FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 DECEMBER 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘CAN'T SEE CONG SECURING 300 SEATS IN 2024 LS POLLS’ AIADMK SHUTS THE DOOR ON SASIKALA P4 Partly cloudy sky. Shallow fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 22 and 12 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the Centre and state governments over the severe air pollution in the national capital. The apex court said apart from sloganeering nothing was happening on the ground to improve the air quality. The top court said the governments need to take action within 24 hours to curb air pollution in the capital. The bench said: "If you do not act, we will step in...we have extraordinary steps in mind." The top court directed Centre and states to be serious on reducing air pollution and scheduled the next hearing on the matter on Friday. Questioning the utility of having a commission for air quality management, if it ends up having on board people from different departments, the top court said it seems like having no Dr VK Paul, Member-Health of NITI Aayog said that the priority of the Centre is to fully vaccinate the adult population of the country and urged people to get fully vaccinated. Min: 13.4°C (+4) SUN SETS 17:24 hrs MOON SETS 16:34 hrs It’s too early to assess whether Omicron causes more severe infection. THUMBNAILS LAV AGARWAL JOINT SECRETARY, UNION HEALTH MINISTRY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 DECEMBER O Opposition MPs stage a protest at the Parliament premises over the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs, in New Delhi on Thursday. ANI India rejects OHCHR statement: India took cognizance of the statement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on specific incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, asserting the statement makes baseless and unfounded allegations against law enforcement authorities and security forces. It also betrays a complete lack of understanding on the part of the OHCHR of the security challenges faced by India from cross-border terrorism, MEA (P5) spokesman Arindam Bagchi said. WTA suspends tournaments in China: The Women's Tennis Association has announced immediate suspension of all women's tournaments in China amid concern over Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.Peng, 35, disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault. WTA chief Steve Simon said that he has "serious doubts" that Peng was "free, safe and not (P12) subject to intimidation". Mirzapur actor found dead: Actor Brahma Mishra, known for essaying the role of Lalit in the web series Mirzapur, was found dead at his home in Mumbai's suburban Versova on Thursday. Mishra was found on the bathroom floor of his house where he lived alone, and may have suffered a heart attack, police said. NEW DELHI, 2 DECEMBER In a bid to resolve the ongoing stand-off on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India and China are likely to hold the 14th round of corps commander talks in the second half of December. “The invitation for the 14th round of talks has to come from the Chinese side. It is likely that the talks would be held in the second half of December,” government sources said. The sources said the timing would be suitable for India as the armed force would be busy with the celebrations as it is the golden jubilee of crushing defeat of Pakistan and Indian victory in the 1971 war till December 16.India and China have been holding the talks on the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh area to resolve the standoff and 13 rounds have been held so far.The two sides are looking at the resolution of the Hot Springs friction point which emerged after the Chinese aggression least year. The friction points on the banks of the Pangong lake and Gogra heights have been resolved but Hot Springs remains to be addressed, the sources said.India has also been demanding the resolution of the DBO area and CNN junction area which have been there before the April-May timeframe last year and are considered to be legaANI cy issues. P12 Delhi: SC sets 24 hrs deadline for govt to act on air pollution Min: 70% India, China disengagement talks in Dec second half P9 Two cases of Omicron variant found in K’taka TEMPERATURE Max: 19.8°C (-5) SUN RISES 06:59 hrs MOON RISES 18:47 hrs P5 Contacts of the duo have been identified and are under observation: ICMR chief WEATHER Max: 95% 'CLARITY ON SOUTH AFRICA TOUR SOON' US WARNS RUSSIA AS KREMLIN TALKS ABOUT WAR THREAT micron, the newest variant of Covid has gained entry in India as two persons in Karnataka were found to be positive for Omicron, after genome sequencing, Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said here on Thursday. Both cases have travel history to South Africa. “Two cases of Omircron have been detected in Karnataka so far through genome sequencing effort of INSACOG consortium of 37 laboratories established by the Ministry of Health. We need not panic, but awareness is absolutely essential. Covid appropriate behaviour is required," Bhargava said. The contacts of the duo who tested positive for the latest variant have been identified and are under monitoring, he said. "All Omicron related cases are found to have mild symptoms so far. No severe symptoms have been noticed in all such cases, both in the country and abroad. The WHO has said that the virus' emerging evidence is being studied," said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry. Around 29 countries across the world have reported 373 cases of Omicron so far, he said. Addressing a press conference on the ongoing Covid situation, Agrawal said that a surge in cases is being observed across the world, with Europe alone reporting 70 per cent of the cases in the past one week. He said that passengers arriving from ‘at risk’ countries need to undergo RTPCR test on arrival and undergo home quarantine for at least 7 days even if they test negative. If found positive for Covid-19, they will be treated under clinical management protocol. Amid the Omicron variant scare, Dr VK Paul, Member-Health of NITI Aayog on Thursday said that the priority of the Centre is to fully vaccinate the adult population of the country against the Covid-19 and urged people get fully vaccinated. When asked about the booster dose of the Covid19 vaccine, Dr Paul, said that the Omicron variant is being examined and a decision will be taken on the basis of the examination reports. "The Omicron variant of Covid is being carefully examined, will take decisions on the basis of it, it is an ongoing discussion within our technical and scientific circles. Scientific reasoning for providing boosters at what timing, for which vaccine, all that is under examination. Cur- One Omicron patient already recovered, another in quarantine INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE BENGALURU,2 DECEMBER With the first-ever cases of the Omicron variant being detected India with two people testing positive for it in Karnataka, the state authorities have gone into a huddle to chalk out the course of action to deal with the emerging situation. The state capital's civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has called an emergency meeting at the Covid war room. According to Health Department sources, one of the infected people has already recovered, while the other is in under hotel quarantine in Bengaluru. The BBMP has tracked primary contacts of the two infected persons. While 12 primary contacts of the first infected person tested negative, 212 primary contacts of second infected have been quarantined and their results are awaited. All are asymptomatic. According to officials, the first infected person arrived from South Africa on November 1 and the rently, our priority is very clear - complete the task of vaccinating all adults with both doses," Dr Paul stated.“Increased vaccine uptake need of the hour, do not delay in getting fully vaccinated," he added. Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry informed that over 125 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country. Meanwhile, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Lok Sabha on Thurs- 3,46,06,541 99,763 9,765 8,548 4,69,724 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 02 DECEMBER 2021 Bengal registered 657 fresh cases and 12 deaths. second one between November 15 and 20. The first infected person has completed quarantine and is healthy and the second one is also asymptomatic and all right, sources said. State health and medical education minister K. Sudhakar had earlier stated that around 2,500 international passengers arrive in Karnataka every day and it is now mandatory for everyone to undergo RTPCR testing.The state has already discussed the health care services including availability of beds, oxygen beds and deployment of doctors. day that the Omicron variant is a setback for resuming international travel. Answering questions during Question Hour, he said that the WHO and International Air Transport Association should jointly formulate a common protocol for air travel. "At present we have air bubble agreement with 31 countries and have a proposal with 10 other nations to start air bubble agreement", he said. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 DECEMBER Safdarjung tomb seen shrouded in haze. ANI power to enforce decision, and gave 24 hours to the government to come up with concrete ways to curb air pollution. A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said the emergency situation needs emergency measures. The Chief Justice told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, "You have to work with creativity...if things are not working." In connection with measures to curb air pollution, the Chief Justice added, "We have to do something extraordinary...we cannot enforce or induce creativity in your Putin arriving for summit on 6 Dec STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 DECEMBER Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in New Delhi next Monday, 6 December, for the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “There will be a series of meetings that day (6 December)....We foresee an intensive engagement,” MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said at the weekly briefing referring especially to the the inaugural ‘2 plus 2’ dialogue of the Foreign and Defence ministers of India and Russia. Besides the '2Plus2' meet, external affairs minister Jaishankar will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. At the much expected '2 Plus 2' meeting, defence minister Rajnath Singh and Jaishankar will represent the Indian side in the dialogue with Lavrov and the Russian defence minister Ser- gei Shoigu. The leaders will discuss bilateral, regional and international and defence related issues. The 21st Annual Summit meet between Putin and Modi will be held on 6 December, Bagchi said. This will be the first face to face meeting between the two leaders after their meeting on the side-lines of the BRICS summit in Brasilia in November 2019. After SC rap, schools in Delhi closed again: All schools in Delhi will be closed from December 3, said Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday. “All schools in Delhi to be closed from tomorrow till further orders, due to current air pollution levels in the city," Rai said. His statement comes after the SC pulled up the Delhi government for opening schools amid the rising air pollution levels (P2) in the city. ANI bureaucracy, you have to come up with some steps". The bench asked Mehta, 'What is the Commission for Air Quality Management doing and pointed out that the judges went through the names and designation of people in the commission'. “It looks like a government of India organisation with all departments together”, said the bench. Param Bir suspended MUMBAI, 2 DEC EMBER In a significant decision, the Maharashtra government has suspended former Mumbai Police Commissioner and current CommandantGeneral, State Home Guards, Param Bir Singh, it was announced on Thursday. The suspension of Singh, an IPS 1988 batch officer and declared a 'Proclaimed Offender' by a Mumbai court last month - follows a probe report submitted by additional chief secretary Debashish Chakravarti to the state government. Among other things, the report had recommended action against Singh for defying the All India Civil Service Rules, even as he became “untraceable” for nearly six months and resurfaced a week ago (last Thursday) in IANS Mumbai. Dam Safety Bill passed in RS Mamata opportunist: Cong over ‘no UPA’ remark STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 DECEMBER The Dam Safety Bill, 2019, providing for maintenance of dams across the country, today received Parliamentary approval after the Rajya Sabha passed it, rejecting the Opposition’s strong demand to refer it to a Select Committee for allegedly encroaching upon States’ rights. Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Sekhawat told the House that the Bill, already passed by the Lok Sabha in August, 2019, was based on the report given by a Parliamentary Standing Committee which had examined it. The Opposition’s demand for the Select Committee reference was rejected by a divi- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The Opposition’s demand for reference to a select committee was rejected by a division of votes, which showed only 26 members supported it and 80 members were against it sion of votes, which showed only 26 members supported it and 80 members were against it. In their objections to the Bill, the Opposition not only raised the issue of attack on federalism but pointed out that committee structures envisaged under the Bill would have all members nominated by the Centre.The States would implement all directives of the Central Government and bear all expenditure for the works, they said. The issue had kept a sizable strength of the Opposition away from the proceedings. Replying to the three-hour debate, Sekhawat said after the Morvi dam disaster in Gujarat, there was talk of creating a system for protection of dams. Venugopal on Parl deadlock: Amidst the deadlock between the government and Opposition over the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs in the Parliament's winter session, Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal said the agitation will continue. “We will continue with our agitation, but we will also raise the issues concerning the common people in the House,”he said. NEW DELHI, 2 DECEMBER Cornered and left red-faced by Mamata Baneree’s “no UPA” remarks, the Congress on Thursday made a blistering attack on the Trinamul Congress chief calling her opportunist. “Unhe bhi atma manthan karne ki jarurat hae (Mamata Banerjee also needs to do an honest soul searching)," Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters here. “You have been to NDA four times and have entered into alliance with Congress multiple times, then you try to teach us on ideology and principles is not proper,” Surjewala said in presence of senior leaders including Malikarjun Kharge and Adhir Cong leadership not divine right, says PK: Poll strategist Prashant Kishor has once again targeted senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying no individual has the “divine right” to leadership. Kishor, in a tweet, said, “The IDEA and SPACE that #Congress represents is vital for a strong opposition. But Congress' leadership is not the DIVINE RIGHT of an individual especially, when the party has lost more than 90per centelections in last 10 years.” “Let opposition leadership be decided Democratically," he added. Hitting back at Kishor, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said: "The individual being discussed here is pursuing his Divine Duty to struggle and save Indian democracy from the RSS”. Ranjan Chowdhury He reminded Banerjee that she has been hobnobbing with the BJP from time to time and was railway minister under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and also that she had once termed BJP as her party's natural ally. “There is a difference between fighting for ideology and political opportunism. You kept changing sides between NDA and UPA as per your convenience, you should not give us lessons on ideology,” Surjewala said. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress leader in Lok Sabha said that by her machinations and 'misusing' names such as Sharad Pawar (NCP chief), Banerjee is only helping the BJP . He further said, “Twenty per cent of popular votes are with the Congress while TMC is having only four per cent popular votes. Can you fight Narendra Modi without this share of 20 percent votes?". Congress general secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal said that any attempt to take on BJP without Congress would only end up as a dream. After her meeting Pawar, Banerjee had said, in the presence of Pawar, “What UPA? There is no UPA anymore. We will sit and decide on how to form a new block.” PM chairs meeting on cycloneJawad, asks officials to ensure safe evacuation of people STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 DECEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness of states and central ministries and concerned agencies to deal with the situation arising out of the likely formation of cyclone Jawad. The PM directed officials to take every possible measure to ensure that people are safely evacuated and that all essential services such as power, telecommunications, health, drinking water etc. are restored immediately in the event of any disruption. He further directed them The IMD has said that a low pressure region in the Bay of Bengal is expected to intensify into Cyclone Jawad and is expected to reach the coast of North Andhra-Odisha around morning of 4 December to ensure adequate storage of essential medicines and supplies and to plan for unhindered movement. He also directed the 24 x 7 functioning of control rooms. India Meteorological Department informed that low pressure region in the Bay of Bengal is expected to intensify into Cyclone Jawad and is expected to reach the PM Narendra Modi meets with senior officials over preparations to cope with cyclone Jawad in New Delhi on Thursday. ANI coast of North Andhra Pradesh ~ Odisha around morning of 4 December, with the wind speed ranging up to 100 kmph. It is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha & Bengal. IMD has been issuing regular bulletins with the latest forecast to all the concerned states. The Cabinet Secretary has reviewed the situation and preparedness with chief secretaries of all the coastal states and central ministries/ agencies concerned. The Ministry of Home Affairs is reviewing the situation 24 x7 and is in touch with the state governments/ UTs and the central agencies concerned. The MHA has already released the first instalment of SDRF in advance to all states. NDRF has pre-positioned 29 teams which are equipped with boats, treecutters, telecom equipment etc. in the states and has kept 33 teams on standby, an official statement said Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief, search and rescue operations. Air Force and engineer task force units of the Army, with boats and rescue equipment, are on standby for deployment. Surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out serial surveillance along the coast. Disaster relief teams and medical teams are standby at locations along the eastern coast. The Ministry of Power has activated emergency response systems and is keeping in readiness transformers, DG sets and equipment etc. for immediate restoration of electricity. The Ministry of Communications is keeping all the telecom towers and exchanges under constant watch and is fully geared to restore telecom networks. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued an advisory to the states/ UTs, likely to be affected, for health sector preparedness and response to Covid in affected areas. The states have also been asked to alert the industrial establishments such as Chemical & Petrochemical units near the coast.
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