22032021-TTB-01.qxd 3/22/2021 12:07 AM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.5 no.80 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2021-2023 established in 1881 KEJRI TARGETS CAPT AT MOGA KISAN MAHAPANCHAYAT PUNJAB /thetribunechd GROUNDWATER CRISIS: WELL-TIMED PADDY MOVE CAN ARREST THE SLIDE INFOCUS BJP PROMISES JOB PER FAMILY IN WB MANIFESTO BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com monday | 22 march 2021 Afterdaylonghuddle,NCPbacks Deshmukh, says he needn’t quit Decision after Pawar calls extortion charges against minister serious Tribune News Service ALLEGATION TIMING SUSPECT New Delhi, March 21 After a daylong huddle and a late evening meeting that lasted nearly three hours at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence here today, party’s Maharashtra chief Jayant Patil said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh won’t resign. “The question of Deshmukh resigning doesn’t arise,” Patil said, hours after Pawar had said CM Uddhav Thackeray would take a call on Deshmukh’s fate over extortion allegations. Congress veteran Kamal Nath also met Pawar as the NCP held a series of meetings to mull ways out of the crisis involving Deshmukh whose resignation the BJP has been THE TRIBUNEINTERVIEW POLLS NO SOLUTION, KASHMIR NEEDS HEALING: MUFTI Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti says elections in J&K are neither a priority for her party nor a solution to the Kashmir issue. Excerpts from an interview with The Tribune on PAGE 9 ❝ Why did Param Bir Singh write the letter after he was shifted… the timing is suspect. Sharad Pawar, NCP CHIEF EXPOSÉ TIP OF ICEBERG BJP workers protest against Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in Pune. PTI MAHARASHTRA LETTER FIRE RAGES Former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh wrote a controversial letter to CM Thackeray alleging Home Minister Anil Deshmukh would call cops to his house and set them extortion targets, with ~100 cr demands a month. demanding. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress put up a What has ❝letter couldbeen alleged in the be just the tip of the iceberg. As (NCP) party chief, what action is he (Sharad Pawar) going to take. Ravi Shankar Prasad, UNION LAW MINISTER united face saying the government was stable and “attempts to destabilise it would fail”. Earlier in the day, Pawar came out for damage-control and continued on page 9 Wanted for murder, 2 Nihangs shot dead Austin in Kabul, talks may focus on troop withdrawal Tarn Taran, March 21 Two murder accused Nihangs were on Sunday shot dead in an encounter after the duo attacked policemen with swords at Singhpura village, 35 km from here. Sub-Inspector Narinder Singh and Inspector Balwinder Singh, both SHOs, were injured. The accused were identified as Gurdev Singh of Ganda Singh Colony in Amritsar and Mehtab Singh, alias Khandewala Baba. They had allegedly murdered Baba Santokh Singh in Nanded. SSP Dhruman Nimbale said Before encounter, 2 SHOs attacked with swords following a tip-off, a police team raided Dera Bidhi Chand at Sursingh village, but the accused fled. The cops then cornered them on the outskirts of Singhpura village. The Nihangs attacked the police and severely injured both SHOs, he said. Another team later confronted the accused near a drain. A gunfight ensued, in which the duo was shot dead, he said. — OC Kabul, March 21 US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived on Sunday in Kabul on his first trip to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief, amid swirling questions about how long American troops will remain in the country, state media said. Austin was expected to meet senior Afghan government officials, including President Ashraf Ghani. President Joe Biden said last week in an ABC News interview that it would be “tough” for the US to meet a May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. — PTI Anti-terror net widens, Boycott threat, HryCM IBtocover825locations unveils projects virtually Mukesh Ranjan Tribune News Service New Delhi, March 21 Keeping in view the country’s need to deal with increased internal and external security challenges, the government has given the green light to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to widen its counter-terror grid by expanding its network to cover 825 locations from the current 374 that work under the MultiAgency Centre (MAC) set up in 2001 after the Kargil war in 1999. SECURITY GRID ■ 374locations are currently on the IB’s counter-terror network ■ 475more districts will be covered under it ■ 174 of these have already been provided connectivity Sources in the security establishment said the MAC continued on page 9 Pradeep Sharma Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 21 With the threat of BJP and JJP leaders’ boycott looming large in the wake of farmers’ agitation, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today went on a mega inauguration spree virtually, launching 163 projects worth Rs 1,411 crore in all 22 districts. While 80 of these projects (worth Rs 475 crore), which were completed months ago, were inaugurated through 163 works launched across 22 districts video-conferencing, foundation stones were laid for 83 other projects (worth Rs 935 crore). The projects pertained to education, health, sports, roads, power and water. Though local ministers, MPs and MLAs were present in districts, the functions were kept a low-key affair. continued on page 9 Strategic Spiti road to reopen 2 mths earlier Dipender Manta Tribune News Service Mandi, March 21 The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has hastened the process to reopen the Sumdho-Kaza-Gramphu road in Lahaul-Spiti much earlier than the usual time. The road is crucial from the defence point of view as it leads to the border Spiti shares with China. Sources say the Union Government Sumdho-Kaza-Gramphu road allows access to China border CHINA has asked the BRO to clear this road earlier in view of the ongoing tensions along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. The BRO has set April 15 deadline to clear the road, which will also connect Spiti to Manali and Lahaul valley via Kunzum pass. The BRO machinery has reached near Batal from Kaza side via Kunzum pass (Gramphu). The Sumdho -Kaza- Gramphu continued on page 9 Cases at 4-month high, Centre flags risk during Kumbh Mela New Delhi, March 21 With the daily new Covid cases touching a high of 43,846 on Sunday, the Centre flagged a potential danger of another surge during the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan today wrote to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, highlighting concerns raised by a high-level team that visited the state recently to review event preparedness. “More than 12 states have shown a surge in cases during the past few weeks. A large number of pilgrims expected to visit Haridwar will be from these states. There is a risk of an upsurge in infection among the local population after the ‘shahi snan’ days,” he said. The Centre warned that the daily testing in Haridwar (50,000 rapid antigen and 5,000 RT-PCR) was not enough to offset the risk. ADVISORY TO U’KHAND ■ Increase share of RT-PCR tests ■ Create awareness of self- reporting among locals ■ Set up system for generating early warning signals ■ Target enhanced testing in high transmission areas ■ Continue periodic testing of frontline workers ■ Strengthen critical care treat- ment facilities 83.14% CASES FROM 6 STATES Of the nearly 44,000 new cases reported on Sunday, 83.14 per cent are from six states MAHARASHTRA 27,126 PUNJAB 2,669 Devotees gather in Haridwar. PTI KERALA 2,078 1,798 PUNJAB SEES 44 DEATHS IN A DAY KARNATAKA 1,565 LS SPEAKER OM BIRLA TESTS +VE GUJARAT REPORTS ON PUNJAB, BACK PAGE MADHYA PRADESH 1,308 Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress and National Conference demanded expansion of the inoculation drive, saying the government should unveil a yearlong plan. — TNS IN BRIEF Five kids die inside storage container BIKANER: Five children aged three to eight years were suffocated to death after they jumped into a grain storage container while playing in Rajasthan’s Bikaner. — PTI Naxals kill cop after abduction in C’garh BIJAPUR: Naxals allegedly killed a cop, Constable Sannu Punem, after abducting him in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district on Sunday. — PTI
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).