CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 23 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 BLACK LIVES MATTER CW REPORT: RACISM AGAINST INDIAN WWI MARTYRS P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 35 °C and 23 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.86% TEMPERATURE P6 SC seeks plan for proper oxygen distribution, essential drugs to patients 3.14 L new cases: Highest ever 1-day spike in world Max: 30.9°C (-5) Min: 23.1°C (-3) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:10 hrs 17:59 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 13:08 hrs 01:47 hrs Full moon on 27 April SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 22 APRIL THUMBNAILS Workers refill cylinders with medical oxygen for supply to hospital for Covid-19 patients at Shakti Oxygen Refill Plant, in Jalandhar on Thursday. AGENCIES PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 22 APRIL Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee arrives in a helicopter for an election campaign rally in South Dinajpur, on Thursday. AGENCIES India-US 'clean energy partnership: India and the U United States are launching a clean energy partnership initiative to mobilise investments and enable green collaborations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Thursday, as he pitched for concrete action at a “high speed and on a large scale” globally to combat climate change while addressing a US-hosted virtual climate summit, attended by 40 global leaders, including US President Joe Biden and China's P4 Xi Jinping. India joins Indonesia's hunt for submarine: The Indian Navy on Thursday deployed a deep submergence rescue vessel to support the Indonesian Navy's hunt for an attack submarine that went missing with 53 people on board. According to Indonesian authorities, the KRI Nanggala-402, a German-made submarine, went missing during a military exercise P9 around the Bali Strait on Wednesday. aking note of the grim situation created by the massive surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it expects the Centre to come out with a national plan to deal with proper distribution of oxygen and essential drugs for the patients. Observing that oxygen to patients infected with the virus is said to be an essential part of treatment, the apex court said it seems that a certain amount of panic has been generated due to which people have approached several high courts seeking reliefs related to the prevailing situation. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which took suo motu cognisance on the issue of distribution of essential supplies and services during the pandemic, said T Centre’s vaccine plan anti-people: Mamata STATEMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA 22 APRIL Terming the Centre’s new vaccination strategy as “highly discriminatory and antipeople”, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to ensure everyone gets free vaccinations for the coronavirus. Miss Banerjee alleged that there is “a bias in favour of the market against the interest of common people.” In her letter today, Miss Banerjee has also questioned the Central government’s decision to supply the vaccines P5 ‘Centre must release National Covid plan’ Min. 53% prima facie it is of the view that the distribution must be done in an even handed manner according to the advice of health authorities. In these circumstances, we direct that notices be issued to the Union Government, the State Governments /Union Territories and the parties, who appeared to have approached the high courts to show cause why uniform orders be not passed by this court in relation to: a) supply of oxygen; b) supply of essential drugs; c) method and manner of vaccination and d) declaration of lockdown, said the bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat. The top court said it is of the opinion that the Centre should respond, including on report on existence or otherwise and requirement of setting up of a coordinating body that would consider allocation of the above resources in a consultative India has registered over 3.14 lakh new coronavirus cases in a day, the highest-ever single-day count recorded in any country, taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases in the country to 1,59,30,965. According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday, a total of 3,14,835 fresh infections were registered in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 new fatalities. The national Covid-19 recovery rate fell below 85 per cent. Current active cases now stand at 22,91,428 comprising 14.38 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid19 recovery rate has dropped to 84.46 per cent. West Bengal set its own record on Thursday, logging a record manner (with the involvement of concerned states and union territories). It said the Centre should respond on considering declaration of essential medicines and medical equipment including the above articles as essential commodities in relation to Covdi and also on coordination of logistical support for inter-state and intra- 1,59,30,965 22,91,428 3,14,835 1,78,841 1,84,657 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 22 APRIL 2021 11,948 fresh Covid-19 cases and 56 deaths during a 24-hour period. Kolkata recorded 2,646 cases and 14 deaths while North 24-Parganas recorded 2,372 fresh cases and 13 deaths in last 24 hours. state transportation and distribution of the above resources. The bench said the high courts have passed certain orders which may have the effect of accelerating and prioritising the services to a certain set of people and slowing down the availability of these resources to certain other groups. After HC rap over Covid-19 norms, EC bans roadshows, bike rallies in Bengal SNS & PTI to states at different rates than those procured by the Centre. “Why should the prices of vaccines be different in cases of state governments? GOI gets the vaccines from manufacturers at Rs 150 per dose, while you have fixed for us, the states, a price of Rs 400 per dose! States need to pay 167% extra over and above the rates that the GOI has fixed for itself,” she wrote. Miss Banerjee said that such a peculiar differentiation of rates is unheard of in Indian history and this is “anti-federal”, “anti-poor” and “antiyouth”. KOLKATA, 22 APRIL Noting that Covid safety norms were being flouted in West Bengal during campaigning, the Election Commission on Thursday banned road shows and vehicle rallies in the state with immediate effect and said no public meeting having more than 500 people would be allowed. The order said the commission has noted “with anguish” that many political parties and candidates are still not adhering to the prescribed safety norms during the public gatherings. The orders will come into The ECI has full power, but the EC totally failed to implement the Covid guidelines on the voting day and during campaigning time CALCUTTA HIGH COURT force from 7 pm on Thursday. The Calcutta High Court on Thursday had come down heavily on Election Commission of India for not taking proper action over not following of Covid-19 guidelines on the voting day and during campaigning time. Hearing three public interest litigations (PILs) seeking enforcement of Covid protocol during the elections, a divi- sion bench presided by Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan said issuance of circulars and holding meetings on Covid safety were not enough and sought an affidavit by Friday on steps taken to enforce the norms. The court observed that ECI has full power, but it failed to do this. The PILs expressed concern that people participating in the ongoing election campaigns were not adhering to Covid norms which may result in a serious spike in Covid-19 cases in Bengal. But the EC totally failed to implement the Covid-19 guidelines, the court observed. Clashes, bombings mar 6th phase ; 79.09 % turnout STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 22 APRIL Incidents of clashes between rival political groups and allegations of bomb explosions were reported in some parts of the 43 Assembly constituencies where voting was held during the sixth phase of polling today that recorded an overall voter turnout of 79.09 per cent till 5 p.m. The CEO will hold a video conference with the Election Commission of India tomorrow to deliberate on whether the remaining last two phases of polls on 26 and 29 April can be clubbed together or not. A total of 587 people were arrested today of which 392 were preventive arrests and remaining arrests were for violating various sections of the IPC. In this phase, the commission received a total of 1,992 complaints. North 24-Parganas recorded the maximum incidents of violence. In Bagda, there was an People queue up to cast their votes at a polling station, during the 6th phase of Assembly elections at Krishnanagar. AGENCIES incident of police opening fire following an attack from a crowd that had gathered at the premises of a polling station. Initially, an altercation had ensued when police tried to disperse the crowd and later the crowd attacked police. As a last resort, police fired three rounds. A section officer and a constable have sustained injuries. Seven people were arrested in this connection. The highest polling percentage was recorded in Nadia (82.67) followed by East Burdwan (82.15), North Dinajpur (77.76) and North 24 Parganas (75.94). Voters complained of EVM malfunctioning in many booths of Tehatta in Nadia and Habra in North 24-Parganas during the first few hours of voting. Clashes broke out in Ashoknagar between TMC and BJP activists, in which bombs were reportedly hurled and a vehicle carrying Central security forces was also AFTER KOLKATA KNIGHTS RODE FOR A FALL ‘VACCINE POLICY DISCRIMINATORY’ vandalised. The Trinamul Congress alleged that Central forces posted outside booth number 79 in Tangra area opened fire, leaving two of their activists injured after a few party workers protested against BJP candidate Tanuja Chakraborty’s visit to the area. The ECI however dismissed allegations. Violence was also reported from the Bijpur constituency in North 24-Parganas, where TMC and BJP supporters clashed outside polling booths. Both the parties accused each other of trying to rig votes. Several incidents of crude bombs exploding were reported in the Barrackpore industrial belt and two persons were arrested. Incidents of clashes between rival party workers and ransacking of camp offices were recorded in Kanchrapara and Khardah. In the Halisahar area of Naihati constituency in the district, BJP activists alleged that bombs were hurled at the residence of a local BJP leader, whose mother and younger brother are known to have suffered injuries. In the Titagarh area of Barrackpore constituency, clashes broke out between the Trinamul and the BJP supporters, following which bombs were hurled at each other, leading to severe injuries to five BJP activists. Film director-turned-TMC candidate Raj Chakraborty was gheraoed in the Barrackpore constituency by BJP supporters, who accused him of influencing voters. Chakraborty however denied the allegations. In the Amdanga, country-made crude bombs were recovered by police personnel. Barring some sporadic incidents, polling in the sixth phase was peaceful in all the nine Assembly constituencies in North Dinajpur district. As many as 1,071 companies of central forces have been deployed to ensure fair polling. CMYK P12 Centre invokes ‘DM Act’ to streamline supply of oxygen STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 22 APRIL Amidst the Delhi-Haryana feud over medical oxygen supply during the current Covid-19 peak, the Centre today said for the second time in less than a week that states cannot impose any restrictions on the free movement of life-saving medical oxygen required by Covid patients. In a fresh order, after his communication to state chief secretaries on 16 April, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked the states to ensure the free movement of oxygen, and said the District Magistrates, SSPs and SPs “will be personally liable for implementation” of the order. The order said the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except O2 DEMAND States cannot impose any restrictions on the free movement of lifesaving medical oxygen required by Covid patients Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, exercising powers under the Disaster Management Act, asked the states to ensure the free movement of oxygen The District Magistrates, SSPs and SPs “will be personally liable for implementation” of the order those exempted by the government, was prohibited from today. Exercising powers under the Disaster Management Act as Chairperson, National Executive Modi chairs high-level meet on oxygen supply PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 22 APRIL Chairing a high-level meeting to review oxygen supply across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked top officials to work rapidly on increasing its production, boosting the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities. PM also said that states must act against any hoarding of oxygen and directed officials to ensure that the oxygen supply to various states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner. In the meeting that also discussed ways and means to boost oxygen availability, Modi was told that the supply of life-saving gas to states has been steadily increasing. Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT/day of liquid medical oxygen, the Centre has from April 21 allocated 6,822 MT/day to these states. PM Modi will not be visiting Bengal on Friday to address poll meetings as he will be chairing high-level meetings in New Delhi to review Covid situation, he tweeted. Committee, Bhalla said the states would instruct the transport authorities to ensure free inter-State movement of oxygen carrying vehicles. “No restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the supplies only to the hospitals of the State/UT in which they are located,” the order said. There shall be free movement of oxygen carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restrictions of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without any restriction, the order said. States shall strictly abide by the supply plan of medical oxygen prepared by the Empowered Group II, which is mandated to coordinate klogistics like the supply of medical oxygen. Patnaik calls PM BHUBANESWAR, 22 APRIL Amidst reports of shortage of medical oxygen for treatment of Covid-19 patients in different parts of the country, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Thursday extended all cooperation including ramping up of oxygen production to assist the needy states. Patnaik made this offer while speaking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over telephone earlier in the day. “It is a war like situation and Odisha will extend all cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 at the national level including ramping up oxygen production to assist other states in this emergency situation,” PTI Patnaik told PM.
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.