31032021-TT-01.qxd 3/30/2021 11:25 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.141 no.88 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2021-2023 established in 1881 haryana 23 NATIONS MULL PACT TO FIGHT FUTURE PANDEMICS WORLD /thetribunechd DISAPPOINTED WITH SC RULING, SAYS CYRUS MISTRY BUSINESS NANDIGRAM POLL DIN ENDS WITH MEGA ROADSHOWS BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com AF CRISIS: EAM FOR ‘DOUBLE PEACE’ PLAN External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has called upon the world community to achieve “double peace” — peace within and around Afghanistan. BACK PAGE IN BRIEF President undergoes bypass surgery NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind underwent a successful cardiac bypass surgery at AIIMS, New Delhi, on Tuesday morning. The President was stable after the surgery. — TNS 22 held for Nanded gurdwara violence MUMBAI: The police arrested 22 persons after an attack on cops by a mob of sword-wielding Sikhs in Nanded on Monday. They were irked over denial of permission to hold a procession due to the pandemic. — PTI Venugopal recuses from Katju case NEW DELHI: Claiming he has known Justice Markandey Katju for 16 years, Attorney General KK Venugopal recused himself from dealing with criminal contempt plea against the former SC judge. — TNS wednesday | 31 march 2021 Micro-containmentnot enough, Talkssoon,Depsang, govt wants dist-level lockdowns Gogra on agenda Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service Unless checked, surge can overwhelm health systems, Centre tells states Tribune News Service New Delhi, March 30 As the Covid-19 surge continued with active cases touching 5,40,720 today after 56,211 new infections, the Centre on Tuesday asked the states to go in for large containment zones with strict perimeter control, effectively backing district-level lockdowns to break the chain of virus transmission. In a letter to state chief secretaries, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan today said, “Unless checked now, the current Covid surge has the potential to overwhelm health systems… any complacency at any level will come at a heavy cost.” The letter indicated a shift from micro-containment strategy to large-containment zones with Bhushan noting, “Where there are clusters of cases, simply quarantining individuals or families will not help. In that case, large containment zones with clear boundaries and stringent controls must be implemented. There should be strict perimeter continued on page 9 10-FOLD SPIKE IN CASES MAHA FEB 10 MARCH 24* Daily cases 3,051 34,456 Deaths 32 118 PUNJAB FEB 10 MARCH 24* Daily cases 240 2,742 Deaths 8 52 (*AVERAGE COUNT OVER 6 WEEKS) JAB FOR 45-PLUS FROM TOMORROW A health worker collects samples at ISBT in New Delhi. MANAS RANJAN BHUI From April 1, those aged 45 years and above can register for jab on www.cowin.gov.in or Aarogya Setu. Onsite registration can be done at health facilities after 3 pm Worst spike, Pb extends curbs Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 30 With March turning out to be the worst month since September 2020, the Punjab Government today ordered extension of all Covid-19 restrictions till April 10. The state has reported 54,614 infections and 981 deaths in this month so far. The figures are next only to those reported in September LATEST MEASURES ■ All curbs to remain in force till Apr 10 ■ Vax drive to be launched in prisons ■ Number of vaccination sites to be increased INFECTION RATE AT 3-MONTH HIGH IN HARYANA INSIDE last year (around 60,000 cases and 2,000 deaths). Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh also directed the Health Department to increase the number of vaccination sites to target the priority categories on urgent basis. Reviewing the Covid situation with the Chief Secretary and other officials, the CM said all restrictions would now remain in force till April 10, after which these would be reviewed again. The CM also ordered the launch of a continued on page 9 Don’t expect more exemption Imran replies to Modi; on online MSPpayment, Pb told open for talks, raises ‘K’ Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service New Delhi, March 30 Punjab’s non-compliance with the government order on direct online payment of minimum support price (MSP) to farmers could spell trouble for rabi procurement this year with the Centre digging in heels and saying the state would not get any further exemption in the matter. The wheat procurement in Punjab starts from April 10. Official records show Punjab is the only among 12 procuring states not making direct digital payment to farmers, as mandated by the Finance Ministry’s Public Finance Management System (PFMS) order issued on May 28, 2018. Centre wants digital system for coming rabi season ARHTIYAS’ ‘CUT’ ■ Punjab continues to pay MSP to farmers through arhtiyas ■ The Centre had in 2018 told all states to shift to digital mode ■ Arhtiyas ‘deduct’ ~12/quintal from MSP, as per a report MANY CHANCES GIVEN, GOYAL REMINDS CAPT Despite multiple exemptions and sufficient time, Punjab has not implemented norms for direct digital MSP payment to farmers. Piyush Goyal, FOOD MINISTER ❝ Punjab continues to pay farmers through arhtiyas under the Punjab Agriculture Produce Marketing Rules1962, which, it says, mandates MSP payments through com- mission agents. Several states have even integrated their land records with the central procurement portal, something Punjab hasn’t done. continued on page 9 Islamabad, March 30 Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, saying creation of an “enabling environment” is imperative for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, in particular the J&K issue. Khan's letter was in reply to Prime Minister Modi's letter to him last week to extend greetings on the occasion of Pakistan Day. In his letter, Modi had said that India desires cordial relations with Pakistan but an atmosphere of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is “imperative” for it. In his reply to Prime Minister Modi's letter, Khan thanked him and said the people of Pakistan also desire peaceful cooperative relations with all neighbours, including India. While PM Modi talked about a terror-free environment for peace, Khan said that peace was possible only if outstanding issues like Kashmir were resolved. “We are convinced that durable peace and stability in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues,” he wrote in the letter dated March 29. — PTI India may face heat of US sanctions on Myanmar Tribune News Service New Delhi, March 30 The impact of US sanctions on two Myanmar military companies may be lapping Indian shores after Australian human rights lawyers claimed that Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies. The US sanctioned Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) last week as it was “a vital financial lifeline” for the junta which has overthrown the elected government and killed hundreds of unarmed protesters. Though the lawyers’ report claims Adani is paying about Rs 2,500 crore to MEC, the group sees it differently. The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and the Justice for Myanmar group say the documents reveal that the amount was provided to MEC which “stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the ICC and ICJ for crimes against humanity”. The intention is to pressure Canberra into dumping its investment in Adani Ports, which also owns North Adani group in port deal with junta firm: Report MYANMAR VILLAGERS FLEEING TO THAILAND. REUTERS MANIPUR SAYS NO TO REFUGEES, RETRACTS The Manipur Government issued a circular to the DCs of districts bordering Myanmar not to open camps for refugees fleeing the neighbouring country but later withdrew it to avoid potential public anger. PTI Queensland operations linked to Carmichael coal mine. These Australian lawyers and activists also want sovereign wealth funds and pension funds to stop investing in Adani Group on ethical grounds. “The Yangon project is independent with no joint venture partners. We are watching the situation carefully and will engage with relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice for the way forward,” said an Adani Ports spokesperson. Edit: Volte-face by manipur New Delhi, March 30 The Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs has decided to conduct the next round of military commander talks, the dates for which are yet to be worked out. The talks will be held at the designated meeting point along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. Sources said there could be a “positive outcome”. The commanders of the two sides had last met on February 20 after completing the first phase of the pullback from the LAC. In the first phase, there was visible disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops along the banks of Pangong Tso, a 135-km glacial lake. The next two steps — deescalation and de-induction, which means pulling back troops and war equipment to the pre-April 2020 home bases — have not yet begun. The WMCC comprises representatives of foreign ministries and militaries of both sides. It had last met on March 12 and decided to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement at the earliest. India, China yet to finalise dates, further de-escalation likely Recurring payment not to be automatic STILL AT STRIKING RANGE ■ The present positions of troops are not face-to-face, but are within the striking range from where rapid redeployment is possible ■ The military is cautious as snowmelt will open up several mountain passes by April-end ■ The matters of disengagement at Depsang, Gogra or Hot Springs are slated to come up in the upcoming talks The need to go to the WMCC arose as the military commanders could not arrive at a timeline of the phased deescalation and de-induction. The first phase of the disengagement process commenced on February 10, as both sides started withdrawal from the banks of Pangong Tso. It is stalled at the next phase of de-escalation and de-induction. NewDelhi, March 30 Come April, there will be no automatic recurring payment for various services, including recharge and utility bills, as the RBI has made an additional factor of authentication mandatory. However, banks are seeking more time to comply with the RBI directive. PAGE 10 Uncomfortably high inflation: Moody’s New Delhi, March 30 India’s inflation is at “uncomfortably high” level, which is an exception among Asian economies, Moody’s Analytics said on Tuesday. Higher fuel prices will keep upward pressure on retail inflation and keep the RBI from offering further rate cuts, said Moody’s Analytics, a financial intelligence company. PAGE 10
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