03042021-TTB-01.qxd 4/3/2021 12:44 AM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.5 no.91 | 20 pages | ~6.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2021-2023 established in 1881 US, IRAN TO RESUME N-TALKS NEXT WEEK WORLD /thetribunechd STATE REFINERS ASKED TO REVIEW OIL IMPORT CONTRACTS WITH SAUDI BUSINESS IN KERALA, PM RAKES UP SABARIMALA BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com saturday | 3 april 2021 2nd wave more infectious Row over EVM in BJP nominee’s car Situation in Pb, Hry, Chandigarh worrisome: Centre EC orders repoll at 1 Assam booth I Suspends four election officials Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 2 As India logged 81,466 daily infections in a six-month high today and active cases touched 5 per cent of the total, the Centre said the current wave of the pandemic was more infectious than the first one and flagged 11 states of serious concern, including Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. At an emergency meeting with chief secretaries, DGPs and health secretaries of all states today, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said the infection spike rate of 6.8 per cent in March surpassed the previous record of 5.5 per cent in June 2020. This means the current wave is more virulent and could send more people to hospitals. The Centre asked states to use laws to enforce Nandigram turnout revised to over 88% KOLKATA: A day after polling, the Election Commission on Friday revised the turnout in West Bengal’s Nandigram constituency to over 88 per cent, up from 80.79 per cent on Thursday. The count is 2 per cent higher than that recorded in the 2016 Assembly elections. The seat is in the spotlight due to a highvoltage contest between West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee and her former loyalistturned-BJP nominee Suvendu Adhikari. BACK PAGE Car rams Capitol barricade, 1 shot WASHINGTON: A car rammed a barricade outside the US Capitol on Friday, injuring two Capitol Police officers and leading to a suspect being shot, two law enforcement officials said. The Capitol police said the incident occurred at a checkpoint. The law enforcement officials said the suspect was shot and taken to a hospital in critical condition where he succumbed. The Capitol complex was locked down after the shooting and the staff were told they could not enter or exit buildings. — AP Pb flagged over ‘bonded’ farmhand NEW DELHI: The Centre has alerted the Punjab Government over the alleged illegal practice of engaging “mentally challenged” people from Bihar and UP as bonded labourers by farmers in the border districts of the state. The development follows a BSF communication to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about “rescuing” 58 such workers from the border areas of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Abohar over the past two years. The MHA has sought action. INSIDE LOCAL NEEDS FIRST We are continuing to try to supply to the extent possible given our domestic requirements ❝ MEA on Nepal’s complaints on supply CASELOAD SPIKE 6.8% 5.5% INFECTION THE RECORD SPIKE RATE IN HIGH IN MARCH 2021 JUNE 2020 Covid-appropriate behaviour, plan to ramp up ICU beds, oxygen and isolation facilities and ensure 100 per cent vaccination of those eligible. Gauba said India had reported a very high 5.5 per cent growth rate in daily BARS, EATERIES, MALLS SHUT IN PUNE FOR 1 WEEK TENDULKAR HOSPITALISED; VADRA, ALIA BHATT INFECTED LANKA AWAITS MORE VAX FROM SII, STOPS JAB DRIVE Covid deaths in March. “The country reported 97,000 daily new Covid cases at the peak of the pandemic in September 2020. We have now already reached 81,000 daily new cases,” he said. continued on page 7 Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 2 The presence of a polled EVM in the vehicle of a BJP candidate in Assam’s Karimganj last night reignited the debate on the sanctity of the voting machines with the Congress alleging fraud and the BJP claiming the Opposition raised such questions whenever it feared a defeat. The Election Commission today certified the EVM in question as safe, but ordered a repoll at a booth in Ratabari seat in Karimganj after violence erupted over the issue yesterday and the police had to fire into the air to contain the crisis. The EC also suspended the presiding officer of the booth and three other officials. “Although the seals of the EVM were found intact, it has WOMEN AT BJP CHIEF JP NADDA’S RALLY IN EAST GUWAHATI. PTI CONG, BJP SPAR OVER EVM SANCTITY It’s poll fraud...EC’s car Cong questions EVMs has broken down, BJP’s only when faced with intentions are suspect and imminent defeat. No such the state of democracy has questions in states where worsened. Rahul Gandhi, CONGRESS they win? Jitendra Singh, BJP ❝ nevertheless been decided to conduct a repoll at booth number 149 (Indira MV ❝ School) of LAC-1 Ratabari (SC) as an added precaution,” said the poll panel, which also sought a report from its special observer. According to details made public by the EC, the polling party of booth number 149 of Ratabari constituency was accompanied by a police constable and a home guard. After completion of polling at 6 pm on Thursday, the party left in a vehicle provided by election authorities and was escorted by an armed security party. Their vehicle developed a snag and instead of waiting for the sector in-charge to arrange another vehicle, they used a private vehicle hoping to reach the material receipt centre faster as they were in custody of polled EVMs. The Congress today petitioned the EC with former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar leading the delegation. Party general secretary Priyanka Vadra continued on page 7 Defection even before counting, EC must step in: Cong New Delhi, April 2 The Congress on Friday approached the Election Commission seeking cancellation of elections in the Assembly constituency of Assam where Bodoland People’s Front candidate Basumataray has defected to the BJP . The EC has reserved its orders on the petition. The Congress delegation, led by former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, argued that it was incumbent on the EC to ensure free and fair elections. “Defections induced by illegal means even before the counting of votes is a new phenomenon which is a fraud on the people and robs the electorate of the freedom of choice of their representative,” Kumar said. — TNS Papers of ambulance LAC issues remain, India pushes for early solution carrying Ansari fake Weighing $2 bn worth Chinese FDI proposals Tribune News Service Arun Sharma Tribune News Service Ropar, April 2 The working of Punjab Police has again come under the scanner over Uttar Pradesh MLA Mukhtar Ansari being taken from the Ropar jail to a Mohali court in a private ambulance, that too allegedly registered on a fake address at Barabanki in UP . The BSP legislator from Mau, who is wanted in his home-state for various criminal cases, was on March 31 produced before the court in connection with an extortion matter. The Ropar police claimed no rules were broken in allowing the use of a private ambulance. It feigned ignorance about the fake documents. SSP Akhil Chaudhary said Ansari had obtained orders from a court in UP in 2017-18 for use of a private ambulance for court attendance, for which expenses were to be borne by him. “Punjab Prisons (Attendance in Court) Rules, too, allow for a separate conveyance, provided the prisoner pays for it,” he added. An escort team under the HAD COURT ORDERS No rules were broken. Ansari had in 2017-18 obtained orders from a UP court for use of a private ambulance for court attendance, expenses for which were to be borne by him ❝ New Delhi, April 2 The lack of progress for over a month in disengagement has led India to remind China about the consensus between their foreign ministers on February 25 for quickly resolving the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. The MEA’s comments on the LAC closely follow India’s critical but guarded observations on a WHO-convened global study about the ❝ origin of Covid-19 over which western countries want to corner China. China replied to India’s comments on the WHO study today with a reasoned Ravinder Sood Palampur, April 2 Tension prevailed at Ghatta, 25 km from here, as two groups of villagers from Mandi and Kangra districts clashed over the lifting of water from Bhatwali ‘khud’, a local source. A large number of women from Ghankhetar area of Baijnath in Kangra yesterday reached the construction site near Ghatta and allegedly damaged the pipeline Kangra village opposes supply line to Mandi Villagers at the water pipeline site near Baijnath. In Karnal, 54% govt schools without heads Parveen Arora Tribune News Service Karnal, April 2 Amid claims of the state government about providing excellent education in its schools, nearly 54 per cent of the schools in Karnal district are functioning without principals or headmasters. As many as 95 higher and senior secondary schools in the district are without heads. Of the 176 posts of principals or headmasters sanctioned in the district, only 81 are filled. In the absence of heads, senior-most teachers have been given additional charge. In addition to holding 48% POSTS VACANT ACROSS STATE VACANCIES IN KARNAL DISTRICT 924 Block Posts of head Vacant Assandh 30 27 Indri 21 15 Gharaunda 31 14 Karnal 37 14 Nilokheri 30 12 Nissing 27 13 OF THE 2,207 POSTS OF PRINCIPAL UNFILLED 676 OF THE 1,137 POSTS OF HEADMASTER UNFILLED classes, they have to look after administrative work and education-related policies of the government, hampering the study of students, said sources. The in-charge has to visit district headquarters too for ad7ministrative work. repudiation of points raised by India. South Block is also evaluating Chinese investment proposals worth $2 billion that have been on hold since April last year. ing of the WMCC to take forward the agreement reflected in the statements after the Jaishankar-Wang talks. Bagchi reiterated Jaishankar’s formulation of further progress in ties being linked to disengagement in the remaining areas at the earliest. “The disengagement in the Pangong lake area was a significant step forward and it has provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC,” underlined the MEA spokesperson. HP districts clash over water source Akhil Chaudhary, SSP supervision of a DSP-rank officer was deputed for producing Ansari at the court. The Supreme Court had recently directed the Punjab Government to hand over Ansari’s custody to the UP Police, saying it was being denied on trivial grounds under the guise of medical issues. Following the directions, Ansari’s counsel had continued on page 7 ‘BUILD UP ON JAISHANKAR-WANG CONSENSUS’ As the External Affairs Minister had pointed out to [the] Chinese Foreign Minister, a prolongation of the situation is in neither side’s interest. Arindam Bagchi, MEA SPOKESPERSON “As the External Affairs Minister had pointed out to [the] Chinese Foreign Minister, a prolongation of the situation is in neither side’s interest,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi at the weekly media briefing. The February 25 talks between the foreign ministers, which took place five days after the Pangong Tso disengagement, had touched upon the setting up of a hotline. There has, however, been no response as yet even to Indian overtures for a meet- In Karnal, the maximum vacancies are in Assandh block, where 27 of the 30 sanctioned posts are yet to be filled. Teachers’ associations want the government to promote senior teachers to meet the shortfall. Ajit Chandeliya, press secretary of the Haryana School Lecturers Association, said the government must appoint regular heads as studies suffer when teachers are given additional charge. Deepak Goswami, convener, Rajkiya Prathmik Shikshak Sangh, Haryana, said only regular principals and headmasters could lead the team efficiently as they were not burdened with teaching duties. District Education Officer Rajpal said in the absence of regular heads, teachers were given the charge to look after the school. “The department fills posts as per availability.” Today’s issue consists of 20 pages, including four-page Jalandhar Tribune. being laid by the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department for a drinking water supply scheme for Pandol area in Mandi. A clash ensued as the residents of adjoining Mandi district, who were beneficiaries of the scheme, too reached the spot and countered the Kangra residents. Senior IPH and Kangra administration officials soon arrived at the site and tried to pacify the warring sides, continued on page 7 22 teachers shifted against 2 vacancies bathinda, April 2 Raising a question mark over the "transparent transfer policy" of the Punjab Education Department, 22 teachers have recently been transferred to a government school in Bathinda against two vacant posts. There are 30 sanctioned posts of teacher at Government Adarsh Primary School, Canal Colony, of which 28 are filled. In a letter issued by the department, the principal has been instructed to make the 22 teachers join the school, leaving the authorities baffled. INSIDE A house destroyed during an encounter in Pulwama district. PTI 3 ultras behind attack on BJP leader’s house killed Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 2 Three terrorists, involved in the Thursday’s attack on a BJP leader’s house in the Nowgam area of Srinagar, were killed in an encounter with the security forces in the Kakapora area of Pulwama district today. Acting on specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in Dobhi Mohalla of the Kakapora area, a joint team of the security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation, police officials said. They were fired upon while conducting searches, following which a gunfight broke out. In the exchange of fire, all three holed-up terrorists were killed. Security forces found incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, from the encounter site, officials said. Later, Inspector General (IG) of Police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar, is reported to have said the slain militants were involved in Thursday’s attack on BJP leader Anwar Ahmad’s residence in Nowgam in which policeman Rameez Raja was killed. “Terrorists involved in yesterday’s attack on BJP leader, in which one policeman was martyred, have been killed,” the IG said. Two civilians, including a girl, were injured near the encounter site.
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