31122020-TT-01.qxd 12/30/2020 10:48 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.140 no.362 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2018-2020 established in 1881 himachal pradesh UK MPs APPROVE BREXIT TRADE DEAL WITH EU WORLD /thetribunechd SENSEX, NIFTY CLOSE AT NEW PEAKS BUSINESS BJP CAN’T TOPPLE MAHA GOVT: PAWAR BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com thursday, december 31,2020 BJP-JJP loses two of 3 mayoral seats Agreement on 2 pts, next talks on Jan 4 All three MC prez posts gone too Tribune News Service Tribune News Service NewDelhi/Chandigarh, Dec 30 The government and protesting farm unions reached some common ground today to resolve farmers’ concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP . After nearly five hours of negotiations between three Union ministers and a 41member group representing thousands of farmers protesting on Delhi borders, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said resolution had been reached on two of the four points on agenda. Speaking to the media outside Vigyan Bhawan, Tomar said discussions would recommence on the remaining two points on January 4 at 2 pm. The concerns of the farmers on the draft Electric- Chandigarh, December 30 A month after thousands of farmers started protests against the new farm laws, the ruling BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana suffered a setback as it lost two of the three mayoral seats and all the three municipal committee president’s posts in the elections held on Sunday. The BJP won in Panchkula where its mayoral candidate Kulbhushan Goyal defeated Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia of the Congress by a slender margin of 2,057 votes. Former CM and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s confidant Nikhil Madaan became Sonepat Mayor, defeating Lalit Batra of the BJP by 13,817 votes. In Ambala, former Union minister Venod Sharma’s wife Shakti Rani Sharma (Haryana Jan Chetna Party) HP ex-CM Shanta, son shifted to Mohali hospital Our Correspondent Palampur, December 30 Himachal ex-CM Shanta Kumar and his son Vikram Sharma, who had tested positive for Covid-19, were shifted to Fortis Hospital, Mohali, today. The 86-year-old leader’s wife Santosh Shelja had succumbed to the virus at Tanda Medical College yesterday. Shanta Kumar reportedly developed trouble last night after which he was advised to move to a bigger medical intuition. A team of doctors from a private hospital at Palampur accompanied them to Mohali. Shanta Kumar is reportedly under shock due to the sudden death of his wife. His condition is stated to be stable. CIVIC POLLS FARM STIR IMPACT? MC P’kula Ambala Sonepat Winner Kulbhushan Goyal Shakti Rani Sharma Nikhil Madaan Party BJP HJCP Cong emerged victorious, defeating BJP’s Vandana Sharma by 8,084 votes. The Congress nominee finished a distant fourth. The BJP won the lone Rewari municipal council seat where its nominee Poonam Yadav was elected president. In the municipal committee elections in Sampla, Dharuhera and Uklana, Independents Pooja, Kanwar Singh and Sushil Sahu bagged the top post, beating continued on page 9 Penal provision for farm fires to go | No headway on repeal of laws, MSP | Unions defer tractor march Leaders of various farmer unions at Vigyan Bhawan after the meeting. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MANAS RANJAN BHUI ity (Amendment) Bill and the Air Quality Management Ordinance (containing penal provisions for farm fires) had been addressed, he said. Tomar lauded the farm leaders for maintaining peace and discipline during their protest, but urged them to send the elderly, women and the children back home due to the extreme weather. He said the union leaders insisted on repealing the laws, but the government side tried to explain to them the benefits of the Acts and sought to know the specific points they feared. On legal guarantee for MSP the Minister said the , government had already declared that it was ready to give a written assurance. Tomar was accompanied by Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash. Farm leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal, Ruldu Singh and Gurnam Singh Charuni said after the meeting that they had decided to defer tomorrow’s proposed tractor march from Singhu to Tikri via the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway. The farm leaders, however, said they had made it clear to the government that decision on repealing the laws would be key to ending the impasse. While the three ministers joined the farm leaders to share their ‘langar’ food during the lunch break, the union representatives accepted the beverage offered by the government during the evening tea break. For the last few meetings, farmer leaders had been arranging their own food and beverages but had so far refused to accept even water offered by the government. Govt assets may be sold to fund spending New Delhi, December 30 India is likely to spend more next fiscal than this year’s budgeted $415 billion and prioritise infrastructure projects, relying on asset sales of around $40 billion for some of the funding, two people with knowledge of the plan said. After largely keeping its purse strings in check as the Covid-19 pandemic choked businesses and threw millions out of jobs, the Centre is keen on bringing economy back on track with the February 1 Budget. INSIDE 14 more UK returnees carrying new strain Covid hits Pb immunisation drive, leaves children at risk Flights to Britain suspended till January 7 Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 30 India on Wednesday banned flights from the UK till January 7 after the mutant strain was reported in 14 more UK returnees, taking the total number of people with the variant virus to 20. Six passengers were found Covid positive with the new strain on Tuesday. A total of 107 positive samples of passengers who recently arrived from the UK have been tested so far. Of them, 20 have the variant virus. They have all been isolated. The Centre has also written to states and UTs to consider imposing night curfew on December 31 and January 1 to prevent super-spreading events and crowding. UK CLEARS OXFORD VAX The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Oxford UniversityAstra Zeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine. Indian regulators will meet on January 1 to take a call on it. The project’s Indian partner Serum Institute of India has already applied for emergency use authorisation. WORLD After the number of cases with the new strain went up today, Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri announced that the temporary flight ban from the UK had been extended from December 31 till January 7. The government is, meanwhile, stepping up surveil- COVID-19CASES INDIA COUNT RECOVERED 98,34,141 FRESH FATALITIES 286 TOTAL DEATHS 1,48,439 1,02,44,852 TOTAL RECOVERED DEATHS WORLD 8,24,92,070 5,85,14,538 18,00,328 lance for the new UK variant of the Covid-19 virus, which is 70 per cent more infective than the previous strain. Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in his letter to state counterparts said while interstate and intra-state movement of persons and goods would continue, the states “may impose night curfew on December 30, December 31 and January 1 to prevent super-spreading events and crowding in the wake of the New Year celebrations.” Of the 20 persons found with the mutant strain, eight samples were detected positive at the National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi; seven at NIMHANS, Bengaluru; two at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and one each at accredited labs under the Indian SARSCoV2 Genomics Consortium. Meanwhile, the daily recoveries have been outnumbering the new cases for 33 days. In the last 24 hours, there were 20,549 fresh cases and 26,572 recoveries. The national cure rate has risen to 95.99 per cent. Karam Prakash Tribune News Service Patiala, December 30 The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the child immunisation programme in Punjab. Children up to 6 years of age could not receive scheduled doses of vaccines, particularly during the lockdown period. One-year-old Navneet Kaur of Harbans Colony in Samana is among hundreds others who could not be immunised against various diseases in a timely manner. Her parents kept postponing the vaccination as they feared their family could contract Covid if they visited hospital. Her mother Sharanjeet Kaur Hundredsofkidsmissed regulardosesofvaccines EXPERTS WARN AGAINST JUMPING SCHEDULE ■ Children up to 6 years of age could not receive scheduled doses of vaccines on time ■ Their parents kept postponing vaccination for the fear of contracting virus ■ Experts say the efficiency of vaccines gets affected if not given on time said: “After a delay of over six months, we finally gathered courage to take Navneet to a health centre today and got her two doses of Pentavalent.” Pentavalent protects children against five major diseases. Dr Harshinder Kaur, paediatrician, Rajindra Hospital, admitted that the pandemic had severely affected the immunisation drive. An official said: “Health workers were busy in contact tracing of Covid patients, which took toll on the vaccination programme.” Dr Balwinder Kaur, Immunisation Officer, claimed they had been successful in meeting the target after the restrictions were eased. TRIBUNE PHOTO: PAWAN SHARMA 3 militants killed in encounter Central pay scales for Punjab’s new recruits Chandigarh, December 30 In a bid to cut its salary bill, Punjab on Wednesday decided to pay salary to new recruits as per the 7th Central Pay Commission. In a meeting of Council of Ministers, approval was given to recruit 50,000 employees by surrendering or abolishing existing posts in 10 departments. The move will not affect the existing staff. The new recruits will, however, not get the benefit of the state pay scales, which are on the higher side. The decision will also affect the contractual staff who were earlier given relaxation in the upper age limit for recruitment in regular pay scales. Families contest cops’ claim, say 2 of them were students Govt extends I-T IT’S TOTALLY UNFAIR ❝ The new recruits will get at least 10-15 per cent less salary after first three years when they are paid only basic pay. We will take up the issue with the government. Sukhchain Khera, SANJHA MULAZAM MANCH A 20-member task force set up by the state under former Chief Secretary KR Lakhanpal to devise a lockdown exit strategy had, in its report in April this year, pointed out that “Haryana pays salaries equivalent to the Centre whereas Punjab pays about 25 per cent more without any justification”. INSIDE FIGHTING COLD: Workers in Bathinda light a bonfire to beat the chill. NORTH SHIVERS, FLIGHTS DISRUPTED 1.8°C 2.4°C -12.7°C AMRITSAR WAS THE COLDEST IN PUNJAB NARNAUL COLDEST IN HARYANA BITING COLD IN KEYLONG, HP ■ In Himachal, rain and snowfall expected from January 3 ■ Dense fog in several areas, in Jammu nine flights cancelled Srinagar, December 30 The police today claimed to have killed three militants in an overnight encounter in the city’s Parimpora area, but families of the slain youths claimed they had no connection with militancy and that two of them were students. The families from south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts staged a protest outside the police control room. They claimed those killed included a Class XI student, a university student and a carpenter. A police spokesman said while one militant was killed in the early hours on Wednesday, two others were shot dead a few hours later. The encounter broke out A security official takes position during encounter in Srinagar. PTI after the militants opened fire on security forces during a cordon and search operation, he said. The police have yet not disclosed the identity of the slain youths. The families claimed those killed were Athar Mushtaq and Aijaz Maqbool, both students, and Zubair Ahmad, a carpenter. Police officials did not respond to queries about the claims made by the families. However, an Army official said the slain youths were “hardcore terrorists” who used a lot of ammunition and grenades against the security forces during the encounter. “We made several appeals to the youths to surrender, but they did not do so,” the official said. “The quantity of ammunition they used makes it clear they were planning to carry out a major terror strike in the area,” the Army official added. — PTI Death of migratory birds sets off alarm in Himachal Rajiv Mahajan Nurpur, December 30 Mysterious deaths of a large number of exotic migratory birds in the wildlife sanctuary area alongside Pong Wetland, which went unabated on the third day on Wednesday, have alarmed not only the authorities, but locals too. The locals are apprehending possibility of swine flu taking a toll on Locals fear swine flu; samples sent for testing; minister Pathania promises strict action hundreds of the winged visitors since Monday. The wildlife authorities are yet to ascertain the cause behind the deaths. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Hamirpur, Rahul M Rahane rushed to the spot today to IN BRIEF oversee the situation. A team of 50 wildlife officials led by the DFO carried out a special drive to detect and count the dead birds in the sanctuary area in Nagrota Surian and Dhameta ranges. The DFO told The Tribune that dead birds had been found in Sihal, Majjar and Guglara (Sidhatha) sanctuary areas on Wednesday. He said the birds were being buried in a scientific manner. He said the dead birds were of nine species and most were bar headed geese. A team of veterinary doctors from veterinary laboratory, Shahpur, in Kangra also examined the spot. The samples of dead birds were collected for postmortem. Pong Wetland is the first manmade wetland offering transitory place for migratory birds such as bar headed geese, pochards, ruddy, shaddock, coots, pintails and mallards. These birds from China, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tibet, Siberia and Iraq throng the wetland in mid-October and return in March. return deadline DELHI: Extending the deadline for the third time, the government on Wednesday allowed individuals to file income tax returns for 2019-20 fiscal till January 10. The deadline for companies and individuals who need to get their accounts audited has also been extended till February 15. TNS NEW Bathinda blood bank licence suspended BATHINDA: The licence of the blood bank unit at the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, has been suspended for 15 days by the drugs control authority after it found “glaring anomalies” in the functioning of the unit. HIV-positive blood was transfused to four thalassaemiaaffected children and a woman patient in two months at the blood bank unit. INSIDE Hry CM’s aide posted in Rohtak ends life ROHTAK: Haryana Chief Minis- An offical examines a dead bird in Pong Wetland area. TRIBUNE PHOTO ter’s Good Governance Associate Varun Sreedhar (25), posted in Rohtak, allegedly hanged himself in a room at the Circuit House, where he had been putting up. Sreedhar was a resident of Hari Nagar in Delhi. INSIDE
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).