WEDNESDAY 17 MAY 2023 www.thestatesman.com Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘DECISION ON SHINDE CAMP MLAS WON'T BE TAKEN UNDER PRESSURE’ S KOREA VOWS TO EXPAND NON-LETHAL AID TO KYIV P9 WEATHER Generally clear. Mainly sunny weather are also forecasted. Temperature will be in the range of 37-29 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.86% TEMPERATURE Max: 37°C SUN RISES 04:56 hrs MOON RISES 03:09 hrs New moon on 19 Min: 29°C SUN SETS 18:10 hrs MOON SETS 16:02 hrs May THUMBNAILS Students of different remote schools form a human chain depicting G20 to celebrate India’s G20 presidency, in Rajouri on Tuesday. ANI Nitin Gadkari receives death threat: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari received a death threat via phone call at his Delhi residence on Monday evening. The minister's office informed Delhi Police about the same and the matter is under investigation by police. As per police sources, details are being verified and the probe is underway. Southwest Monsoon's onset over Kerala likely to be delayed: The onset of the Southwest Monsoon over Kerala is likely to be delayed this year from its normal date, which is 1 June, as per the IMD. It is now likely to be on 4 June with a model error of plus/minus 4 days. T have built this party (Congress), we have built this house. I am a part of it...A mother will give everything to her child.” He categorically told a news agency that he would not resort to "backstabbing or blackmail" regardless of the party's decision. “If the party wants they can give me the responsibility...ours is a united house, our number is 135. I don't want to divide anyone here. Whether they like me or not, I am a responsible man. I will not backstab and I will not blackmail,” he said. Mr Siddaramaiah spent much of yesterday in Delhi, where he met senior Congress leaders amidst speculation that he was the firm favourite for the top post in the state. “Most of Fast nearing completion, the new Parliament building may be opened by the end of the current month. The date of inauguration could be around 26 May, the day when the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over for its first term nine years back. The government had planned to have a part of this year’s Budget Session in the new building, but continuance of work for various facilities necessitated the postponement. It is now quite likely the Monsoon Session of Parliament may get scheduled in the new building in July. Constructed near the present circular Parliament House, the new building is in synergy with that of the old Parliament House. Its foundation-stone was laid by the Prime Minister on 10 December 2020 in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. The new Parliament Building, along with the present Parliament House, will be part of the Parliament Complex. (See Page 5) HM terrorists arrested for alleged killing of Mirwaiz Farooq STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 16 MAY Thirty-three years after the high-profile assassination of Kashmir's head priest, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of the J&K Police on Tuesday arrested the last two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, Javaid Bhat and Zahoor Ahmed Bhat, involved in his killing. Moulvi Farooq was killed at his residence in Srinagar's Nigeen on 21 May 1990. the MLAs have voted in favour of me for the chief ministership. Let's wait and see. I don't know,” he told reporters. Senior Congress leader B K Hariprasad refuted suggestions that there was an inordinate delay in announcing the new leader of Karnataka. “Congress President will take a decision based on the observers' report. There is no delay, we are following the process,” he said. Yesterday, the party's leadership was briefed by the team of observers on the views of the newly elected MLAs. Mr Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and party General Secretary K C Venugopal later held talks on the issue. On Monday night, party sources had said that the Congress chief will decide on the next chief minister P12 Illegal cracker factory explosion kills nine in Bengal; probe initiated by state CID, says CM STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE EGRA, 16 MAY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 MAY of Karnataka after discussing the result of the secret ballot voting among the party’s MLAs-elect with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi is currently in Shimla. The Congress leadership is facing a dilemma because naming either of them as the next chief minister might lead to alienating the other which the party could ill-afford in view of the Lok Sabha elections next year. While Mr Siddaramaiah is considered an experienced leader with mass appeal, Mr Shivakumar is known for his strong organisational capabilities, is resourceful and has on several occasions acted as the party's troubleshooter. At least nine people were killed, while several others were injured, when a massive explosion occurred on Tuesday morning inside an illegal cracker factory located in Khadikul village, within Egra police station limits in East Midnapore district. The blast, which took place at approximately 11 am, left at least two others injured. The house where the crackers were being manufactured has been completely destroyed, reduced to rubble. Eyewitnesses reported that the intensity of the explosion was so severe that the bodies of the victims were scattered throughout the site, including in nearby ponds. The local villagers, overwhelmed by grief and anger not only attacked the police personnel who arrived at the scene after the explosion but also prevented Trinamul Congress leaders from visiting the site. Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, confirmed that the explosion took place inside an illegal cracker factory and expressed her condolences to the families of the deceased. She also announced ex-gratia compensation for the affected families. Miss Banerjee said that an investigation into the DEADLY SPARKS Earlier in March, three died, including a 16-year-old girl, in a blast at an unlicensed cracker business in South 24-Parganas' Maheshtala In 2022, the wife of a local TMC leader was killed in an explosion at their home in the Purba Medinipur district's Bhupatinagar area along with two other people In 2021, another mishap at a firecracker factory in the Mohanpur locality of Satgachia in South 24-Parganas killed three people, including employees In 2020, five persons died in a massive fire at an illegal firecracker factory in Naihati incident had been initiated by the Criminal Investigation Department of theWest Bengal police. While responding to demands from Opposition parties for a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe, she asserted that the truth must be uncovered and she was not opposed to an NIA investigation. Miss Banerjee disclosed that senior police officers had been dispatched to the blast site, emphasising that action would be taken against the officer-in-charge of Egra police station. She further revealed that the individual operating the illegal cracker factory had been previously arrested by the police last year, with a charge sheet filed against the accused. However, following the incident, the accused had managed to flee to Odisha. Superintendent of Police, East Midnapore, K. Amarnath, identified the person accused of running the illegal cracker factory as Bhanu Bag. He confirmed that the deceased were labourers employed at the cracker factory. Local residents alleged Bhanu Bag who used to run the illegal cracker factory belonged to the Trinamul Congress and he was a party worker in the locality. Locals also alleged Bhanu used to run the factory for the last two decades and police were aware about it. BJP leaders in the locality alleged the accused used to make bombs under the guise of his illegal cracker factory. Several complaints were lodged against it but police did nothing to stop the illegal practice. India rejects UN Special Rapporteur’s ‘Employment focus of Govt policies since 2014’ objection over G20 meet in J&K PM to leave STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 MAY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 MAY STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 MAY P6 Congress grapples with K’taka leadership issue he Congress high command was busy today in resolving the leadership issue in Karnataka with both former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Pradesh party chief D K Shivakumar refusing to back down on their respective claims to become the next chief minister of the state. AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge held parleys with Mr Shivakumar (photo) on Tuesday evening soon after he arrived in the national capital. Former chief minister Siddaramaiah also met the Congress party chief at his residence shortly afterwards. News agencies quoted sources in the Congress party as saying that the announcement on the new chief minister will be made in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Mr Kharge and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met a number of party MLAs at the residence of the Congress chief. Mr Siddaramaiah, who reached Delhi yesterday, had held talks with party leaders yesterday. Mr Shivakumar, before arriving in Delhi, said: “We ‘I WILL ALWAYS BE A BOWLER’S CAPTAIN’ P5 Party is expected to announce chief minister pick today Min. 70% New Parliament Building likely to be opened by month-end PAKISTAN PAYS The government today rejected the objection raised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues over New Delhi's decision to hold a G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir, asserting that it was India's prerogative to host meetings in any part of the country. The Indian mission to the UN in Geneva tweeted; "We @IndiaUNGeneva strongly reject the statement issued by SR on minority issues @fernanddev & the baseless & unwarranted allegations in it. As G20 President, it's India's prerogative to host its meetings in any part of the country.” It added; “We are aghast that @fernanddev has acted irresponsibly to politicise this issue, misused his position as SR to publicise on social media his presumptive and prejudiced conclusions in a gross violation of the Code of Conduct for SRs.” Earlier, UN's Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Fernand de Varennes tweeted that holding a G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir, while massive human rights violations were ongoing, was lending support to attempts by India to normalise the denial of democratic and other rights of Kashmiri minorities. “G20 should on the contrary uphold 'International human rights obligations & the #UN Declaration of Human Rights should be upheld... and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should be decried and condemned, not pushed under the rug and ignored with the holding of this meeting',” he added. Srinagar will be hosting the G20 meeting of the working group on tourism from 22-24 May. Prime Minister Narendra Modi onTuesday said the government has formulated all its policies in the last nine years keeping in focus creation of fresh employment opportunities, and EPFO data showed 4.50 crore persons have secured formal jobs since 2018-19. Distributing 71,000 appointment letters to fresh recruits in Central and State government jobs, the Prime Minister said whether it was creation of modern infrastructure or development of rural areas, or even extension of existing facilities, every project and every policy of the government created new employment. In the last nine years, he said, the government has spent Rs 34 lakh crore on capital expenditure to enhance basic infrastructure. In this year’s Budget Rs 10 lakh crore have been earmarked for capital expenditure. New highways, new rail routes and bridges are being added, which generate lakhs of job opportunities. The Prime Minister said the scale and speed at which India is working now is unprecedented in the last 75 years of Independence. While the EPFO data showed increase in formal employment, there was a simultaneous increase in self-employment opportunities also. Mr Modi told the appointees that Rozgar Melas at regular intervals showed the government’s commitment towards youth. Some days back there was a Rozgar Mela in Gujarat where appointment letters were given to thousands of persons. This month, later, there will be a big Rozgar Mela in Assam, he said. Delhi-Manali trip to be 4 hrs shorter as Kiratpur-Ner Chowk road gets functional SHAMSHER CHANDEL CHANDIGARH, 16 MAY Come 15 June, the standard fourteen-hour journey from Delhi to Manali will be cut by at least four hours, courtesy, the Kiratpur-Manali four-laning which is in its final stages. Similarly, a trip from Chandigarh to Manali will also be shortened by 40 km and it will take roughly about five-six hours to reach Manali instead of the standard nine-10 hours. Apart from making for a less stressful trip, the new road will also be a big booster for tourism. Abdul Basit, the Regional Officer, National Highways Authority of India, said that this Four-Lane National Highway will be completely ready by 15-20 June. At present, the main road link between Kiratpur and Ner Chowk, which is circuitous and slow due to the daunting terrain, is 115 km in length. A n d w i t h i n t h i s, t h e Swarghat-Bilaspur stretch which is 38 km takes more than one hour to traverse. A big booster for tourism: Sanjay Thakur, a local from Kullu and a homestay owner says: “It will draw people in hordes to Kullu and Manali.” President of Kullu Manali Prayatan Vikas Mandal, Anup Thakur says, “Manali hoteliers are choc-c-bloc May 20 onwards. Children have summer holidays in schools and families want to escape to the hills. We have 3,000 registered and unregistered hotels and homestays in Manali, and 80 per cent of the future hotel bookings have been committed to us.” From Delhi to Manali: One can reach Manali from Delhi by air or by road. While the air journey is a costly affair and one has to shell out close to Rs 25,000 rupees per ticket and takes about three hours one-hour air journey, and the remaining two hours the journey via road, miscellaneous halt time included. By road, while earlier it used to take anything between 13 to 14 hours – four-hour to Chandigarh and another nine to 10 hours, now the total time taken will not be more than 9-10 hours. After the new road starts functioning, this distance will be cut from 115 km to 77 km. Crucial to this project are five tunnels, 22 large and 14 small bridges that made this new road stretch a possibility. This apart, the other stretch of road which was in its final stages and is now complete is the 35-km road stretch from the Pandoh Bypass to Takoli. Experts say this was the most difficult part of the four-laning project on the Kiratpur-Manali national highway (NH-3). The Takoli-Kullu road which comes before this stretch on the Kiratpur side is already functional. Similarly, the Pandoh Bypass-Takoli project which includes building 10 tunnels, one elevated viaduct, three large and 10 small bridges, and double-laning of a 13.5-km highway stretch with slope protection, culverts, retaining walls, and other such features has also been completed. The construction work from Mandi to Aut which entailed cutting the hills all along the Beas river is also over. Also, the flyover near Aut is complete, as is the 30-km four-lane road from Aut to Kullu. The highway will have arrangements for ambulances, recovery vehicles, etc. Also, emergency call boxes along with high-tech CCTV cameras, automatic traffic counter-cum-classifiers, Vehicle Actuated Speed Displays and Overhead Driver Feedback Systems, variable message signs, video incident detection system, and Met device are also being installed, besides a command and control centre at the toll plaza and connectivity through optic fibre along the National Highway. All these stations will be bypassed after this four-lane completion. One can straightaway drive from Kiratput and reach Ner Chowk which is just 10 km short of Mandi, another important town that falls on the wayside as one travels to Manali. Director General of Police, Sanjay Kundu said that a study is being carried out to make required arrangements from the point of view of security at T and Y junction. He said that crash barriers on the valley side, footpaths, and overbridges have been constructed for the safety of commuters and passers-by. He said the government has taken several steps to simplify the Staff Selection Board procedures for applying to Government jobs. Earlier, even getting forms to apply for the jobs meant spending hours in queues. There was then issue of getting the documents attested by senior officials. It was always in doubt whether the applications had reached their destinations by post. Now the procedures from the beginning till end have been made online and one can selfattest the documents, he said. Interviews have been scrapped for Group C and D posts. A benefit of this change is that there is no possibility of corruption and favouritism. He said 40,000 kms of rail lines got electrified compared to 20,000 kms in the seven decades before 2014. on Japan, Australia trip STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 MAY PM Narendra Modi will be visiting Hiroshima on 19-21 May at the invitation of Japanese PM Kishida Fumio for the G7 Summit under the Japanese Presidency. He will then travel to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, where he will host the 3rd Summit of the Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation jointly with Papua New Guinea PM James Marape on 22 May. Thereafter, the PM will visit Sydney, Australia, on 22-24 May to participate in the Quad Leaders’ Summit. ‘Sanchar Saathi’ portal launched to prevent frauds by misuse of mobile phones STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 MAY Minister for Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday launched the Sanchar Saathi portal aimed at preventing various frauds such as identity theft, forged KYC, and banking frauds by the misuse of mobile phones. While speaking at the launch, Mr Vaishnaw said the reforms being introduced today were a step towards furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a Digital India which ensures the safety and security of the users. The three reforms are: ~ CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register) – for blocking stolen/lost mobiles; ~ Know your mobile connections – to know mobile connections registered in your name; and ~ ASTR (Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification) – to identify fraudulent subscribers. By using the Sanchar Saathi portal, more than 40 Lakh fraudulent connections have been identified and more than 36 lakh such connections disconnected so far. Mr Vaishnaw urged the users to visit the portal and avail of the services. The link to the portal is (https://sancharsaathi.gov.in). With 117 crore subscribers, India has emerged as the second-largest telecom ecosystem in the world. In addition to communication, mobile phones are being used for banking, entertainment, e-learning, healthcare, availing government services, etc. To protect users, the Department of Telecom has developed the Sanchar Saathi portal. It allows citizens to check the connections registered on their names, report fraudulent or unrequired connections, block the mobile phones which are stolen/lost, and check IMEI genuineness before buying a mobile phone.
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.