WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 JANUARY 2022 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR MEDIA CLOSURE UNRELATED TO PRESS FREEDOM: LAM P6 RUDDERLESS IN SUDAN ELIZABETH HOLMES CONVICTED OF FRAUD P10 WEATHER GENERALLY CLOUDY SKY WITH LIGHT RAIN/THUNDERSHOWERS. THE MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM TEMPERATURES WOULD BE AROUND 19 AND 11 DEGREES CELSIUS RESPECTIVELY. HOCKEY ASIA CUP: SAVITA AIMS FOR GOOD SHOW P12 P6 Weekend lockdown in Delhi from 8 January RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY WFH for most govt offices; 50 per cent staff strength at private offices Max: 95% STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE 37,379 new Covid cases, Omicron tally at 1,892 Min: 41% TEMPERATURE Max: 23.2°C (+4) SUN RISES 07:15 hrs MOON RISES 10:19 hrs Min: 08.5°C (+1) SUN SETS 17:39 hrs MOON SETS 20:33 hrs THUMBNAILS Police personnel imposing a fine on a commuter for not wearing a face mask, in Chennai on ANI Tuesday. Bulli Bai mastermind arrested: A woman, who is allegedly the mastermind behind the notorious "Bulli Bai" app, was held by a Mumbai Police team from Uttarakhand. This comes a day after a Mumbai Police held a 21-year-old engineering student from Bengaluru, in connection with the controversy, which cropped on January 1, where the photos of a number of women of a particular religion including of journalists, social workers, students and famous personalities were posted as "available for booking". D elhi will undergo a weekend lockdown from 8 January till further orders in view of rising Covid-19 cases in the city. Stating this while addressing a press conference, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia appealed to the residents of the national capital to stay at home. He said people should leave their houses only in case of an emergency or in need of essential services. Except for essential services, all government officials/employees will work from home. Private offices will function at a maximum of 50 per cent capacity. DTC buses and Delhi Metro services will run on full capacity, but no person will be allowed to enter or travel in a bus or a Metro train without a face mask. Sisodia further said that on the basis of the experience so far, experts believe that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was not fatal and the Delhi government was fully prepared to fight it. He PARIS, 4 JANUARY WB govt allows flights 3 times a week from Delhi, Mumbai STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE French researchers have detected a new Covid variant, probably of Cameroonian origin, and have temporarily named it as 'IHU'. The new variant from the lineage named B.1.640.2 is believed to have infected 12 people in the coun- CHANDIGARH, 4 JANUARY A health worker administers a dose of Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager at a vaccination centre at Jang Pura, in the SNS Capital on Tuesday. said residents need not panic, but everyone must wear a face mask in public and follow Covid protocols. In view of the increasing coronavirus cases in Delhi, four important decisions were taken at a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) today. First, there will be a weekend curfew along with the night curfew. The total curfew in Delhi will be implemented on Saturdays and Sundays. Second, all government offices will remain completely closed except for essentialserviceslikehospitals, etc. The rest of the employees will work from home. Third, private offices will run with no more than 50 per cent staff capacity. Fourth, Metro services and buses will run with full capacity in Delhi to control the crowd and prevent Metro stations and bus standsfrombecoming"superspreaders" of Covid-19. Mr Sisodia said the number of Covid-19 cases, especially of Omicron, were increasing in Delhi and the situation was worrying. “We got to learn many things from the past two waves and this has als helped us learn from the international trend that Omicron has not been very destructive till now. Still we need to be prepared and take this situation seriously,” he pointed out. try, according to a yet-tobe peer-reviewed study supported by the French Government. It has 46 mutations and 37 deletions. “For twelve SARS-CoVpositive patients living in the same geographical area of southeastern France, qPCR testing that screen for variant-associated muta- tions showed an atypical combination," said Philippe Colson, from IHU Mediterranee Infection, Marseille, France. According to the study, the index case (the first patient) was an vaccinated adult who had returned to France from a trip to Cameroon, in central Africa. In view of the surge in Covid cases, the Punjab government on Tuesday clamped night curfew and shut educational institutes till 15 January. No restrictions have been announced regarding political meetings or rallies in the poll bound state. The fresh curbs were announced after chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi chaired a review meeting to take stock of the Covid situation in the state. Movement of individuals for non-essential activities will remain prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. within municipal limits of all cities and towns of Punjab. Bars, cinemas halls, multiplexes, malls, restaurants, spas, museums, zoos, etc, shall be allowed to operate at 50 per cent of their capacity. AC buses will run at 50 per cent of capacity. Only fully vaccinated staff will be allowed to attend government as well as private establishments. Covid cases in Punjab have been rapidly rising. The state, which clocked 51 cases on December 28, reported 419 cases yesterday. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 JANUARY With 1,892 new Omicron Covid-19 cases reported from various parts of the country on Tuesday and daily positivity rate increasing to 3.24 per cent, while altogether 37,379 new Covid cases were reported during the past 24 hours, it appears that the novel coronavirus has again begun spreading exponentially in almost all parts of the country Among other states, Maharashtra has reported 18,466 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, while Delhi reported 5,481 new infections in the same period, pushing the positivity rate to 8.37 per cent, the highest in over seven 5,481 fresh cases in Delhi STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 JANUARY The single-day count of Covid-19 cases in the city shot up to 5,481 on Tuesday with the positivity rate rising to 8.37 per cent, according to the latest health bulletin issued by the Delhi gov(SEE P 2) ernment. months. Most of the Omicron cases have been reported from Maharashtra (568), Delhi (383) and Kerala (185). According to the data available so far, the new variant has been reported in 23 states and Union Territories, while four states (Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Manipur) reported only one case each, said a senior officer of the Health Ministry. The exponential increase in active cases could be judged from the fact that on December 26 total number of active cases was 76,766, which has increased to 1,71,830 ~ 123 % increase in just nine days. The daily positivity rate has also increased from 0.74 (on December 26) to 3.24 on Tuesday ~ more than four times in just nine days, revealed the data released by the Union Health Ministry. The weekly positivity rate, meanwhile, is at 2.05 per cent. Rajnath to receive presentation on Indian Army displays tricolour in Galwan valley CDS chopper crash inquiry today STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 4 JANUARY ASIAN NEWS INTERNATIONAL NEW DELHI, 4 JANUARY KOLKATA 4 JANUARY Apprehending problems that passengers may face, the West Bengal government today revised the guidelines on domestic flights from Mumbai and Delhi, allowing flights thrice a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 January. Earlier, the government had announced that flights would be announced only twice a week. State additional chief secretaray BP Gopalika today informed the Civil Aviation Ministry that flights from Mumbai and Delhi will be allowed thrice weekly. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE France detects new Covid variant ‘IHU’ INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE Court dismissed Future Group plea: Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the pleas moved by Future Group companies seeking a direction to the arbitration tribunal, which is adjudicating on Amazon's objections against their deal with Reliance, to take a decision on their application for the termination of the arbitration proceedings before moving any further. Justice Amit Bansal had earlier reserved the order on the petitions filed by two Future (P8) Group companies on 3 January. Punjab imposes night curfew, schools shut NEW DELHI, 4 JANUARY The tri-services inquiry team headed by an Indian Air Force officer is scheduled to make a detailed presentation to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the reasons behind the Mi-17 chopper crash that took place on December 8 which led to the death of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 12 other military personnel. A senior Indian Navy chopper pilot was part of the investigation into the crash and played an important role in the probe. An Army officer was also part of the inquiry team, government sources said here. "The inquiry team along with the Indian Air Force top brass is scheduled to make the detailed presentation in the crash and its reasons to the Defence Minister along with other senior functionaries of the ministry on Wednesday," defence sources told ANI. The tri-services inquiry team has also made some recommendations for revising the standard operating procedures while operating choppers carrying senior officials of the defence forces, the sources said. On the crash details, the sources said the Mi-17V5 was flying following a railway line in the hills when they entered a thick cloud cover that emerged suddenly. The chopper was flying at a low altitude and knowing the terrain, it is emerging that the crew decided to fly out of the cloud cover rather than landing and hit a cliff in the process, the sources said. The sources suggested that since the entire crew was 'master green' category, it seems they were confident that they would be able to wriggle out of the situation as there was no distress call made to the ground stations to suggest an emergency. Sources added that the 'Master green' category is given to the best of pilots in the transport aircraft and helicopter fleets of the three forces as they are the ones who can land or take off in low visibility as well. By unfurling the Indian tricolour in Ladakh's Galwan valley on the New Year, the Indian Army has debunked the claim of Chinese troops displaying their flag in the area to show their presence in the region. A picture of the Indian soldiers displaying the National Flag in the Galwan valley was shared on Tuesday by Shrikant Suse, district magistrate of Leh district in which the area falls. "Happy New Year from Galwan Valley, LehLadakh [flag icon] #2022", Suse tweeted. A picket of the Indian Army with the tricolour and the Regiment Flag flying over it is also seen in the picture. Galwan valley had wit- nessed bloody clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops in June 2020 and the latter have been deploying more troops in the valley. The Chinese propaganda machinery had a few days ago circulated videos of Chinese troops displaying their flag in the region. Indian Army sources had earlier debunked the claim and had stated that the spot where the Chinese flag was unfurled was not in the disputed area between the two countries. The spot was in fact in a de-militarised zone as agreed in the series of disengagement talks held by the two sides since the Galwan Valley clash of June 2020. Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks after the Galwan clashes have ended in stalemate. Disengagement has taken taken at some points along the Line of Control (LAC) but no breakthrough has so far come at Depsang and Hot Springs. India maintains that the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of the Chinese to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements. PM lambasts previous govts in Tripura for forcing people to stay in poverty STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 DECEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lashed out at previous governments in Tripura for allegedly forcing people of the state to live in want and poverty for decades. The Prime Minister’s remark came in his address to a public meeting in the state where he inaugurated the New Integrated Terminal Building of Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport among other projects worth crores of rupees. Modi also launched two flagship initiatives for the state including Mukhyamantri Tripura Gram Samridhi Yojana and Project Mission 100 of Vidyajyoti Schools in the State. Speaking in the presence of Tripura Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya, Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb, Union Ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Pratima Bhoumik besides state ministers and officials, Modi began his speech by greeting the people: “Shobai Ke Nomoshkar, Shokol Ke 2022 Borsher Onek Onek Shubhechha (Namaskar to all and many, many greetings of the year 2022 to everyone).” Prime Minister Modi said by the blessings of goddess Tripureshwari, the people of the State had gotten three gifts at the beginning of the New Year including Mukhyamantri Tripura Gram Samridhi Yojana and Project Mission 100 of Vidyajyoti Schools. The New Integrated Terminal Building of Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport is built at a cost of about Rs 450 crore and is a state of art building spread over 30,000 square meters having modern facilities and supported by the latest IT network- integrated system. Project Mission 100 of Vidyajyoti Schools seeks to improve the quality of education in the state by converting 100 existing High and Higher secondary schools to Vidyajyoti Schools with state of art facilities and quality education. The project will cover about 1.2 lakh students from Nursery to class XII and will cost around Rs 500 crores in the next three years. Mukhyamantri Tripura Gram Samridhi Yojana aims to achieve the benchmark standards for service delivery in core development sectors at the village level. The key sectors selected for this Yojana are household tap connections, domestic electricity connections, all-weather roads, functional toilets for every household, recommended immunization for every child, par- ticipation of women in Self Help Groups etc. The Prime Minister said the India of the 21st century will move forward by taking everyone along with the spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Prayas. Unbalanced development where some states lag behind and people deprived of even some basic facilities is not good. This is what the people of Tripura have seen for decades, he said. The Prime Minister recalled the times of rampant corruption and governments with no vision or intention of development of the state. After such a scenario, the Prime Minister said that the current regime came up with the Mantra of HIRA - H to Highway, I to Internet way, R to rail- ways and A to Airways for improving the connectivity in Tripura. He added that today Tripura is strengthening and expanding connectivity on the basis of the HIRA model. About the new airport, the Prime Minister said it is a blend of Tripura’s culture, natural beauty and modern facilities. “The airport will play a big role in enhancing air connectivity in the North East,” Modi said. The Prime MInister pointed out that work is going on in full earnest to make Tripura the gateway to the northeast. Road, rail, air and water connectivity infrastructure is getting unprecedented investment. This is turning Tripura into a new hub of business and industry as well as a trade corridor, he said. “There is no match for a double engine government when it comes to work with double speed. A double engine government means proper use of resources, it means sensitivity and boosting the power of the people, it means service and accomplishment of resolutions, it means united effort towards prosperity,” Modi said. The PM was all praise for Tripura’s record in taking the welfare schemes to the people. He lauded the state for launching Mukhyamantri Tripura Gram Samridhi Yojana which is aimed at fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of taking the schemes to people. “The scheme will promote tap water for every household, housing, Ayushman coverage, insurance cover, KCC and roads leading to enhanced confidence in the rural population,'' Modi said while appreciating the Chief Minister for working to change the definitions to improve the coverage of PMAY. This has resulted in 1.8 lakh families getting pucca houses of which 50 thousand houses have already been given for possession in the state. Modi said the new National Education Policy is being implemented in the country to skill the youth who are making India modern in the 21st century. “It also lays equal emphasis on learning in the local language. Students of Tripura are now going to get help from Mission-100 and the 'Vidya Jyoti' campaign,” he pointed out. “The campaign to vaccinate the youth of the 15-18 age group will ensure that there is no break in the education of the young students. This will alleviate the worries of the students and parents,” the PM said. (Another report on Pg 5)
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