WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 29 SEPTEMBER 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12|`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P6 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 89% CENTRAL MINISTRIES, STATES TRYING TO REDUCE COMPLIANCE BURDEN: GOYAL ‘INDIA CAPABLE OF MEETING DEFENCE NEEDS OF OTHERS’ FEELERS FROM NK P4 TEMPERATURE Max: 35.7°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:13 hrs MOON RISES 23:49 hrs HC nod for Bhawanipore by-election Min: 26.3°C (+3) SUN SETS 18:09 hrs MOON SETS 14:20 hrs KOLKATA, 28 SEPTEMBER THUMBNAILS Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Kanhaiya Kumar, MLA Jignesh Mewani and others pay tribute to legendary freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh, at Shaheed Smarak, in the Capital SUBRATA DUTTA on Monday. SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 28 SEPTEMBER UN ‘hopeful' about Indo-Pak dialogue: A spokeP sperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “we always remain hopeful” that dialogue can happen between India and Pakistan. Sources say ex-Goa CM to join TMC today: ForG mer Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro is set to join Trinamool Congress in Kolkata in the presence of party chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, sources in TMC said on Tuesday. PBKS go down to MI: Mumbai Indians overhauled Punjab Kings modest score at Abu Dhabi. Earlier Jasprit Bumrah & Kieron Pollard snapped 2 wickets each as MI's disciplined bowling restricted PBKS to 135/6. (Earlier report on p12) P8 P12 Bypolls to 3 LS seats, ‘Sore’ Sidhu quits, Capt 30 ACs on 30 Oct: EC says, ‘not a stable man’ Assembly bypolls will be held across 14 states, counting on 2 Nov Min: 62% KKR OUTWIT DC BY 3 WKTS B ypolls to three Lok Sabha seats and 30 assembly constituencies spread across various states will be held on 30 October, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday. The counting of votes will take place on 2 November. The seats where Lok Sabha by-elections will be held are Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. The assembly bypolls will be held in 30 seats spread across 14 states. Five seats are in Assam, four are in West Bengal, three each in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, two each are in Bihar, Karnataka and Rajasthan and one each is in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland and Telangana. “The Commission has reviewed the situation related to pandemic, flood, festivals, cold conditions in certain regions, feedback from concerned States/UT and taken into consideration all facts and circumstances and it has decided to hold byelections to fill vacancies in three Parliamentary Constituencies of UT of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and 30 vacancies in Assembly constituencies of various states,” the EC said in a statement. On 4 September, the EC had announced bypoll to the Bhawanipore assembly seat in West Bengal and polling for three “deferred adjour- The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday gave the goahead for the 30 September bypoll to Bhawanipore assembly seat, from where West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting, saying it does not want to interfere with the Election Commission’s decision at this stage. The court, however, severely berated H K Dwivedi, the state’s chief secretary, for projecting himself “more as a servant of the political party in power than a public servant” by writing to the election panel seeking early bypoll in Bhawanipore to avoid a “constitutional crisis”. (See p5) ned” elections in two assembly seats of West Bengal and one of Odisha. The EC had then said that based on inputs received from states where bypolls are due, it has decided not to hold by-elections in other assembly seats and three parliamentary constituencies in view of the pandemic, floods and festival season. RANJEET JAMWAL Kanhaiya joins Cong, Jignesh extends support CHANDIGARH, 28 SEPTEMBER Barely 72 days after his appointment as Punjab Congress chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned the post on Tuesday citing inability to “compromise”. In his one-page resignation letter to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu wrote, “Collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and agenda for the welfare of Punjab.” With Sidhu “incommunicado” after resigning, a Cabinet minister Razia Sultana who took oath on Monday and was yet to assume charge as minister-resigned this evening expressing solidarity with Sidhu. Her husband Mohammad Mustafa is Sidhu’s advisor. Earlier, Gulzar Inder Chahal had also resigned as Punjab Congress treasurer following Sidhu’s resignation. As a show of strength, more Congress leaders associated with Sidhu are likely to resign. Sidhu’s decision is anchored in many reasons and the foremost seems to be spurned for CM’s post following opposition from former CM Captain Amarinder Singh. Non-inclusion of some of his candidates in the Cabinet and recent appointments by the Charanjit Singh Channi government are also some of the causes. Sources close to Sidhu said the Congress leader is disgruntled with the Congress high command over induction of four ministers including Rana Gurjeet Singh as Cabinet minister. Singh had STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 SEPTEMBER earlier resigned from the Congress government following corruption allegations. Sources said the Punjab Congress chief was against giving the charge of home department to deputy CM, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. The latter was a top contender for the CM’s post but lost the race after Sidhu opposed it fearing his growing popularity if he takes action against Akali Dal’s Badal clan in sacrilege case. Sidhu is also upset with the CM Channi over the appointment of Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota as DGP and Amar Preet Singh Deol as Advocate General. Sidhu’s resignation came on a day most of the 15 Cabinet ministers, who took oath on Monday, assumed charge. Some like Ravneet Bittu, MP from Ludhiana saw Sidhu’s resignation as good riddance. He questioned if Sidhu was an RSS agent and said he was hampering the investigation against Badals in sacrilege cases with his resignation. Taking potshot at Sidhu, Captain said he had told everyone Sidhu was not a stable man. “I told you so. He is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab,” he tweeted. Mocking Congress leader, New cases below 20K for 2nd consecutive day PM launches 35 crop varieties to STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 SEPTEMBER India registered 18,795 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, 27.8 per cent lower than what was recorded on Monday, according to the latest data released by the Union health ministry. The number of cases has gone below 20,000 for the second time after registering 19,859 cases on Monday, which was the first time after over 200 days when Covid cases were reported below the 20,000-mark. With fresh Covid-19 cases, the total caseload in the country touched 3,36,97,581. India’s active caseload stood at 2,92,206 as in the last 24 hours, active cases declined by 7,414, the health ministry said. The top five states which have registered maximum new Covid-19 cases are Kerala with 11,699 cases, followed by Mizoram with 1,846 cases, Tamil Nadu with 1,657 3,36,97,581 2,92,206 18,795 26,030 4,47,373 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2021 cases, Andhra Pradesh with 618 cases and Karnataka with 504 cases. As many as 86.86 per cent of the new cases are reported from these five states, with Kerala alone responsible for Centre extends nationwide containment measures till 31 Oct: The Ministry of Home Affairs today extended the Covid-19 containment measures till 31 October and asked state governments to strictly enforce Covid Appropriate Behaviour during the coming festival season to avoid any fresh surge in Covid-19 cases. In a letter to state governments and Union Territories, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said Covid-19 numbers were declining steadily, but the pandemic continued to be a public SNS health challenge. 62.25 per cent of the new cases. Of the total 4,47,373 fatalities, 179 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. Maximum daily deaths were reported in Kerala (58), followed by Maharashtra (32). India has administered a total of 1,02,22,525 doses in Elder Line: 40 pc calls related to vaccination STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 SEPTEMBER The government has set up a pan-India helpline for the elderly population of the country, Elder Line, to address their problems of pension, legal issues or even cases of abuse. The toll-free helpline 14567 will provide free information and guidance on various issues, extend emotional support, and even take steps to rescue the homeless elderly. An announcement by the ministry of social justice and empowerment today said the Elder Line is intended to provide all senior citizens, or their well-wishers, with a single platform to connect and share their concerns, and get guidance, without having to struggle for it. India is expected to have nearly 20 per cent elderly population or over 300 million senior citizens by 2050. This age group faces various mental, emotional, financial, legal and physical challenges, and the pandemic has exacerbated it. What is more important is that this age group is a basket of wisdom and untapped resource for the overall economic and social growth of the country, the ministry said. One of the early callers on the helpline was looking for a hospital for his motherin-law suffering from Parkinson’s, and was bed ridden with health issues. She had contracted Covid-19 and had to be shifted to a Covid ward in the ICU. After a few days, the hospital insisted that she be taken home even though she was yet to recover and test negative. Unable to understand this, the caller reached out to Elder Line for guidance. Elder Line team immediately acted and found one facility where she could be shifted temporarily. In the last four months alone, over two lakh calls have been received, and over 30,000 seniors have already been given help. Of the total calls, nearly 40 per cent were related to vaccination and queries related and nearly 23 per cent of calls were related to pension. the last 24 hours, which brings the total tally of doses administered to 87,07,08,636. So far, 3,36,97,581 people have been infected in the country, of which 32,9,58,002 have recovered, according to the ministry’s report. A steady slowdown in the rest of the country has brought the number of active Covid19 cases below the 3-lakh mark for the first time in six months. In three states-Bihar, Rajasthan and Jharkhand, and Union Territories- Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, and also Chandigarh-the active case count has fallen below 100. Delhi logs 34 new cases: The national capital registered two Covid deaths and 34 fresh cases of the infection in a day with a 0.05 per cent case positivity rate, according to a health bulletin issued by the Delhi government on Tues(See page 2) day. tackle climate change, malnutrition STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 SEPTEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday dedicated the nation 35 crop varieties with special traits that address the nutritional and health needs of humans and animals. Speaking on the occasion through video conferencing, Modi said in the last 6-7 years, science and technology were being used on a priority basis to solve the challenges faced by the agriculture sector. “Our focus is very high on more nutritious seeds, adapted to new conditions, especially in changing climates,” he said. The crops have been developed by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). Some of these crop varieties are Double Zero Mustard 33, first Canola quality hybrid RCH 1, and a soybean variety free from two anti-nutritional factors namely Kunitz trypsin inhibitor and lipoxygenase. Among the other varieties of special trait crops are drought resistant chickpea, wilt and sterility mosaic resistant pigeonpea, early maturing variety of soybean, diseaseresistant varieties of rice and biofortified varieties of wheat, pearl millet, maize and chickpea, quinoa, buckwheat, winged bean and faba bean, according to scientists. The PM also dedicated the nation the newly constructed campus of the National Institute of Biotic Stress Management, Raipur. He distrib- uted the Green Campus Award to Agricultural Universities on the occasion and later interacted with farmers from Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand and inquired about innovative methods used by them for farming. “Due to climate change, new types of pests, new diseases, epidemics are emerging, because of this, there is a big threat to the health of humans and livestock and crops are also being affected. An alliance of farmers and scientists will strengthen the country in dealing with new challenges,” Modi said. He also informed about the efforts “take the farmer out of the crop-based income system and encourage them for value-addition and other farming options.” He called for further development of grains like millets through scientific research. Firecrackers: Can’t infringe citizen’s right to life under guise of employment, says SC STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 SEPTEMBER The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it cannot infringe the right to life of other citizens under the plea of employment while considering ban on firecrackers. A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said its prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens. “Our prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens. We have to strike a balance between employment, unemployment and the right to life of the citizens...Under the guise of employment of a few, we cannot permit infringing of the right to life of other citizens,” the bench said. “Laws are there but ultimately implementation has to be there. Our order should be implemented in true spirit,” the bench said. Senior advocate Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing for manufacturers’ association of firecrackers, said that Diwali is approaching on 4 November and they want Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) to take a decision. He said the government should decide the matter as lakhs of people are unemployed. The senior advocate said contempt must be heard and taken to a logical end but the plight of lakhs of people who are working in the industry should also be looked into. Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appearing for the petitioner Arjun Gopal, said series of orders have been passed by the top court and directions have been given that PESO will give final clearance to firecrackers that are safer. As Nadkarni interrupted Sankaranarayanan, the bench in a lighter vein said, “We don’t want any bursting of crackers in the courtroom. Everybody will get a chance. Also, I’m afraid of firecrackers.” Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Ministry of Environment and Forests, said an affidavit was filed by the ministry in October 2020 and if the top court takes note of it all the interim applications will be covered in that. All ex- perts have come together and suggested formulations on green crackers. The apex court had earlier refused to impose complete ban on sale of firecrackers. Online sale of firecrackers has been completely banned. The verdict had come in response to a plea seeking a ban on manufacturing and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution. In the past, SC had said that while deciding on a ban on firecrackers, it is imperative to take into account the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people of the country. The top court is likely to continue hearing this matter today. Former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar today joined Congress saying the oldest party has to be strengthened to “save” the Constitution and the “idea” of India. Kumar addressed a Press conference at the Congress headquarters along with Independent Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who extended his support to Congress ideology. Mevani said he would formally join the party later and fight elections on Congress ticket. The two met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said Sidhu is a misguided missile who only works for himself. A Sidhu supporter, Sultana said he is a man of principles and is fighting for Punjab. Sultana along with Cabinet minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Punjab Congress working president Kuljeet Nagra visited Sidhu’s residence in Patiala. An AAP legislator who joined Congress, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, urged Congress top brass to resolve the issues flagged by Sidhu even if the party had to “take back a few decisions”. He said that those in the center of controversies (ministers in Channi government) should voluntarily step down. (See also page 3) UP senior IAS officer to face SIT probe over ‘religious conversion’ KANPUR, 28 SEPTEMBER The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday ordered an inquiry by a special investigation team after a senior IAS officer was seen in some video clips at a gathering at his home where religious conversion was being allegedly discussed. In one of the purported videos, Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) chairman Mohammed Iftikharuddin is seen sitting with a group of men, apparently clerics, and is heard saying that it is their duty to spread Islam to every home. In a related video, the 1985-batch IAS officer is seen sitting at a gathering where another man is talking allegedly in a provocative manner about the merits of converting to Islam. The videos were said to be taken at the camp officecum-official residence of the official when he was the Kanpur divisional commissioner in between 2014 to 2017. Iftikharuddin, currently posted in Lucknow, first denied being present at the gathering but later admitted that he was present there. “What did I say wrong? I have been misinterpreted,” he told the reporter in Hindi. The team will be headed by DG CB-CID G L Meena and ADG Bhanu Bhaskar will be its member. It will send its report to the government in a week, the official said. National vice-president of ‘Math Mandir Samanvai Samiti’ Bhupesh Awasthi has made a written complaint with the state government against the IAS officer and submitted copies of the videos. Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said the inquiry was instituted into the matter when his attention was drawn PTI to the videos.
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