TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 27 APRIL 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P4 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 41 and 18 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 71% P6 Centre advises states to consider strict Covid management in surge areas Min: 23% ‘Don’t press panic button’ Min: 16.7°C (-7) SUN SETS 18:54 hrs MOON SETS 06:34 hrs NEW DELHI, 26 APRIL THUMBNAILS Patients get free oxygen, provided by a Sikh organisation, at Indirapuram Gurdwara in Ghaziabad on Monday. SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 26 APRIL W Oxygen tankers being airlifted on Indian Air AGENCIES Force plane in Dubai on Monday. IMD predicts wet spell from 26-30 April: The 3 India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday predicted a wet spell over several parts of the country, including central, south and northeast India, from 26 to 30 April. Thunderstorms with lightning and gusty winds (speed reaching 30-40 kilometres per hour) are very likely at isolated places over Telangana, Kerala and Maha from 26 April. Lightning at P4 isolated places, including Bengal. ith a large part of the country battling a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centre on Monday asked all states and Union Territories to implement an intensive, local and focused containment framework, stressing on specific districts and areas to snap the chain of transmission. In a communication to all states and UTs, Union Home Sec- O2 crunch: Five dead in Haryana: Five Covid-19 patients, including one from Delhi, died at a private hospital here on Monday with relatives of the deceased holding a protest attributing their death to alleged grave shortage of medical oxygen at the facility.Police said they were verifying the allegations of oxygen shortage after relatives of some of the deceased held a protest outside the facility. P3 Karnataka chief minister, B S Yedyurappa today announced a fortnight long close down in the state, beginning tomorrow night. The move signals the government’s desperate attempt to control the virus which is spreading aggressively with the state clocking 2.60 lakh cases at last count. The situation had become worse than Maharashtra and Delhi, Yedyurappa claimed. The latest figures indicate that out of the daily count of 35,000 in the state, the IT capital alone accounted for 20,733 new cases in a single day. He was quick to add though that as the Centre had agreed to increase the supply of oxygen from 300 tonnes to 800 tonnes, the possibility of shortage would be tackled effectively. Accordingly, indicating hopes of improvement in the number of cases as reports of patients dying on account of non availability of oxygen are not uncommon. Till a few days ago, Yedyurappa was repeatedly asserting that he would not declare a lockdown or a “close down” under any circumstances, consider- 3.52L new cases, 16K in Bengal SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 26 APRIL With3,52,991 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, the highest so far, India’s total tally of Covid19 cases has climbed to 1,73,13,163 while active cases have crossed the 28-lakh mark,according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The death toll increased to1,95,123 with a record 2,812 new fatalities,the data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 28,13,658 comprising 16.25 per cent of the total infections, while the As India grappled with a raging second wave of Covid, the government today sought to allay people’s fears, saying unnecessary panic is causing more harm than good. Stressing on the need for vaccination and observing Covid-19 appropriate behaviours, the government advised that it is time people start wearing masks inside their homes as well. It also pitched for expediting the pace of the vaccination drive and this unprecedented spike, he said, there is an urgent need for states and UTs to consider strict Covid management and control measures, in the surge areas to bring the situation under control. All States/ UTs have been advised to consider a further graded Two-week lockdown in K’taka STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE BENGALURU, 26 APRIL Former Maruti Suzuki MD Jagdish Khattar dies: Former managing director of Maruti Suzuki India, Jagdish Khattar, passed away on Monday morning following a cardiac arrest. Khattar (79), a former bureaucrat, was considered as one of the most high-profile leaders of the Indian automotive industry, laying the foundation for Maruti's future growth after the govP8 ernment began its disinvestment in 2002. retary Ajay Bhalla reiterated the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s 25 April advisory on containment strategy and said the district authorities should be sensitised on the strategy for imposing restrictions and it should be widely disseminated to the public and to the field functionaries for their effective implementation. Bhalla said that in the recent past, a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases has been observed along with high positivity rate. Considering national Covid-19 recovery rate has further dropped to 82.62 per cent. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,43,04,382. The case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.13 per cent, the data stated. Meanwhile, West Bengal recorded a highest number of 15,992 fresh Covid cases and a steep surge of 68 deaths today. Kolkata recorded 3,868 cases and 26 deaths while North 24 Parganas recorded 3,425 fresh cases and 11 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total Covid case count is 7,59,942 and death toll is 11,009 in the state till now while there are 94,949 active cases. ing its impact on the economy. Now, however, with the situation rapidly going out of control, the state has had to revise its decision with cabinet ministers also emphasising the need for a lockdown today ,if only to break the virus chain. Besides, the state’s Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 had come out strongly in favour of a lockdown being the only option. Yedyurappa also declared that the state would provide free vaccines at its government centres to all those above 18. Those above 45 years were already being vaccinated free by the central government. 28,13,658 3,52,991 2,19,272 1,95,123 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 26 APRIL 2021 asserted that women can take Covid vaccine during menstruation as well. Addressing a joint Presser with other functionaries, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lav Agarwal said many people have been found to be occupying hospital beds out of panic. Hospital admission should only be on the advice of doctors, he stressed. The government said India has enough medical oxygen available, but the challenge is to transP port it to hospitals. (P5) response in accordance with local situation, requirements and resources. I would, therefore, urge you to issue directions to district authorities in your State/ UT, to take all necessary steps for containment framework to flatten the curve,” Bhalla said. P12 Madras HC tears into ECI, calls it ‘most irresponsible’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 26 APRIL 2021 The Madras High Court on Monday lashed out against the Election Commission of India and said it is the most irresponsible institution in the country who have done nothing to prevent political parties from breaching Covid-19 protocol. Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee remarked that Election Commission is “singularly responsible” for the second wave and reprimanded it for failing to ensure Covid norms followed during poll rallies. When the election commission’s counsel said that measures have been taken to curb the spread of Covid19, the Chief Justice asked him: “Were you on anoth- SNS NEW DELHI, 26 APRIL With its hospitals, crematoriums and graveyards overwhelmed by exploding Covid cases and deaths, Delhi today recorded 20,201 coronavirus cases and 380 deaths — its highest-ever single-day Covid fatalities count — while the positivity rate rose to a staggering 35.02 per cent. The fresh cases were detected out of 57,690 tests, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. The total number of active cases in the city stood at 92,358. Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held? Election Commission is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19 The High Court has directed the Election Commission to hold a consultation with the State Health Secretary and place on record a plan to enforce Covid19 protocol on counting day(2 May) by 30 April er planet when political rallies were being held?” The court’s harsh remarks came out when it heard a petition filed by Tamil Nadu state transport minister seeking direction to the Election Commission, to follow a slew of measures in ensuring fairness during the counting of votes on 2 May for Karur constituency where he had contested the elections as an AIADMK candidate. While hearing the peti- Retired Armymen will join fight to curb virus; Rawat briefs PM Modi STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 26 APRIL Delhi sees record 380 Covid deaths HARSH CRITICISM Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Bipin Rawat and reviewed the preparations and operations being undertaken by the armed forces to deal with Covid-19. Gen Rawat briefed the PM that all medical personnel from armed forces who have retired or taken premature retirement in the last two years were being recalled to work in Covid facilities within proximity of their present place of residence. Other medical officers who retired earlier have also been requested to make their services available for consultation through medical emer- gency help lines. Modi was also informed that all medical officers on staff appointments at medical facilities of the three services would be employed at hospitals. The CDS informed the PM that nursing personnel were being employed to complement the doctors at the hospitals. The PM was briefed that oxygen cylinders available with armed forces in various establishments would be released for hospitals. The PM reviewed the operations being undertaken by IAF to transport oxygen in India and abroad. Gen Rawat said the armed forces were creating medical facilities in large numbers. Modi discusses Covid situation with Biden, Suga SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 26 APRIL 1,73,13,163 ‘LET THE LEAGUE GO ON DESPITE THE VIRUS SCARE’ P10 MHA : Focus on micro containment method TEMPERATURE Max: 40.2°C (+2) SUN RISES 05:43 hrs MOON RISES 18:17 hrs OSCARS 2021: MANY FIRSTS, SURPRISES GANDHI’S AHIMSA TN ALLOWS STERLITE PLANT TO OPEN FOR FOUR MONTHS Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to US president Joe Biden on Monday and discussed the importance of smooth and efficient supply chains of vaccine raw materials in a telephone conversation. The phone call came after the US president expressed his solidarity with India as the nation faces a second wave of coronavirus disease in the country. US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other American leaders have come out in support of India in its battle against Covid-19. “Just as India sent assistance to the United States Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need JOE BIDEN US PRESIDENT as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” Biden said in a Twitter post. He was referring to India lifting the ban in April last year on the export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol and rushing consignments to the US when the pandemic first hit the country. India is seeking speedier deliveries of key elements required in the manufacture of anti-Covid vaccines in India. Among the steps taken by the US in the coming days will be the dispatch of personal protection kits, diagnostic kits and oxygen generation equipment, according to a post by US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and a phone call by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. “The US is working closely with the Indian government to rapidly deploy additional support and supplies during an alarming Covid19 outbreak. As we provide assistance, we pray for the people of India~ including its courageous healthcare work- ers,” Vice President Harris said in her post. Meanwhile, Modi discussed with his Japanese counterpart the Covid-19 situation. They highlighted the importance of close India-Japan cooperation to overcome these challenges, such as by working together to create resilient, diversified and trustworthy supply chains, ensuring reliable supply of critical materials and technologies, and developing new partnerships. The Chinese embassy issued a statement extending support to India. It also asked Chinese companies to cooperate to facilitate acquiring medical supplies and provide support and help according to India’s need. tion, the High Court also warned that it will stop counting on 2 May, if the EC does not put in place a proper plan to ensure Covid norms are followed. “The situation now is of survival and protection. Everything else comes next,” the CJ said. The HC has directed the EC to hold a consultation with the State Health Secretary and place on record a plan to enforce Covid protocol on counting day by 30 April. Covid battle intensifies Indian tricolour lit up on landmarks in Dubai in solidarity with India Free Covid-19 vaccine in Delhi: The Delhi government will provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all those above 18 years of age in the city for which purchase of 1.34 crore doses has been approved, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on P2 Monday. Centre asks SII, Bharat Biotech to lower vaccine prices: The Central government has asked vaccine manufacturers Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech Limited to lower the prices of their respective vaccines. The SII has priced the Covishield vaccine at Rs 400 for states and Rs 600 private hospitals, whereas, the Bharat Biotech has decided to sell the jabs at Rs 600 to states and Rs 1,200 to private hospitals. Air India brings 318 O2 concentrators from NY: Air India brought 328 oxygen concentrators to India on its New York-Delhi flight on Monday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said. Indian-American CEOs pledge support : Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his Microsoft counterpart Satya Nadella have assured help as India grapples with a ravaging coronavirus crisis that has put pressure on its hospitals due to a shortage of beds, oxygen and medP8 ical supplies. Amidst massive virus surge,75.06 per cent turnout in seventh phase polling STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA/ MURSHIDABAD/ WEST BURDWAN, 26 APRIL Amidst a massive surge in Covid cases, the seventh phase of elections recorded a voter turnout of 75.06 per cent while barring a few stray incidents, polls were “overall peaceful” in the 34 constituencies across five districts of West Bengal. “Polls were overall peaceful and Covid protocols were completely enforced. There were 742 preventive arrests of which 11 arrests were in connection to violation of section 144. While 57 bombs were recovered though there were no incidents of bombing. A total of 1146 complaints were lodged in this phase,” said CEO Ariz Aftab at a press con- ference today. The highest voter turnout of 80.30 per cent was recorded in the 9 Assembly constituencies in Murshidabad while the four constituencies of south Kolkata recorded the lowest polling percentage of 59.91. The voter turnout in six districts of South Dinajpur was 80.21 per cent followed by Malda (78.76%) and West Burdwan (70.34%). Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who earlier held an emergency meeting on Covid management with state chief secretary and health secretary at Nabanna, showed victory symbol after she cast her vote at Mitra Institution in Bhawap nipore (photo). BJP candidate from Asansol South Assembly constituency Agnimitra Paul complained that a Tri- namul polling agent was wearing a cap with chief minister’s photo on it inside the booth at Baktarnagar High School despite the EC clearly stating that agents cannot wear anything with a party’s symbol or a leader’s picture on it. “The presiding officer says that he’s unwell and did not see it. This is one of Mamata Banerjee’s tricks as she knows that people won’t vote for her. Her time is up. I will lodge a complaint regarding this,” she added. Later, she complained that ruling party activists were serving lunch to voters within 200 metres of the polling station. A few incidents of scuffle were reported from the Asansol area, where Trinamul candidate Sayoni Ghosh claimed 80.30 59.91 80.21 per cent per cent Polls were overall peaceper cent ful and Covid Murshidabad protocols were completely enforced ARIZ AFTAB CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICER that BJP activists tried to jam booths in her constituency though BJP candidate Paul dubbed the allegation as baseless. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Kolkata 78.76 per cent Malda Raninagar in Murshidabad. Miss Banerjee said they would lodge an FIR against Central forces and move court in connection to an incident wherein Central forces allegedly ransacked the house of a local Trinamul leader. Earlier, an independent candidate alleged that he was beaten up by Central forces. Again, allegation of booth jam was levelled against Trinamul activists. A TMC work- South Dinajpur 70.34 per cent West Burdwan er was assaulted at Farakka in Murshidabad allegedly by BJP and had to be hospitalised. Miss Banerjee also alleged that Trinamul camp office at Habibpur was captured by Central forces and they allegedly asked voters to vote in favour of the BJP . TMC activists alleged their camp office was ransacked by Central forces in Durgapur. The four constituencies of Kolkata, which recorded a very low voter turnout, wore an almost deserted. Many non-Bengali voters of Deshapriya Park and Southern Avenue skipped polling on the plea that their priorities were ignored by the state government during Chhat Puja. In the morning, the agent of BJP candidate from the Rashbehari Assembly constituency Lt Gen Subrata Saha was detained for allegedly molesting a few women voters inside a polling booth in New Alipore area, police said. Trinamul candidates Shovandeb Chattopadhyay from Bhawanipore and Debashis Kumar from Rashbehari alleged that they were not allowed to enter many booths by central forces. In the Jamuria constituency, Left Front candidate Aishe Ghosh alleged that her party agents were stopped from entering the booth by Trinamul workers though the charge was denied by the ruling party. A voter died at Domkal in Murshidabad allegedly due to heat wave. In response to Madras High Court’s observation on Election Commission, Mr Aftab said that all steps were taken to implement Covid protocols. “The commission has decided to increase the number of counting halls to 705,” he said. Voting was held at 12,068 polling stations amidst the deployment of 796 companies of Central forces. The Election Commission has deployed 26 general and 9 expenditure observers and 6 police observers for this phase.
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.