THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 21 JULY 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 P3 WEATHER GENERALLY CLOUDY SKY. LIGHT TO MODERATE RAIN/ THUNDERSHOWERS. THE MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM TEMPERATURES WOULD BE AROUND 35 AND 27 DEGREES CELSIUS RESPECTIVELY. P5 200-crore landmark: PM hails vaccinators Min: 69% Min: 28.2°C (+1) SUN SETS 19:19 hrs MOON SETS 13:13 hrs THUMBNAILS SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 20 JULY Pedestrians cross a waterlogged road following heavy rainfall, in New Delhi on (SEE PAGE 2) Wednesday. ANI India cuts windfall tax on crude oil: The central government on Wednesday cut the windfall tax on crude oil to Rs 17,000 per tonne from earlier Rs 23,250 per tonne. This move comes amid the latest decline in global crude oil prices.Taking into account windfall gains being accumulated by the domestic crude producers due to rising global crude prices in recent months, the Centre had on July 1 imposed a cess of Rs 23,250 per tonne on (See page 8) crude oil. Woman inspector mowed down by cattle smugglers in Ranchi: Woman inspector Sandhya Topno was mowed down by a pick-up van during vehicle checking in the Tupudana police station area of Ranchi in the wee hours of Wednesday. She was taken to the hospital in a critical condition, where she died during treatment. At around 3 a.m. a pick-up van with cattle was signalled to stop, but the driver sped away after running over the woman inspector. Rahul is adamant on bringing down Parliament’s productivity: Irani P rime Minister Narendra Modi has written to all vaccinators hailing their efforts that helped India cross the Covid vaccination milestone of administering 200 crore doses on July 17. "Our COVID-19 vaccination journey commenced on January 16, 2021, and on July 17, 2022, we achieved yet another milestone. It was a memorable day for the country as India surpassed the 200crore vaccination mark. This is a landmark achievement in our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic," PM Modi said in his letter. He added, "Our vaccinators, healthcare workers, healthcare support staff and frontline workers have played a critical role in protecting Indians. This is a laudable example of dedication to duty and delivering when it is most necessary." This comes just days after the country passed the 200 crore vaccination doses mark on July 17. "India creates history again! Congrats to all Indians on crossing the special figure of 200 crore vaccine doses. Proud of those who contributed to making India's vaccination drive unparalleled in scale and speed. This has strengthened the global fight against Covid-19," Modi tweeted. As of Wednesday morning, India's Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 200.61 crore. Over 3.81 crore adolescents have been administered with a first dose of Covid-19 jab since the beginning of vaccination drive for this age bracket, said the Union health ministry on Wednesday. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday lauded the PM's letter to the vaccinators of the country aiming to motivate the healthcare workers of the country. "PM @NarendraModi ji has written a letter on the achievement of 200 crore vaccinations of the world's largest vaccination campaign against COVID-19. I appreciate and thank every effort related to this campaign. This has encouraged all vaccinators. With this enthusiasm, all of us will continue to work in this drive, "Mandaviya tweeted. On Friday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya launched 'Covid Vaccination Amrit Mahot- sav' at COVID Vaccination Camp in Nirman Bhawan. He also appealed to the people to get the free dose so as to ensure protection against COVID-19. "All Health Ministry employees initiated their inoculation of the free doses. My appeal to all citizens above the age of 18 years to get the free dose to ensure your protection against Covid-19," said Mandaviya. "On 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', all eligible people (18+) can get a free precaution dose for the next 75 days," Mandaviya added. NEW DELHI, 20 JULY With the Opposition forcing adjournment of the two Houses for the second successive day over price rise and other issues, the BJP today accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of being adamant on bringing down the productivity of Parliament. At a party briefing here, Union Minister Smriti Irani said Rahul has disrespected parliamentary traditions and was now ensuring that parliamentary proceedings and debates also do not take place. "He (Rahul) is now adamant to bring down the productivity of Parliament," she said. Irani claimed that as the Lok Sabha Member from Amethi between 2004 and 2019, Rahul never asked any question in the House. "After he 'abandoned' the constituency (Amethi) and became the MP of Wayanad, his attendance was less than 40 per cent in the winter session in 2019. Today he has dedicated himself to ensure disruption of Parliament," she said. "He may be politically unproductive but he should not dare to continuously curb Parliament's productivity," the minister said. The first two days of the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament were washed out as Opposition members disrupted proceedings in both Houses demanding discussion over hike in GST rates, inflation and other issues. Covid: Centre flags concern over low levels of testing in nine states witnessing surge in cases STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE FACT FILE TOTAL CASES 4,38,03,619 ACTIVE CASES 1,45,654 NEW CASES 20,557 NEW RECOVERIES 18,517 TOTAL DEATHS 5,25,825 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 20 JULY 2022 Delhi recorded 686 cases and no deaths The Centre today held a highlevel meeting to review the surge in Covid-19 cases in the states of Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, flagging its concern over low levels of testing and vaccination. “We need to be mindful that COVID has not gone. Looking at the global scenario, we need to be at high alert. There is poor surveillance, poor testing and below average vaccination in many states undergoing the present surge”, Dr V. K. Paul, NITI Aayog Member (Health), said at the meeting chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. These nine states are either reporting a surge in new daily COVID cases or a rise in positivity. The public health measures for surveillance, containment and management of Covid 19 were reviewed at the meeting. Paul urged the states to improve the testing in areas with high positivity, increase surveillance as per the revised surveillance strategy and speed up Covid vaccination. The health secretary underlined that all districts reporting higher positivity rate need to undertake adequate testing with a higher proportion of RTPCR tests. Any laxity will result in deterioration of the situation in these districts. There was a need to effectively and strictly monitor home isolation cases so that they were not intermingling and circulating in their neighborhoods, community, village, mohalla, ward etc., and spreading the infection. Bhushan advised the states to conduct surveillance as per revised surveillance strategy issued on 9th June, 2022. The states were further directed to report districtwise SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Illness) and ILI (Influenza-like Illness) cases on a daily basis. Also, to send these for genome sequencing to mapped INSACG labs. The states were also advised to undertake tests indicating the proportion of international arrivals, with genome sequencing of all positives; identify sentinel sites for INSACOG network to send samples for Whole Genome Sequencing. He also asked the states to send positive samples from large clusters / outbreaks in the community and unusual events for Whole Genome Sequencing. The health secretary said the states need to create added awareness regarding reporting of those who opt for home test kits through RAT, for timely identification of those cases that need clinical management. All such positive patients must be advised for home isolation to prevent infection spread in the community. The states were urged to accelerate administration of ongoing free Covid-19 vaccination for 1st, 2nd and precaution dose. States were further urged to intensify the implementation of Free Pre- caution Doses for the 18+population under ‘COVID Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav’ till 30 September, 2022. The states were told that focused implementation of Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) was critical to control the spread of infection. They were advised to create awareness within community on infection spread and on these protocols Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, New Delhi advised the states to be attentive to clinical symptoms of Covid patients and not wait till their genome sequencing was done to identify whether a cluster was emerging in any state. The states need to be attentive to the changing pattern of clinical manifestation of hospitalized patients, he stated. It was pointed out that the average tests per million population was below the national average in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh, while the share of RT-PCR tests was very low in the states of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and below the national average in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal. These states were asked to urgently address the declining trend of RT-PCR tests and improve their average daily tests per million. It was noted that there remains substantial scope in increasing the pace of vaccination in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Assam, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The states were also urged to ensure strict surveillance in all the districts of concern that were showing a positivity rate of over ten per cent in the last week. SC grants interim bail to Zubair in all FIRs, transfers cases to Delhi Unpopular Sri Lankan PM elected president; risks new turmoil AGENCIES AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 20 JULY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE P12 NEW DELHI, 20 JULY TEMPERATURE Max: 35.1°C (0) SUN RISES 05:37 hrs MOON RISES 00:32 hrs PAK WIN FIRST TEST AGAINST SRI LANKA P10 Modi has lauded the collective efforts of scientists, doctors and nurses RAINFALL: 052.4 Mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 100% SUNAK, TRUSS FACE RUNOFF TO BECOME UK’S NEXT LEADER SC GRANTS TIME TO SHINDE FACTION MANN SLAMS CENTRE FOR LEAVING PUNJAB OUT OF MSP PANEL The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to fact-checking website Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair in all the FIR registered against him in Uttar Pradesh. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and AS Bopanna said there is no justification to keep Zubair in continued detention, especially since the allegations in the FIRs registered in Uttar Pradesh are similar to those in the Delhi Police FIR. "Existence of powers of arrest must be distinguished from the exercise of powers of arrest which must be used sparingly," Justice Chandrachud said. It also clubbed all the six FIRs registered by the UP Police and transferred all the FIRs registered across the country as well as in UP to Delhi. The apex court also disbanded the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the UP Police to probe the cases against Zubair. The apex court ordered that the transfer of the FIRs shall apply to all existing FIRs and to all future FIRs that may be registered on the issue. The top court, while granting interim bail to Zubair, noted that he had already been granted bail by the Patiala House Court in Delhi in a similar case registered by the Delhi Police. The bench directed Zubair to furnish a bail bond of Rs 20,000 before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House Court. It said that immediately after the submission of the bail bond, the Superintendent of Tihar Jail must ensure that Zubair is released before 6 pm today. The bench in its order stated, "Essentially the gravamen of allegations are tweets by him. He has been subjected to a fairly sustained probe by Delhi Police. We don't find a reason for his deprivation of liberty to persist further. We direct Zubair to be released on bail on each of the FIRs in UP. Existence of powers of arrest must be distinguished from the exercise of powers of arrest, which must be used sparingly." The apex court also said that Zubair can move Delhi High Court for quashing all or any of the FIRs. COLOMBO, 20 JULY Sri Lankan lawmakers elected the unpopular prime minister as their new president Wednesday, a choice that risked reigniting turmoil in the South Asian nation reeling from economic collapse. The crisis has already forced one Sri Lankan leader out, and a few hundred protesters quickly gathered after the vote to express their outrage that Ranil Wickremesinghe a six-time prime minister whom they see as part of the problematic political establishment would stay in power. Sri Lankans have taken to the street for months to demand their top leaders step down as the country spiraled into economic chaos that left its 22 million people struggling with shortages of essentials, including medicine, fuel and food. After demonstrators stormed the presidential palace and several other government buildings last week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled and then resigned. Much of the protesters’ ire is focused on Rajapaksa and his family’s political dynasty, which ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades. But many also blame Wickremesinghe for protecting Rajapaksa, and during demonstrations last week, crowds set his personal residence on fire and occupied his office. Wednesday’s vote means Wickremesinghe — who was also Rajapaksa’s finance minister and became acting president after the leader fled — will finish the presidential term ending in 2024. He can now also appoint a new prime minister. “I need not tell you what state our country is in,” Wickremesinghe, 73, told fellow lawmakers after his victory was announced. “People are not expecting the old politics from us, they expect us to work together.” He pleaded for the country to move on: “Now that the election is over, we have to end this division.” But protesters flocked to the presidential residence instead, chanting, “Ranil, go home.” Many voters view him with suspicion since he was appointed prime minister by Rajapaksa in May, in hopes he would restore stability. Country liquor claims 2 gangsters involved in Moosewala's murder killed in encounter 10 lives in Howrah STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 20 JULY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 20 JULY Ten people died and many others fell ill in Bengal's Howrah after consuming country liquor on Tuesday night, police said today. This is the second hooch tragedyinthestatehardly11days after the first one that happened in Burdwan town on 8 July in which eight persons had died. Today, 10 persons died at the Ghusuri slum area hardly 100 to150metresawayfromtheMalipanchghora police station in the northern part of Howrah city. Around 20 others fell seriously ill and are undergoing treatment at state-run T N Jaiswal Hospital and Howrah District Hospital respectively. According to police, the bodies of the deceased were sent to the morgue for post-mortem while the ill were admitted to two hospitals showing symptoms of vomiting and abdominal pain. Locals feared that the number of casualties would rise as many of the ill victims were undergoing treatment at the two hospitals in critical condition. Two gangsters Jagroop Roopa and Manpreet Manu, involved in the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewla, were killed in an encounter with the Punjab Police at a village in Amritsar district on Wednesday. The additional director general of police (ADGP) Promod Ban, who is heading the Anti-Gangster Task Force (AGTF), said both Manu and Roopa, who killed Moosewala along with other gangsters on 29 May, were neutralised in a heavy exchange of fire. An AK-47 and pistol with heavy ammunition was recovered from the spot, he said. The encounter took place at Bhakna Kalan village in Amritsar rural, about nine kilometer away from the international border.Later addressing a Press conference, Ban said these two gangsters were sighted in the village, asked to surrender. "But despite being cornered, they entered a house and kept on firing on the police despite being asked to surrender. The encounter continued for about fourand-half-hours and both the gangsters were killed in the crossfire," he said. "Ever since the incident (Moosewala's killing) , we have been chasing them. This chase culminated in this exchange of fire. We were after them for many days," the ADGP said. Three cops were injured but are out of danger. He said Punjab Police is going on a crackdown on gangsters and drug smugglers in the state. Manu, who was in a Corolla car along with Roopa, is believed to have opened fire at Moosewala with an assault rifle. Soon after the killing, Manu and Roopa had separated from the other killers. Manu and Roopa had snatched a car which was later found abandoned in Moga district. While Manu was a resident of Moga in Punjab, and Roopa was from Amritsar. Manu and Roopa were members of Jaggu Bha- ganpuria gang. Bhaganpuria had provided these shooters to gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, who is believed to have masterminded Moosewala's killing. Earlier on 21 June, both Roopa and Manu were seen on a bike at Smallsar village in Moga. Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, also known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Punjab's Mansa district on 29 May. Police had identified six shooters who were part of the two modules involved in the killing. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police had earlier nabbed three shooters -Priyavrat Fauji, Kashish and Ankit Sirsa. Jagroop Singh Rupa and Manpreet Singh alias Manu were part of the second module.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.