CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 30 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 ‘AMERICA’S DEMOCRACY IS RISING ANEW’ FEDS RAID GIULIANI’S HOME P10 P10 Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 37 °C and 27 °C respectively. P12 Ruling BJP predicted ahead in Assam, LDF in Kerala; DMK-led alliance tipped in TN; setback for Congress which may lose Puducherry WEST BENGAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY 294 SEATS Min. 38% Max: 36.0°C (+1) Min: 27.4°C (+2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:05 hrs 18:02 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 20:39 hrs 06:47 hrs Next moon quarter on 04 May TMC LEFT+ Republic CNX 128-138 11-21 138-148 0 Times Now C Voter 158 19 115 0 Jan Ki Baat 104-121 3-9 162-185 0 169 13 110 0 BJP+ OTHERS Overall 76.07 per cent till 5 pm 81.87 per cent Birbhum per cent 80.06 Malda 78.07 per cent Murshidabad 57.53 per cent Kolkata 2016: TMC won 211 seats and BJP only three THUMBNAILS PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 29 APRIL xit polls on Thursday forecast a tight contest between the incumbent Trinamul Congress and the BJP in the high-profile West Bengal Assembly polls and put the saffron combine ahead in Assam, while projecting a win for the ruling Left alliance in Kerala and for the DMK-led opposition in Tamil Nadu. The exit poll numbers were largely a setback for the Congress, which while falling short in Assam and Kerala may also lose its government in the Union territory of Puducherry to the Opposition alliance of AINRC-BJP-AIADMK. The exit polls were, however, divided in their forecast for the West Bengal polls, where the BJP ran a high-octane campaign in its bid to end chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s 10year old reign and capture power in the state for the first time The Republic-CNX poll gave the BJP a slight edge by protecting 138-148 seats for the party in the 294-seat assembly and 128-138 to the TMC. E Police personnel conduct a flag march to enforce implementation of Covid-induced lockdown, in Ranchi on Thursday. AGENCIES 'Delhi govt responsible for Capital healthcare': The Centre on Thursday said the Delhi government is responsible for handling the present Covid-19 crisis in the national capital as providing healthcare to the people of the city continues to be under its domain. The clarification from the MHA came after the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 came into force from Tuesday. The MHA also said the amendments to the GNCTD Act will in no way alter the constitutional, legal P4 responsibilities of the Delhi government. WB govt seeks 3 crore doses of Covid vaccine: The Bengal government on Thursday wrote to the Centre, seeking supply of at least three crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines for state-run and private hospitals. Two crore doses would be required to inoculate about one crore people in the 18-45 age group through government facilities and the rest for vaccinating 50 P3 lakh beneficiaries in private hospitals. Biotech slashes Covaxin price for states to `400/jab Clashes, bombings mark 8th & final phase of ill-tempered Bengal polling 2021 148 MAJORITY ETG Research TEMPERATURE P5 Exit polls project tight race in Bengal WEATHER Max.85% WHY DE VILLIERS IS LICKING HIS CHOPS, AGAIN WORLD IS AFRAID OF INDIA: KAMAL NATH However, Times Now-C Voter predicted a clear majority for the TMC, projecting 158 seats for the party and 115 for the BJP. Jan Ki Baat exit polls, however, predicted a strong majority for the BJP in Bengal, giving it 162-185 seats, against 104-121 to the ruling TMC. The TMC had won 211 seats in 2016 and the BJP only three in the 294-member West Bengal assembly. The Left-Congress alliance was forecast to be further marginalised in the fiercely bipolar contest. In Assam, India TodayAxis My India predicted 75-85 seats for the BJP-led combine in the 126-member assembly and 40-50 to the Congress-led opposition. Today’s Chanakya predicted 61-79 seats for the saffron alliance and 47-65 for the Congress-led opposition in Assam. RepublicCNX gave the ruling saffron alliance 74-84 and the opposition 40-50, while Times Now-C Voter gave them 65 and 59 seats respectively. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan may defy the norm in his state of the two main alliances alter- Focus on local containment, MHA tells Covid-hit states STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 APRIL NEW DELHI, 29 APRIL Bharat Biotech on Thursday announced a cut in price of its Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ it plans to sell to the states to Rs 400 per dose from the earlier Rs 600. This follows a widespread criticism of its pricing policy as it sold Covaxin to the Central government at Rs 150 per dose. “Recognising the enormous challenges in the public healthcare system, we have made Covaxin available to state governments at a price of 400/ dose”, Bharat Biotech said in its announcement. We are deeply concerned with the critical pandemic that India is facing at this time, it added. Serum Institute on Wednesday slashed the price of its Covishield vaccine to Rs 300 per dose from the earlier Rs 400 for states. SNS The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today issued Covid19 guidelines for May, advising States and UTs to implement the Health Ministry’s advisory to go for local containment areas in districts reporting more than 10 per cent positivity rate. Adopting the 25 April advisory of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for its latest guidelines, the MHA said two criteria are to be considered for intensive action and local containment measures ~ test positivity of 10 per cent or more in the last one week, and bed occupancy of more than 60 per cent on either oxygen supported or ICU beds. As per the Health Ministry advisory: “Local containment primarily focused on restricting intermingling of people is to be undertaken for a period of 14 days for breaking the chain of transmission duly following epidemiological principles,” the MHA said. The local containment will focus on three strategic areas of intervention, which include Containment, Clinical Management and Community Engagement, the advisory said. The Union health ministry also issued the “Revised guidelines for home isolation of mild/asymptomatic Covid19 cases”, in which it advised against attempting to procure or administer Remdesivir injections at home, underlining that it should be administered only in a hospital setting. The guidelines stated that systemic oral steroids are not indicated in mild cases. nating in power by leading the CPI(M)-led alliance to another spell in power, going by various exit polls. Axis My India predicted a big win for the LDF by projecting 104 seats for it in the 140-member assembly and predicting only 20-36 seats to the Congress-led UDF. Today's Chanakya forecast 93-111 seats for the LDF and 26-44 for the UDF in 140-member strong Kerala assembly. CNX predicted a closer fight but still projected a majority of 72-80 seats for the ruling alliance against 54-64 for the opposition. In another key southern state, Tamil Nadu, Axis My India and CNX forecast a big win for the DMK-led alliance that also includes the Congress. They gave 175-195 and 160-170 respectively for the DMKCongress-led alliance in the 234-member assembly. The AIADMK-led alliance, which includes the BJP, was projected to get 38-54 and 58-68 respectively. Today's Chanakya predicted 164-186 seats for the DMK combine and 4668 for the incumbent AIADMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu. Nuns of Missionaries of Charity queue up at a polling booth to cast their votes during the 8th phase of the Bengal Assembly polls, in Kolkata on Thursday. AGENCIES STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA/MURSHIDABAD/ BIRBHUM, 29 APRIL Clashes between rival political groups, hurling of crude bombs and attacks on candidates in a few places marred the final phase of polling that was held amidst a significant surge of fresh Covid-10 cases in 35 constituencies of four districts of West Bengal today. With an overall voter turnout of 76.07 per cent till 5 pm, the highest polling percentage of 81.87 was recorded in 11 constituencies of Birbhum followed by six seats of Malda (80.06) and 11 of Murshidabad (78.07) while the lowest of 57.53 per cent was recorded in the seven seats of Kolkata North. During the day, there were 835 preventive arrests while four persons were arrested for violating Section 144 of the CrPC and 20 people were arrested for other reasons. A total of 1,179 complaints were reg- NEW DELHI, 29 APRIL As the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic rages on across India, hit particularly hard are the children caught up in the crisis, especially those who have lost their parents due to Covid-19 or are left with no caregivers because of the hospitalisation of their parents. From providing counselling to arranging food, from managing ambulances to giving monetary help, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has taken up several initiatives to help such children. The commission has also launched a dedicated helpline number to report the cases of these kids. “If you know of any child who is in need of essential supplies, has lost the parent/struggling to support because of illness report @ +919311551393. Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights shall intervene in [less than] <24 hours,” Anurag Kundu, the chairperson of DCPCR recently tweeted. On the day of its launch, the helpline number received only five calls, but numbers have grown and the helpline has received 26 calls till today afternoon. The commission informed that its team members personally monitor each call to see how best to help. “Sometimes the kids require food, sometimes medical assistance, sometime they are in distress, they need coun- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 29 APRIL Over 40 countries have pledged their support to India in dealing with the surge in coronavirus cases in the country, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said today, even as the country added 3,79,257 new infections over the previous 24 hours and active cases crossed the 30lakh mark. India was primarily looking at this stage at receiving about 550 oxygen generating plants, 4,000 oxygen concentrators and 10,000 oxygen cylinders from different countries to tackle the current situation, Mr Shringla told a special media briefing. He said India also hoped to procure 400,000 units of Remdesivir from Egypt apart from exploring the possibility of getting the anti-viral drug from the United Arab Emi- From providing counselling to arranging food, from managing ambulances to giving monetary help, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has taken The commission has also launched a dedicated helpline number to report the cases of these kids selling. We try to give them all the possible help as soon as possible. In this, many nongovernmental organisations or volunteers are helping us a lot,” said Mr Kundu over the phone. The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has created havoc in India as daily numbers of cases have crossed more than three lakh in the past few days. People are struggling to get hospital beds, and many are dying due to shortage of oxy- gen or ventilators. Many people are struggling to cremate the dead. All these have created immense distress for children caught up in the crisis. Elaborating about one case, Mr Kundu said two siblings lost their father to Covid. “The Commission had a conversation with one of the children and on the basis of their immediate needs, we arranged for a cremation space at Seemapuri Cremation Ground and an ambulance from the Police Helpline to the polling booths. Choubey said “TMCbacked anti-socials tried to create disturbances so that they could rig the polls” while Trinamul candidate Sadhan Pande alleged agents of his party were beaten up by the BJP cadres in several booths. Later Trinamul complained that Choubey tried to influence voters in some booths. The CPI-M alleged Trinamul tried to capture many booths in Belgachia while Trinamul complained that their worker was beaten up in Entally. In Murshidabad, one person was killed and two others injured as a car hit them hours before the polling exercise began, triggering tension, a police officer said. The CPI-M alleged that its member Kader Mondal (42) was killed, and two others ~ Asim Al Mamoon (43) and Lal Chand Mondal (42) ~ sustained injuries after Trinamul candidate Jafikul Islam ran his car over them. Islam, the TMC’s Over 40 countries extend support to India India is primarily looking at this stage at receiving about 550 oxygen generating plants, 4,000 oxygen concentrators and 10,000 oxygen cylinders from different countries to tackle the current situation HARSH VARDHAN SHRINGLA FOREIGN SECRETARY rates, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. The government, he said, has been focusing primarily on procuring oxygen generators, concentrators, oxygen cylinders, cryogenic tankers as well as liquid oxygen. The supplies were being sourced through direct procurement and other modes. Mr Shringla said two special aircraft carrying large quantities of medical supplies from the US were expected to reach India by tomorrow and another plane was likely to arrive by 3 May. Help a call away for kids caught up in Covid crisis STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE istered during the eighth phase. In Kolkata, six persons were arrested in connection with two incidents of bombing. In Jorasanko constituency, crude bombs were hurled outside Mahajati Sadan, the police said. BJP candidate Meena Devi Purohit alleged that the bombs were thrown at her vehicle while she was touring different polling booths. A huge police contingent was rushed to the spot to control the situation. Earlier, an incident of bombing was recorded at Bidhan Sarani. Clashes between rival groups broke out in Beliaghata, following which police resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse them. Two persons, who identified themselves as BJP activists, alleged that they were roughed up by Trinamul workers during the melee. In Maniktala constituency, the BJP candidate, footballer Kalyan Choubey, was gheraoed by a group of people during his visit up several initiatives to help such children. authorities. The Commission also provided medical assistance to both the siblings by connecting them to the District Surveillance Officer for the same,” Kundu said. In another instance, two siblings aged 15 and 16 years respectively, lost both of their parents to Covid-19 in a span of one day. The Commission interacted with one of the children telephonically and contacted Childline to provide counselling to the children followed by options pertaining to food, monetary help and medical facilities. In another case, a 15-yearold boy, whose parents died, was about to commit suicide. “We connected with his immediate family members and also connected with the counselors,” said Kundu. CMYK “As of now, we have over three million active cases. This has obviously put considerable pressure on our healthcare system, on the capacities and resources that we have. The government has been in many senses very quick to try and make an assessment of where we have capacity shortfalls, where we have a requirement to meet on an urgent basis,” he added. India on Thursday reported 3,79,257 new coronavirus infections, the highest so far, during the previous 24 hours, pushing its total tally of Covid19 cases to 1,83,76,524, while active cases crossed the 30lakh mark. There were also 3,645 fatalities taking the death toll to 2,04,832, according to Health Ministry data Bengal: Bengal registered another record high of 17,403 fresh Covid cases and 89 deaths today. Kolkata recorded 3,912 cases and 21 deaths NEW DELHI, 29 APRIL Facebook blocked posts tagged #ResignModi amidst raging criticism of the government’s handling of the Covid crisis, but restored it hours later calling it a mistake. The blocking , Facebook said, wasn’t at the behest of the government. Facebook isn’t the first social media company to censure posts critical of government handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Twitter had removed or restricted access to several critical posts on orders from the government, which called it fake news. “We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not 2nd wave fury lashes India 1,83,76,524 30,84,814 3,79,257 2,69,507 2,04,832 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 29 APRIL 2021 in the last 24 hours. The total case count is 8,10,955 and the toll has gone up to 11,248. FB blocks#ResignModi posts, then restores them PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Domkal seat candidate, rubbished the allegation, claiming that he was nowhere near the site of the incident. Chief Election Officer (CEO) Aariz Aftab has sought a report from the district authorities in the matter. This apart, several crude bombs were recovered from Domkal. In Nanoor constituency of violence-prone Birbhum district, BJP candidate Tarakeshwar Saha reportedy suffered injuries after his vehicle was attacked. Saha accused TMC cadres of attacking him, but the allegation was dubbed as “baseless” by local leaders of the TMC. Clashes were reported in Labhpur and Mayureswar. Voters alleged that central forces lathicharged them while they were returning after voting in Tarapith. Voting was held in 11,860 polling stations. Long queues were seen outside most polling booths since early morning, raising concern over the spread of Covid-19. In Kolkata, a very low voter turnout was recorded in the seven seats in the northern part of the city. because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday. It however did not elaborate. In a tweet, the Ministry of Electronics and IT said: “Govt has not issued any direction to remove this hashtag. Facebook has also clarified that it was removed by mistake.” The hashtag calling for the resignation of PM Modi was blocked on Facebook for hours on Wednesday. Users searching the hashtag were given a message that said such posts were “temporarily hidden here” because “some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards”. A security guard announces shortage of vaccines outside a Covid-19 vaccination centre, in Gurugram on Thursday Chardham Yatra in U'khand postponed: Chardham Yatra to the four famous Himalayan shrines in Uttarakhand, which was scheduled to begin next month, has been postponed in view of the massive surge in Covid-19 cases. Ashok Gehlot tests positive: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said he has tested positive for Covid19. The 69-year-old Congress leader had isolated himself on Wednesday after his wife Sunita had tested positive. Manmohan discharged: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on Thursday discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here, where he was admitted after testing positive for Covid. Sources said he was doing fine and returned home Thursday afternoon. US travel advisory: The US has advised its citizens not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so and authorised the voluntary departure of family members of its employees in the Indian missions, saying the access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India. Russia delivers Covid aid: Russia on Thursday delivered to India 20 tonnes of medical supplies mainly oxygen concentrators, ventilators and medicines as part of its assistance to help India deal with Covid.
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