MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 18 OCTOBER 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ASEAN DOWNGRADES MYANMAR PRESENCE IN SUMMIT P9 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Light rain/thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 29 and 20 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 003.3 Mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 100% ‘PROUD OF THE TEAM’ JAISHANKAR IN ISRAEL TO CONSOLIDATE TIES OFFENSIVE LAW P6 P4 Kerala flash floods: Deaths mount to 23 P12 FAREWELL Heavy rains pound south and central Kerala; PM Modi speaks to CM Vijayan Min: 77% TEMPERATURE Max: 30.4°C (-2) SUN RISES 06:24 hrs MOON RISES 16:51 hrs Min: 23.5°C (+4) SUN SETS 17:49 hrs MOON SETS 05:00 hrs THUMBNAILS NDRF personnel conduct a search and rescue operation at the landslide-affected area at Kokkayar, in Idukki; (right) an ANI PHOTOS area is flooded following incessant rainfall, in Pathanamthitta on Sunday. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 17 OCTOBER ISKCON members take part in a silent protest against the alleged attack on an ISKCON temple in Bangladesh. In New Delhi on Sunday. IANS Fuel prices hiked again: Fuel prices were hiked on Sunday for the fourth consecutive day, mainly due to surging global crude oil prices. In the national capital, petrol prices were hiked by 35 paise from Rs 105.49 per litre to Rs 105.84 per litre, while diesel rates were also hiked by 35 paise from Rs 94.22 to Rs 94.57 according to Indian Oil Corporation. (P8) Pilot's body found 75 days after crash: The body of a pilot, who went missing after a helicopter crash near Punjab's Pathankot on 3 August, was found on Sunday. Captain Jayant Joshi was the second pilot of the Army helicopter which crashed into Ranjit Sagar Dam. Rail roko today over Lakhimpur violence: The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has decided to go on with their rail roko agitation on 18 October pressing for the demand of the removal of the minister whose son Ashish Mishra has been arrested in Lakhimpur Kheri violence. B’desh violence: Intel alert in all West Bengal border districts KOLKATA, 17 OCTOBER In the wake of the communal violence in Bangladesh and considering the immersion of Durga idols followed by Fateha-Dwaz-Daham (Eid Milad un Nabi/Prophet Muhammad’s birth celebration) in West Bengal, the state intelligence department has issued an alert to all the districts particularly those bordering Bangladesh and asked the authorities to sensitize the officers to avoid any kind of untoward incident. In a detailed alert sent to DG, ADG (Law and Order) and all the SPs and Commissioners, issued by the Additional Director General (Intelligence Branch) said, “Input further received reveals that some incidents of vandalism and arson on Hindu temples, Durga Puja pandals are reportedly taking place in Noakhali district and Chittagong district in Bangladesh after completion of Jumma Namaj. Iskcon temple at Noakhali has also been vandalised”. "Since 13.10.21 the social media platforms have been flooded with posts of vandalism of Durga Puja pandals in Bangladesh. Centering these issues, bordering districts of Indo-Bangladesh border have become hyper sensitive and the leaders of different Hindu fundamentalist organisations of India are urging PM Modi to take necessary steps for the immediate relief of the people of Bangladesh,” the ANI alert said. (More on Pg 4) T he death toll due to flash floods and landslides caused by heavy rains in Kerala rose to 23 on Sunday with six more bodies were recovered by search and rescue workers from Kokkayar in Idukki. Fourteen deaths were reported in Kottayam’s Koottickal and eight deaths were reported in Idukki. A child has drowned in Kozhikode district. As heavy rains pounded south and central Kerala,a series of landslides had struck the eastern high ranges of Kottayam district and the western part of Idukki district. Koottickal panchayat in Kottayam bore the brunt of the rain fury, with three houses and a tea shop washed away in two different landslides reported in Plappalli and Kavali. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted that the intense spell of rainfall activity over Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is likely to reduce from Sunday. Spoke to Kerala CM Shri @vijayanpinarayi and discussed the situation in the wake of heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Authorities are working on the ground to assist the injured and affected. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being PM NARENDRA MODI An entire family ~ grandmother, father, mother and three girls~ were washed away in the landslide occurred at Kootickal panchayat in Kottayam . Earlier, several persons were reported missing in the landslide at Kokkayar in Idukki Meanwhile, the heavy rains which had been pounding central and southern Kerala for the past few days abated on Sunday.However, the rainrelated misery continues in various parts of the state. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 11 teams for search, rescue and relief operations in the state. Meanwhile, the Army, Navy and Air Force have also stepped in on state government’s request to help the civil administration handle the situation Prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spoke to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation in the wake of heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. The Prime Minister expressed condolences to the bereaved families and assured the people in the state that the authorities are working on the ground to assist the injured and affected. “Spoke to Kerala CM Shri @vijayanpinarayi and discussed the situation in the wake of heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Authorities are working on the ground to assist the injured and affected. I pray for everyone’s safety and wellbeing,” the PM tweeted. Union home minister Amit Shah said on Sunday that the Centre would provide all possible assistance to the people of Kerala who have been affected by heavy rains and resulting floods Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said as many as 105 relief camps were opened in the state after the rise in water levels in low-lying areas and the people should be ready to move relief camps in the light of more isolated rains predicted by the weather agencies. The state government has also made arrangements to open more camps in various parts of the state. ‘Last chance for resurrection’: Sidhu writes to Sonia INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 17 OCTOBER Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday wrote a letter to the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi highlighting ‘priority areas that Punjab government must deliver upon.’ Sidhu’s letter read, “After multiple deliberations and consultations with party workers from across Punjab and with a deep understanding of the public sentiment over 17 years of public life, I express with a lot of pain in my heart that this is Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption." "Request you to kindly give me a personal audience to present to you the Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress Manifesto for the 2022 Assembly elections, which is separate from this by Request you to kindly give me a personal audience to present to you the Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress Manifesto for the 2022 Assembly elections, for the long-term vision to be implemented over a longer period of time, have crafted it through years of consultations and feedback from the People of Punjab. I express with a lot of pain in my heart that this is Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption means of its long-term vision to be implemented over a longer period of time, have crafted it through years of consultations with academics, civil society, party workers and feedback from the People of Punjab," Sidhu wrote. Saying that Punjab is submerged under lakhs of crores of debt due to gross financial mismanagement over the last 25 years and diversion of public resources making a few powerful people rich and having left the state debt-distressed, he said it has been supplemented Singhu border killing: Three sent to 6-day police custody ASIAN NEWS INTERNATIONAL SONIPAT, 17 OCTOBER Three accused in the Singhu Border incident, where the mutilated body of a man was found hanging at the site of farmers’ protest, have been sent to six-day police custody by the Sonipat court on Sunday. The accused persons are Narayan Singh, Bhagwant Singh and Govind Preet Singh. The police, while seeking 14-day custody of the accused argued in the court that it needs to identify other co-accused in the case who the accused know only by their faces and also recover some blood-stained clothes from the time of the crime. They added that the accused have to be taken to other places in connection with other arrests in the case. On Friday, a body of a man, with hands and legs chopped off, was found hanging on a police barricade at the farmers’ protest site near the Singhu border Narayan Singh, a Nihang Sikh who is allegedly involved in killing farm labourer Lakhbir Singh at the Singhu border was arrested by the Punjab police on Saturday. Earlier on Friday, a body of a man, with hands and legs chopped off, was found hanging on a police barricade at the farmers’ protest site near the Singhu border. The man was identified as Lakhbir Singh resident of village Cheema Khurd in Tarn Taran district of Punjab. The deceased is about 3536 years old and used to work as a labourer. (More on Pg 5) by seven years of BJP rule discriminating against Punjab while paying its financial dues such as GST payments, rural development fund payments, post-matric scholarship for Scheduled Castes payments. Sidhu said, “Subsequently, the increasing debt overhead of Punjab has led to our financial resources being used for merely paying-off the old debt and interest upon it. “While, every year have to take new debt to support basic development works, to invest in 60:40 shared Central devel- opment schemes, providing healthcare, education and infrastructure needs of the State. “Punjab has nearly one lakh of government posts vacant, due to lack of resources, government hirings are at lowest wages and contractual, school teachers have to work on probation for four years on minimum wages, delays in implementation of 6th Pay Commission by five years are all due to state not having enough resources.” “Today, I further write to your esteemed self with priority areas among the 18-point agenda, 2017 campaign and manifesto promises that the state government must deliver upon. Beginning with the issues for justice of the soul of Punjab, whose torch-bearer was our leader Rahul Gandhi Ji, having left no stone unturned in fight for justice to Punjab,” he added. Immersion of an idol of Goddess Durga in river Hooghly near Babughat in Kolkata on SNS Sunday. Terrorists kill two Bihari labourers in Kashmir; 1 injured Terrorists continue to targeting non-Kashmiris in the valley The attacks comes a day after terrorists had shot a Bihari street vendor and a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 17 OCTOBER Two labourers from Bihar were shot dead in the Wanpoh locality of Kulgam district on Sunday evening as terrorists continued targeting nonKashmiris in the valley. Another Bihari labourer was critically injured and has been rushed to hospital for treatment. Reports said that terrorists barged into a house in which the labourers were residing and indiscriminately opened fire injuring three persons. Two of them died on the spot as they received multiple bullets injuries, taking the number of civilians killed in targeted attacks in Jammu and Kashmir this month to 11. The deceased have been identified as Raja Rishi Dev and Joginder. The injured has been identified as Chun Chun Dev. Confirming the killings, the police said; “Terrorists fired indiscriminately upon nonlocal labourers at Wanpoh area of Kulgam. In this terror incident, 2 non-locals were killed and 1 injured. Police and security forces cordoned off the area. Further details shall follow”. Security forces have cordoned the area and launched search operation for the terrorists. Labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are these days engaged by orchardists in Kashmir to pluck apple and pack it in boxes. Terrorists had on Saturday shot a Bihari street vendor and a carpenter from UP. Security has been tightened across Kashmir in view of the string of terror attacks on civilians. In the aftermath of the killings of four civilians by terrorists, there were reports that the J&K administration had ordered immediate shifting of non-Kashmiri labourers across the valley to the nearest camps of security forces and police for their safety. However, police sources denied the report as “fake”. Poonch encounter enters seventh day: Three persons, including a mother-son duo, were on Sunday detained for questioning as the ongoing counter-terrorism operation in the forest belt of Jammu’s Poonch and Rajouri border districts entered a seventh day without any success in neutralising the highlytrained terrorists who are believed to have recently infiltrated through the Line of Control. India set to host NSA-level talks on Afghanistan in November; Pak also invited NEW DELHI, 17 OCTOBER India is all set to soon host a national security advisor (NSA) level regional conference in New Delhi on Afghanistan. This will be the first-of-its-kind dialogue to be hosted by India. The tentative dates of the proposed in-person dialogue are 10-11 November. It is learnt that the conference will be in a format similar to the regional security conference held earlier in Iran in 2019. Those invited to the NSAlevel meeting include countries in the neighbourhood of Afghanistan~ Russia, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is learnt that that invite has also been extended to Pakistan’s NSA Moeed Yusuf, although there is no official confirmation on the conference and invitation yet, it is learnt that preparations are underway. India, a big player in the region, has been planning to hold a conference on Afghanistan earlier but the move was first derailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and later due to the unceremonious takeover of Kabul by the Taliban in August 2021. Meanwhile, India will also be sending high ranking officials to the Moscow Format dialogue scheduled on 20 October, where representatives of the Taliban will also be present. Terrorism, humanitarian assistance to Afghans and recognition of the Talibanled regime are key issues India will likely to add to the agenda of the talks. India has also expressed its willingness to extend humanitarian assistance to ANI Afghans. ‘Scientific rationale to dictate Covid vaccination for minors’ SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 17 OCTOBER The government will take a final decision on vaccinating children and adolescents against coronavirus on the basis of overall scientific rationale as well as the supply situation of vaccines available for those below 18 years old, Covid Task Force chief V K Paul said on Sunday. Mr. Paul also cautioned that even though infections are coming down and the second wave is subsiding, it will not be fair now to say that the worst is over since many countries have seen more than two waves. Currently, three vaccines ~ Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V ~ being administered in the country are only for those above 18 years of age. All of them are two-dose vaccines. Zydus Cadila’s indigenously developed needle-free Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D is set to become the Zydus Cadila’s indigenously developed needle-free Covid19 vaccine ZyCoV-D is set to become the first vaccine that will be available in India for those in the age group of 1218 years. It has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) Even though infections are coming down and the second wave is subsiding, it will not be fair now to say that the worst is over since many countries have seen more than two waves 3,40,67,719 1,95,846 14,146 19,788 COVID TASK FORCE CHIEF V K PAUL first vaccine that will be available in India for those in the age group of 12-18 years. It has received Emergency Use Authorisation. “We do know that several countries have introduced vaccination for adolescents (people) and children. We will take a final decision based on the overall scientific rationale and the supply situation of the child licenced vaccines, going forward,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. An expert panel of India’s central drug authority has recommended granting EUA to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children and adolescents in the 218 years age group with certain conditions. If approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), it will be the second vaccine after ZyCoV-D to get EUA for use among those below 18 years. The National Technical 4,52,124 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 17 OCTOBER 2021 Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is looking at how ZyCov-D should be positioned for most optimum use. “A pragmatic decision (on vaccination of children and adolescents) can be taken (only) by balancing the supply and the potential eligibility,” he said. According to Paul, children are part and parcel of the chains of Covid transmission and are infected in large numbers. At the same time, Covid infections in children are very mild or asymptomatic, and that is one side of the story. On the other side, he said that once there is enough vaccine available that can be used in children, “so why not protect them”. Schools have reopened in many states, mainly for higher classes.Cautioning that the country is passing through a phase when there are festivals and potential gatherings, he said this is a critical phase as the virus can spread again. Delhi cases: The national capital recorded 32 Covid-19 positive cases on Sunday following 44,867 tests conducted across the national capital, according to the figures provided by the Delhi government through its health bulletin. (SEE P2)
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