952 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 35,78,160, while 278 new fatalities pushed its death count to 58,804. In terms of fresh caseload, Maharashtra is followed by Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. UP Delhi, Karnataka, , Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, West Bengal and Bihar are the nine states which recorded their highest ever tally in the last 24 hours. Bengal today reported 6,769 fresh cases, its highest daily tally so far, and a nearly-900 jump over the previous day’s figures, along with 22 deaths. The current Covid count is 6,36,885 with death toll at 10,480 while there are 36,981 active cases. Kolkata recorded 1,615 cases and 7 deaths. Citing the Covid-19 surge, state chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged the Election Commission to think about conducting polls for the remaining Assembly seats at one go, though the EC has ruled out the possibility of either curtailing or clubbing the remaining poll phases in the state, citing logistical problems. The TMC chief, in a tweet, said that such a move should be taken in view of public interest. “Amidst an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed @ECISVEEP’s decision to conductWB polls in 8 phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in #COVID19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during a road show for the Assembly elections in Kolkata remaining phases in ONE go,” the CM said. “This will protect the people from further exposure to #COVID19,” she added. An EC source, quoting Shefali Saran, an official EC spokesperson, said that there was no possibility of clubbing of the remaining three phases (sixth, seventh and eighth) due to paucity of Central forces. There were indications that some political parties may raise the issue at an allparty meeting called by the chief electoral officer of West Bengal on Friday. The meeting has been called to ensure that Covid19 guidelines issued by the EC are adhered to by political leaders during campaigning. Meanwhile, Dilip Ghosh, the BJP state president, was barred from electioneering for 24 hours beginning from 7 tonight to 7 p.m. tomorrow for his “there will be Sitalkuchi in several places” remarks. The EC has also served a show cause notice to BJP leader Sayantan Basu for inflammatory remarks he made regarding the Sitalkuchi incident. He was asked to give his reply within 24 hours. Furthermore, the poll panel has also in a decision taken at a meeting held in Delhi chaired by the newly appointed CEO Sushil Chandra mandated security force to make preventive arrests instead of going for dispersal of a mob to avert incidents like what happened at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar. into role of erring police officials PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 15 APRIL The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that the report of a high-level committee on the role of erring police officials in 1994 espionage case relating to ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan be given to the CBI and directed the agency to conduct further investigation on the issue. The apex court said the CBI may treat the panel’s findings as part of preliminary investigation and asked the agency to submit its report to the court within three months. A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar rejected the submission of former DGP Siby Mathews, who was then heading the SIT probe team, that he was not heard by the committee while Narayanan was heard. The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari, said the committee was not to adjudicate the matter but it had to go through circumstantial evidence and form a prima facie view on the acts of omission and commission of erring officials. The apex court was hearing the Centre’s plea seeking consideration of the report filed by the committee regarding the role of erring police officials in espionage case relating to Narayanan, who had been acquitted and was eventually awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation by the top court. The court had appointed the panel on 14 September, 2018 to take appropriate steps against the erring officials for causing “tremendous harassment” and “immeasurable anguish” to Narayanan. Terming the police action against the ex ISRO scientist as a “psycho-pathological treatment”, the court had in 2018 said that his “liberty and dignity” were jeopardised as he was taken into custody. See also Page 4 ‘Some charges shockingly false’: SC for fixed tenure of judges Missing MP tiger ‘zinda hai’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BHOPAL, 15 APRIL NEW DELHI, 15 APRIL The Supreme Court on Thursday said some of the allegations made against judges are so shockingly false that if there had been no security of tenure, they could have been easily knocked out. The top court favoured fixed tenure of two or more years for ad-hoc judges if they are appointed in high courts to reduce the backlog of pending cases. A special bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, Position of judge has to be made secure. I tell you, we have seen allegations against judges which are shockingly false. Yes, some of them are shockingly false. You can easily knock out a judge if there is no security. There has to be security of tenure for ad-hoc judges. A bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant, which was hearing arguments on the modalities of appointments of adhoc judges, reserved verdict on a plea filed by NGO Lok Prahari seeking appointment of additional judges in the high courts under Article 224A of the Constitution in order to reduce the pendency of cases. Article 224-A of Constitution says that the Chief Justice of a High Court for any State may at any time, with the previous consent of the Pres- ed the submission of senior advocate Vikas Singh and some of other lawyers appearing in the matter that many of the former judges may not be interested in taking the A SPECIAL SC BENCH HEADED BY CHIEF JUSTICE S A BOBDE job as they may be more interested in other lucrative fields The top court favoured fixed tenure of two like arbitration. or more years for ad-hoc judges if they are This decision should be left appointed in high courts to reduce the backto the former judges. We canlog of pending cases not decide for them. The chief ident, request any person made and the court cannot put justice will definitely discuss who has held the office of a the entire system of appoint- with the retired judge which Judge of that Court or of any ment of ad-hoc judges in is proposed to be appointed other High Court to sit and act question. Ad-hoc judges can- as ad-hoc judge. If the retired as a Judge of the High Court not be made vulnerable, the judge thinks that he has somefor that State. bench said, adding that too thing better to do, then he can Justice Kaul said he concurs much fine-tuning may lead to very well say no to the appointwith the views of the CJI as losing the objective behind the ment, the bench said. The CJI also brushed aside every time a judge is appoint- appointment process. ed, frivolous complaints are The top court also reject- the argument that high court Position of judge has to be made secure. I tell you, we have seen allegations against judges which are shockingly false. Yes, some of them are shockingly false. You can easily knock out a judge if there is no security. There has to be security of tenure for ad-hoc judges CMYK chief justices may not be able to hear important matters, if ad-hoc judges are appointed. I must tell you that I was not able to hear many Constitution bench matters because there were other pressing important cases that needed to be heard at the time. However, if an ad-hoc judge is appointed then regular cases can be dealt by him and the Chief Justice can focus on important constitutional issues, the CJI said. On 8 April, the top court had said that it is facing a natural deadline and favoured setting up a mechanism for appointment of ad-hoc judges in the high courts to reduce the backlog of cases. GAURAV CHANDRA In a heartwarming real life tale of ‘Tiger zinda hai’ (Tiger is alive), a male tiger that was last seen badly wounded in a forest in Madhya Pradesh two years ago and was feared dead, has been spotted alive and kicking in a different forest area of the state. The big cat, named T-5, has been captured on a camera trap of the state forest department in the Delabari area in Ratapani jungle, 60 km away from the jungles of the BhopalSehore forest division where it was last seen injured. On seeing the footage from Ratapani sanctuary, excited forest officials matched the big cat with the pictures of the tiger available from 2019 camera traps of Bhopal. They were elated to announce that it is the same tiger. The movement of T-5 was first reported in the Bhopal forest division’s Nayapura beat area during the monsoon of 2019. On 10 December that year, forest officials saw the tiger trapped in a deadly wire trap laid by some poachers. T-5’s leg was badly injured. By the time the rescue team arrived, T-5 had managed to free itself and was gone. The forest officials then tried to trace it and found it nearby with serious leg injury. They kept a vigil on the tiger but it suddenly vanished in December 2019.
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