29122020-TT-01.qxd 12/28/2020 10:46 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.140 no.360 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2018-2020 established in 1881 himachal pradesh KOHLI NAMED ICC CRICKETER OF THE DECADE SPORT /thetribunechd SENSEX CLOSES ABOVE 47,000 FOR THE FIRST TIME BUSINESS BJP USING CENTRAL AGENCIES TO TOPPLE GOVT: RAUT BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com tuesday, december 29,2020 Farmers accept govt offer for talks tomorrow; Anna threatens ‘last stir’ Modi reiterates commitment to reforms | Tomar says ‘walls of lies’ will collapse Strong case to review farm laws: Amartya Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 28 Raising fresh hopes of a truce, protesting farmers on Monday accepted the Centre’s invitation for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the government would “keep marching on the path of strengthening Indian agriculture”. Farmers responded positively to the Centre’s invitation to 40 unions, which have been leading monthlong protests on Delhi borders to seek the repeal of three farm laws. The invitation followed a missive from the unions proposing a December 29 meeting. The farmers, in positive signs, called off their previously planned tractor march from Singhu and Tikri borders to the Kundli-ManesarPalwal Highway. The developments came on a day when activist Anna Hazare threatened a protest, which he called “his last”, for the farmers if the Centre failed to address their concerns by January-end. The Centre’s invitation, sent through Agriculture IN BRIEF Trump clears law for new Tibet policy WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has signed into law a Bill which calls for establishing a US consulate in Tibet and building an international coalition to ensure the next Dalai Lama is appointed by Tibetan Buddhists without China’s interference. PTI Karnataka bans slaughter of cows BENGALURU: The Karnataka Cabinet on Monday decided to promulgate an ordinance to give effect to the contentious anti-cow slaughter Bill that is yet to be approved by the Legislative Council. Once it comes into effect, there will be a blanket prohibition of slaughter of cows in the state. PTI Assam tables Bill to abolish madrassas GUWAHATI: The Assam Government on Monday tabled a Bill in the Assembly to abolish all state-run madrassas by converting them into general schools from April 1 next year. Despite a united Opposition raising objection, Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma introduced the Bill on the first day of the winter session. PTI Kolkata, December 28 Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has voiced concern over “curtailment of space” for protest and discussion in the country alleging people were jailed without trial through arbitrarily imposed charge of sedition. The 87-year-old Harvard University Professor backed the farmers’ protests against the three agricultural laws. Farmers during a protest against the three agri laws at the Ghazipur-Delhi border on Monday. PTI EXPRESSWAY MARCH OFF FIR AGAINST TIKAIT CAPT WARNS VANDALS New Delhi: The farmers’ unions, in a positive signal, have called off their previously planned tractor march from Singhu and Tikri borders to the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway on December 30. Palwal: The police have booked Rakesh Tikait, a farmer leader from UP, over his recent statement. He had allegedly said temples and priests were not giving enough support to the farmers’ agitation. Chandigarh: CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday issued a warning against vandalisation of mobile towers. He directed the police to take action against those resorting to such unlawful activities. Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal, remains silent on the principal demand of the protesters—discussion on modalities to repeal the contentious farm legislations. The unions, in their last proposal to the Centre, had mentioned this as their first demand. In its invitation sent to the farmers, the government said it was “committed to finding a logical solution to all relevant issues with a clear intention and an open mind.” Aggarwal said discussions would be held on the farm legislations, continued on page 9 Says space for dissent shrinking; BJP calls it baseless allegation He insisted there was a “strong case” for substantial review of the legislations. “A person whom the government does not like may be declared a terrorist and imprisoned,” he said. BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said Sen’s contention was baseless and that he should refrain from “maligning the country”. — PTI FIRST DRIVERLESS METRO CHUGS OFF ■ PM Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated India’s first-ever driverless train on the Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden) ■ The automated driverless trains will eliminate possibility of human error ■ The 57-km Pink Line (Majlis Park–Shiv Vihar) will be the next corridor for driverless operations. PTI Vax dry run smooth in 2 Punjab districts Tribune News Service Chandigarh, December 28 A two-day dry run to check the preparedness of health authorities for a future Covid19 vaccination programme began smoothly today in Ludhiana and Nawanshahr districts of Punjab. Punjab is one of the four states selected by the Centre for the mock drive, aimed at testing the laid out mechanism for the vaccination programme. The other three are Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Gujarat. Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the exercise would provide insights into any gaps or bottlenecks DRILL AT 12 CENTRES ■ The dry run was conducted at 12 centres in Ludhiana (7) and Nawanshahr (5) districts ■ 25 persons, pre-registered on CoWIN portal, selected ■ Were called via SMS (treated as ID) sent on their mobile phones in vaccine distribution and its administration so that those could be addressed before the commencement of the immunisation drive. In Ludhiana district, seven centres have been set up for the drill—Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, sub-divisional hospitals at Jagraon, continued on page 9 MHA extends Covid norms till January-end Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 28 The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday said there has been a continuous decline in the number of active Covid-19 cases in the country but there is a need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution, keeping in view the surge in the number of cases globally and the emergence of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom. In a statement, the MHA said it had issued fresh guidelines for surveillance with regard to Covid-19 and these would remain in force till January 31. To detect mutant strain, genome testing in 5% cases Sonia, Rahul skip Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 28 The Centre today launched a genomics consortium to roll out a national plan for conducting genome sequencing of Covid positive samples to study any potential mutations and understand if local outbreaks are caused by transmission of single or multiple viral lineages. Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences is critical UNDER THE SCANNER COVID-19CASES INDIA ■ UK returnees who test Covid positive ■ Positive cases either partici- pating in vaccine trials or already vaccinated ■ Infected passengers who arrived in India since Nov 23 UTTARAKHAND CM RAWAT ADMITTED TO AIIMS-DELHI as it would allow the Health Ministry to study the evolution of the virus and assess COUNT RECOVERED 97,82,669 FRESH FATALITIES 279 TOTAL DEATHS 1,47,901 1,02,07,871 TOTAL RECOVERED DEATHS WORLD 8,13,53,997 5,74,70,006 17,75,925 whether the viral mutations influence transmission, clinical outcomes, severity, or if they impact public health interventions and vaccine efficacy. Ten designated laboratories spread across the country will cater to the nearest states which will send 5 per cent of the positive samples to these labs for genome sequencing. The consortium was considered critical after the United Kingdom faced a spike in cases due to a new mutation. The ministry said: “The United Kingdom variant is significantly more transmissible with an estimated potential to increase the reproductive number (R) by 0.4 or greater with an estimated increased transmissibility of up to 70 per cent.” Meanwhile, 20,021 fresh infections and 279 fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours. The recovery rate is 95.83 per cent and case fatality rate is static at 1.45 per cent. Active cases have been under 3 lakh for seven days. 73snow-stucktourists rescued in Kangra Dharamsala, December 28 Seventy-three tourists, camping in the Kareri Lake area who had got stuck there due to heavy snowfall, were rescued by the local administration today. Kareri Lake is a popular trekking destination located 10 km uphill from Dharamsala amid Dhauladhar range at an altitude of around 3,000 metre from the sea level. The district administration had to send police personnel, home guards and locals to rescue tourists. Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati said all 73 stranded tourists were rescued and brought to Dharamsala by the evening. They were given first-aid and then allowed to move to their respective places. “They are all fine,” sources said. Upper areas of Dharamsala received heavy snowfall yesterday night, bringing down the temperature in the entire Kangra valley. Smart City Hotel and Restaurant Association general secretary Sanjeev Gandhi said all hotels that had gone functional in the upper Dharamsala area were packed to capacity for New Year’s Eve. — TNS SHIMLA SNOWED IN: People walk on a snow-covered road in Shimla on Monday. PTI key Cong event New Delhi, December 28 Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and former chief Rahul Gandhi both skipped an event held here Monday to mark the 136th foundation day of the party. Former Defence Minister AK Antony did the honours of flag-hoisting in the absence of the two top leaders. As Rahul left on a short personal visit abroad yesterday, the Congress rose in his defence saying he was not the incumbent party president. “Rahul Gandhi is currently not the Congress president. He is discharging the responsibility the party gives him…. Can’t he go to visit an ailing family member? He is on a short personal visit to see a seriously ill family member. He is not on leave. He has also gone to visit his maternal grandmother. I don’t think the BJP should have any objection to this,” Congress media head Randeep Surjewala said, answering queries about the conspicuous absence of Rahul from the party’s most important annual event, especially at a time when some dissenters are active in the party. Surjewala, who attended the ceremony, however, sought to deflect the issue Party defends absence; Antony presides over foundation function Priyanka greets leaders at the foundation day event. PTI and said the question today was not where Rahul was. “The question is what the Centre is doing to ease the pain of agitating farmers” asked Surjewala. AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was present at the ceremony, attacked the Centre for calling farmers “anti-national”. Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the 23 dissenters who had written to Sonia Gandhi for organisational changes, was also on the dais with Antony. — TNS Centre restores scholarship scheme, Punjab in a bind All not well with J&K, liquor vends Rajmeet Singh Tribune News Service Chandigarh, December 28 The Centre’s revised PostMatric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) students announced last week has put the Punjab Government in a catch-22 situation. Failing to get around Rs 1,500 crore from the Centre under the centrally-sponsored scheme for three years, the state government last month announced the state-funded Dr BR Ambedkar SC Post-Matric Scholarship for 3 lakh students. It would cost the state around Rs 500 crore annually. Applications have been invited under the state scheme. The state would pay 60 per cent of the scholarship amount for the past three years, while the remaining would be contributed by the respective college. Failing to get ~1,500 cr in 3 yrs, state launched own plan last month In a new twist, the Centre has now restored its scholarship scheme with a revised funding pattern, till 2025-2026. Now, the Centre will pay 60 per cent of the average demand for the past three years, while the remaining will be borne by the state. “The states have been asked to send a formal acceptance of the new scheme by January 15,” said a senior government functionary. Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said, “After the state announced its own scheme, the Centre restored its old scheme with reduced funding. It should have been a fully sponsored scheme.” Dr Anshu Kataria, cochairman of the Joint Association of Colleges, said, “The state should opt for the central scheme at the earliest to reduce its liability.” allotted arbitrarily for all times: HC Saurabh Malik Tribune News Service Chandigarh, December 28 An order passed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today made it clear that all is not well with the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the latest being “total arbitrary exercise of power” in the allotment of liquor vends virtually “for all times to ‘NO TRANSPARENCY’ ■ Formula of pick and choose and favouritism is prevalent in the entire system ■ The officers who issued excise policy for 2017-18 till 2019-20 acted contrary to the law come by the finance minister concerned”. The Bench of Chief Justice (Acting) Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sanjay Dhar asserted the court had once again being called upon to clear the skeletons from the cupboard in the UT. Information by the government counsel revealed that 223 liquor vends were at present functional in Jammu and Kashmir. These were continuing with the same persons continued on page 9
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).