THURSDAY 23 MARCH 2023 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC www.thestatesman.com KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR PUTIN DESERVES COMPANY IN THE DOCK DELHI GOVT PRESENTS `78,800 CRORE BUDGET P2 PARTLY CLOUDY SKY.VERY LIGHT RAIN OR DRIZZLE TOWARDS EVENING. THE MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM TEMPERATURES WOULD BE AROUND 30 AND 16 DEGREE CELSIUS RESPECTIVELY. Max: 28.7°C (-2) SUN RISES 06:21 hrs MOON RISES 07:56 hrs Min: 14.1°C (-3) SUN SETS 18:34 hrs MOON SETS 20:23 hrs THUMBNAILS A view of the 2nd ship of ASW Shallow Water Craft (ASW SWC) 'Androth’ that was launched by Navy Welfare and Wellness Association (NWWA), (Western region), President Shashi Tripathi, in Kolkata on Tuesday. ANI Eight killed in explosion at TN firecracker unit: At least eight people were killed and 13 others injured in an explosion at a firecracker unit in Tamil Nadu's Kancheepuram on Wednesday, said police.The injured have been admitted to the Kancheepuram district hospital. The reason for the explosion is not yet known.Police said that 25 persons were working in the unit when the explosion took place on Wednesday afternoon. Four Units of fire force reached the unit and doused the fire. More information on the explosion are awaited. NEW DELHI, 22 MARCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw unveil the Bharat 6G Vision Document at the inauguration of the new ITU Area office and Innovation Centre, in New Delhi on Wednesday. SUBRATA DUTTA orities is to reduce the regional divide. Global South is making major strides in bridging the technological divide,” the Prime Minister said. “Telecom technology for India is not a mode of power, but a mission to empower,” the PM remarked as he noted that digital technology was universal in India and accessible to everyone. Underlining that digital inclusion has happened on a large scale in India in the last few years, he noted that there were 60 million broadband users in India before 2014 but the number has gone up to more than 800 million today. He added that the number of internet connections in India was now more than 85 crores compared to 25 crores before 2014. Referring to the upsurge of internet use in rural India, the PM noted that the number of internet users in the villages has surpassed that of the urban areas, indicating that digital power has reached every nook and corner of the country. He said that 25 lakh km of optical fiber has been laid in India by the government and private sector in the last 9 years. He said Digital India was supporting non-digital sectors and gave the example of the PM Gatishakti Masterplan in this regard. He said the ‘Call Before You Dig’ app reflected the same thinking.“Today's India is rapidly moving towards the next step of the digital revolution,” he remarked as he underlined that India was the country with the fastest 5G rollout in the world with 5G services being rolled out in more than 125 cities in just 120 days and 5G services reaching approximately 350 districts in the country. The PM said that India was discussing 6G just after 6 months after the 5G rollout.“The vision document presented today will become a major basis for the 6G rollout in the next few years”, he added.The PM said it was natural to have expectations from India in the context of bridging the global divide. India’s capabilities, innovation culture, infrastructure, skilled and innovative manpower and favourable policy environment were the basis of these expectations. SC Collegium expresses ‘grave concern’ Spl Bench for Bilkis over delay in Sathyan’s elevation as judge Bano plea hearing: SC SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 22 MARCH The Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India, D Y Chandrachud, on Wednesday said that action should be taken on issuing the notification of advocate John Sathyan (in photo) as a judge of Madras High Court, while recommending the appointment of four district judges as judges of the same high court. The Collegium stressed that names, which have been recommended earlier in point of time including the reiterated names, ought not to be withheld or overlooked as this disturbs their seniority. The Collegium, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph, in a statement uploaded on the court's website said: “The collegium is of the considered view that necessary action for the issuance of a notification for the elevation of persons who have been recommended earlier in point of time should be taken at the earliest including the name of R John Sathyan which has been reiterated by this collegium on 17 January 2023.” In January, the Supreme SNS & AGENCIES D eclaring that “this decade is India's techade”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the country was moving towards becoming the biggest exporter of telecom technology in the world because of its capabilities, innovative manpower and a favourable policy environment.The PM was inaugurating the new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Area office & Innovation Centre at the Vigyan Bhawan.He also unveiled the Bharat 6G Vision Document and launched the 6G R&D Test Bed and launched the ‘Call before u Dig’ App. The ITU is the United Nations' specialised agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). India had signed a Host Country Agreement in March 2022 with ITU for the establishment of an area office that will serve India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Afghanistan and Iran, enhancing coordination among nations and fostering mutually beneficial economic cooperation in the region. “Today, when India is presiding over the G20, one of our pri- Court had reiterated its recommendation for elevation of Mr Sathyan, after the Central government returned his file citing that he had shared an article critical of the Prime Minister. The collegium had then said that the adverse comments of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in respect of posts made by Mr Sathyan i.e., sharing an article published in 'The Quint' (in connection with the PM) and another post regarding committing of suicide by a medical aspirant candidate in 2017 will not impinge on the suitability, character, or integrity of Mr Sathyan. The collegium also recommended the names of four district judges for appointment of judges of the Madras High Court. The judges are: R. Sakthivel, P. Dhanabal, Chinnasamy Kumarappan, and K. Rajasekar. The Supreme Court Collegium has also reiterated the name of senior advocate Harpreet Singh Brar for elevation as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In a resolution uploaded on the apex court website on Wednesday, the collegium said that on 10 March 2022, the collegium of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana recommended the elevation of Brar as a judge of the high court. The recommendation was approved by the collegium of the Supreme Court on 25 July 2022. However, the Department of Justice flagged certain issues and referred back the recommendation on 25 November 2022 for reconsideration by the collegium. The SC collegium, in February this year, sought the views of the collegium of the high court, which held a meeting on 23 February to reconsider the recommendation for the appointment of Brar, bearing in mind the observation of the Department of Justice. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE India's High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami on Wednesday said that “there is no truth to sensationalist lies being circulated on social media”, while giving details of the situation in Punjab post the police crackdown on the ‘Waris Punjab De’ organisation and efforts to arrest its chief Amritpal Singh. In a video address, Mr Doraiswami said: "The situation for travel is normal and visitors, including from the UK, are safe. Let me assure all our friends here in the UK, especially brothers and sisters with relatives in Punjab that there is no truth to sensationalist lies being circulated on social media.” The video was released by the Indian High Commission in London. “The situation in your ancestral homeland is not what is being reported. The elected chief minister of the state and the local police authorities have put out detailed information, including interviews on television, please watch these. Do not believe the small handful of people putting out fiction and disinformation,” Mr Doraiswami said in the video. The High Commissioner further said that on 18 March, the Punjab Police NEW DELHI, 22 MARCH The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will constitute a special Bench to hear a plea by Bilkis Bano challenging the premature release of 11 persons convicted for her gang rape and the murder of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Heading a Bench also comprising Justice P S Narasimha and Justice J B Pardiwala, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said that a special Bench will be constituted to hear Ms Bano’s plea after the matter was mentioned by her lawyer, Shobha Gupta. Earlier on 24 January, the hearing on Ms Bano’s plea against the premature release of 11 convicts could not take place as the judges who were to hear her plea were part of a five-judge Constitution Bench that was hearing the matter relating to passive euthanasia. On 7 February, the Supreme Court had said that there will be an early hearing of Ms Bano’s plea. Earlier, a plea by Ms Bano seeking the recall of a 13 May 2022 order of the Supreme Court, which held that the Gujarat government had the jurisdiction to decide the remission applications of the 11 convicts, thus paving the way for their release, was dismissed by the Court in December last year. In its 13 May 2022 order, the Supreme Court had directed the Gujarat government to consider the plea of the convicts for premature release in terms of the state government’s policy of 9 July 1992 which was applicable on the date of their conviction and decide it within two months. Previously, the Gujarat High Court had held the application for remission had to be considered by the State of Maharashtra, as the trial was held in Mumbai. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a high-level meeting to assess the Covid19 and influenza situation in the country at which he asked people to follow respiratory hygiene and to adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour in crowded public places. Observing that the Covid19 pandemic was far from over and there was a need to monitor its status across the country on a regular basis, Mr Modi also emphasised the need to follow Covid guidelines, including wearing of masks in hospital premises by patients, health professionals and health workers. The PM said that wearing of masks was advisable when senior citizens and those with co-morbidities visit crowded areas.He directed officials to enhance Whole Genome Sequencing of Positive Samples with the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories. This would support tracking of newer variants, if any, and timely response, he underlined. The meeting reviewed Varanasi to be India’s 1st city to have ropeway for public transport STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE VARANASI, 22 MARCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to gift India's first public transport ropeway to his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi on 24 March.Alongside, the PM will lay the foundation stones of nine projects worth Rs 1592.49 crore while he will also inaugurate 20 projects of Rs 189.41 crore. The PM is expected to stay in the city for around 5 hours. He will also address a public meeting too. According to officials here, the planned ropeway will run from Cantt Railway Station (Varanasi Junction) to Godaulia Square. This scheme is worth Rs 644.49 crores. The ropeway as a mode for public transport in a congested area will pro- NEW MODE OF TRANSPORTATION Total length of the ropeway will be 3.8 km which will be covered in about 16 minutes About 150 trolley cars will run at a height of about 50 metres. A single trolley can carry 10 passengers. Trolleys will be available for passengers at an interval of every one and a half to two minutes . The country's first public transport ropeway will be run between Varanasi Cantt to Godaulia in the first phase This scheme is worth ` 644.49 crores. The Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stones of nine projects worth `1,592.49 crore while he will also inaugurate 20 projects of `189.41 crore vide a lot of relief to local people as well as domestic and foreign tourists coming to Varanasi.Vice President of Varanasi Development Authority Abhishek Goyal said that the country's first pub- lic transport ropeway will be run between Varanasi Cantt to Godaulia in the first phase. Due to the narrowness of the roads in the old areas of Kashi and the continuous increase in the traffic pressure, traffic jams are quite frequent here.Anurag Tripathi, project director of National Highway Logistics Pvt Ltd, said that after Bolivia's La Paz and Mexico, India will be the third country in the world and Varanasi will be the first city where ropeway will be used for public transport. He said that this is a pilot project and it will be jointly constructed by Swiss company Bertholet and National Highway Logistics Private Limited (NHLPL). The project director informed that there will be a total of five stations from Varanasi Cantt station to Godaulia intersection. Stations will come up at Cantt Railway Station, Kashi Vidyapeeth, Rath Yatra, Church and Godaulia Crossing.The total length of the ropeway will be 3.8 kilometres which will be covered in about 16 minutes. About 150 trolley cars will run at a height of about 50 metres. A single trolley can carry 10 passengers. Trolleys will be available for passengers at an interval of every one and a half to two minutes. Around 3,000 people will be able to travel in one direction in an hour. The operation of the ropeway will be 16 hours daily. The ropeway will be ready within 2 years. He said that the work of land acquisition, wire and pipe shifting is going on apace. Glimpses of Kashi's art, religion and culture will be seen at all the stations built for the ropeway.Meanwhile , Varanasi divisional commissioner The situation for travel is normal and visitors, including from the UK, are safe. Let me assure all our friends here in the UK, especially brothe rs & sisters with relatives in Punjab that there is no truth to sensationalist lies being circulated on social media Barricades outside UK High Commission removed VIKRAM DORAISWAMI INDIA'S HIGH COMMISSIONER TO THE UK had launched an operation against elements of 'Waris Punjab De' against whom criminal cases have been recorded, particularly against Amritpal Singh, the chief of the organisation and some other elements. “All communication services, including mobile telephone network continue to be available as of noon today, for mobile Internet services across the state except in four districts. Across the state, Internet access using broadband access has not been affected. There is no restriction to media reporting," he stated. Meanwhile, suspected pro-Khalistan supporters on Wednesday held a fresh demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in London. However, unlike the earlier demonstration during which the Tricolour was taken down and an attempt made to raise the Khalistan flag, the protest this time took place behind police barricades. Barricades were removed from outside the residence of British High Commissioner Alex Ellis, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANI NEW DELHI , 22 MARCH The barricades from outside the British High Commission in New Delhi were removed on Wednesday. The barricades which were put up after widespread protests were launched against the vandalisation of the Indian High Commission in the UK by extremist and separatist elements on Sunday. However, they are now nowhere to be seen outside the British High Commission and outside the residence of British High Commissioner Alex Ellis at 2, Rajaji Marg in New Delhi.When asked about the same, a British official said that they could not comment on such issues. “We do not comment on security matters,” a British High Commission spokesperson said. Modi holds high-level meeting on Covid, influenza situation STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 22 MARCH P12 ‘Sensationalist lies’: India’s high commissioner to UK on media reports over Amritpal Singh row STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 22 MARCH Min. 50% TEMPERATURE P8 PM inaugurates new ITU Area office & Innovation Centre at Vigyan Bhawan RAINFALL: 8.8 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 96% P7 This decade is India’s techade,declares PM WEATHER KNIGHTS HALTED BEFORE RIDE MUKESH AMBANI 9TH WEALTHIEST IN THE WORLD Kaushal Raj Sharma that during his stay in the city on 24 March the PM will lay foundation of nine projects worth an estimated Rs 1592.49 crore. Of these nine projects, he said, the major one will be Rs 644.40 crore ropeway project. Another major project is a 55 MLD sewage treatment plant at Bhagwanpur under Namami Gange project, he said adding that with the construction of this new STP the total capacity of Bhagwanpur, which currently has a STP of 10 MLD, would become augmented. The PM will also lay foundation for the second and third phases of modernisation and development of Dr Sampurnanand Sports stadium under Khelo India campaign, he said. The meeting reviewed the Covid and Influenza situation in terms of preparedness of the health infrastructure and logistics, status of the vaccination campaign, emergence of new Covid variants and Influenza types and their public health implications for the country the Covid-19 and Influenza situation in terms of preparedness of the health infrastructure and logistics, status of the vaccination campaign, emergence of new Covid-19 variants and Influenza types and their public health implications for the country. The meeting came against the backdrop of a spike in Influenza cases in the country and rise in Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks. A comprehensive presentation was made covering the global Covid-19 situation, including the rising cases. The PM was told that India has been witnessing a slight rise in new cases with average daily cases reported as 888 and weekly positivity reported as 0.98per cent in the week ending 22 March. However, 1.08 lakh daily average cases have been reported globally during the same week. The action taken on the directions given by the PM during the last Covid-19 review held on 22 December were also discussed. He was informed that the availability and prices of 20 main Covid Drugs, 12 other drugs, 8 buffer drugs and 1 influenza drug were being monitored. A mock drill was also conducted on 27 December in 22,000 hospitals, and many remedial measures were taken by hospitals thereafter.The PM was apprised of the Influenza situation in the country, particularly with respect to the higher number of cases of H1N1 and H3N2 being noted in the last few months. Mr Modi directed that effective monitoring of IRI/SARI cases, and testing for Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and Adenovirus should be followed up with states. Rlys lowers fare of AC-3 tier economyclass ticket SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 22 MARCH The railways ministry has issued an order to reduce the price of AC-3 tier economy class ticket with effect from Wednesday. Along with this, bedding will be made available as before. According to railway officials, passengers who have booked tickets online and over the counter will be given a refund of the extra amount for the pre-booked tickets. As per the order, the fare for a 3-tier economy class ticket, which had been made equal to the fare of an AC-3 tier ticket through a circular issued last year, has been reduced. Three tier economy coaches were introduced by the Railway Board to provide the 'Best and Cheapest AC travel' service. The fare of these coaches is 6-7 per cent less than the usual AC 3 tier. According to officials, while an AC 3 tier coach has 72 berths, AC 3 tier economy has 80 berths. The Railways earned Rs 231 crore from the AC-3 tier economy class in the first year of its introduction. According to data, during April-August, 2022, 15 lakh people travelled in these coaches, generating earnings of Rs 177 crore.
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