16042021-TT-01.qxd 4/15/2021 11:16 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.141 no.104 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2021-2023 established in 1881 haryana US EXPELS 10 RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS WORLD /thetribunechd INCLUDE NEW TECH IN READINESS PLAN: RAJNATH TO IAF BACK PAGE CITIBANK TO EXIT CONSUMER BANKING BIZ IN INDIA BUSINESS /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com friday | 16 april 2021 Govt to import 50,000 MT of medical oxygen, but denies shortage in country Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 15 The government today said it would import 50,000 metric tonnes (MT) of medical oxygen to ensure supplies to states even as it added that oxygen availability in the country was adequate. As hospitals reeled under oxygen shortage, the empowered group of officers addressing the issue met today and started mapping oxygen sources for 12 highburden states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. “There has been increasing demand for medical oxygen, Centre starts mapping 12 high-burden states, including Punjab 3,842 MT DAILY CONSUMPTION ■ 3,842 MT is the Vials of Remdesivir being loaded into a chopper in Indore. PTI especially from the 12 states with high burden of active Covid cases. The demand in Maharashtra is expected to go beyond the state’s production capacity, while Madhya Pradesh does not have any production of medical oxygen. There is also a national daily consumption of medical oxygen ■ 7,127 MT is the country’s daily production capacity ■ 50,000 MT is the available national stock MONUMENTS/SITES UNDER ASI SHUT TILL MAY 15, SAYS CULTURE MINISTRY trend of increasing demand in oxygen-producing states, Continued on page 9 edit: rural covid surge Weekend curfew in Delhi, malls shut till April 30 New Delhi, April 15 As Delhi recorded 17,282 new Covid cases today, CM Arvind Kejriwal announced a weekend curfew and the closure of malls, gymnasiums and auditoriums till April 30. The weekend curfew will be effective from 10 pm on April 16 (Friday) to 5 am on April 19 (Monday). “There will be no inconvenience to those involved in essential services and going to hospitals, railway stations, airports or weddings. We will issue speedy passes without harassment,” the CM said. Cinema halls will function with only 30 per cent capacity. During the weekend curfew, the movement of people for weddings (up to 50 people) and funerals (up to 20) will be allowed. — TNS No Class X exam in Pb Nod in 3 days for foreign jabs Chandigarh, April 15 Amid the surge in Covid cases, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced that students of Classes 5, 8 and 10 would be promoted to the next standard without exams. A decision on Class 12 examinations, which have already been postponed, would be taken later. For Class 5 students, since exams for four of their five subjects had already been Aditi Tandon Classes 5 & 8 students to be promoted conducted, the results would be declared by the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) on the basis of marks obtained in the four subjects. The results for Classes 8 and 10 would be declared on the basis of preboard examinations or internal assessment. — TNS Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 15 As India became the second country after the US to witness two lakh daily Covid cases, the national drug regulator said it would process applications for restricted emergency use from foreign vaccine makers within three working days. Finalising the regulatory pathway which companies like Pfizer, Moderna and OVER 1,700 TEST +VE AT KUMBH MELA Over 1,700 people have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Haridwar Kumbh Mela area from April 10 to 14 confirming fears that one of the world’s largest religious gatherings may contribute further to the rapid rise in cases. PTI Johnson and Johnson would need to follow, the Central Drug Standard Control HARYANA CANCELS CLASS X EXAM The Haryana board on Thursday cancelled the Class X exam and postponed those of Class XII NEET-PG POSTPONED The government has put off the NEET for postgraduate medical admissions which was to be conducted on April 18. Organisation (CDSCO) said applications could be made Continued on page 9 At 7.39%, inflation rises It’s high time we had woman CJI, says SC to over 8-year high PHASE 5: RECORD CAPF STRENGTH ■ Record 853 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces deployed for the fifth phase of polling on April 17 in West Bengal ■ Ending speculation, EC says no plan to club last 3 phases of polls 24-HR BAN ON GHOSH ■ A 24-hour campaign ban imposed on BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh IN BRIEF Resolution in US Congress on Baisakhi WASHINGTON: US Congressman John Garamendi has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to recognise the significance of Baisakhi and those who celebrate it. — PTI Govt justifies new purchase norms NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday said the proposal for change in specifications of grain procurement was formulated after due consultations, keeping in mind the interests of farmers and consumers . BACK PAGE 125 farmers booked for closing toll plaza New Delhi, April 15 The wholesale price index (WPI) inflation rate stood at 7.39 per cent for March, the highest since October 2012, when it was 7.4 per cent, according to provisional data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade of the Commerce Ministry. Besides WPI inflation touching over eight-year high, most of its sub-sets also touched recent highs. Primary articles inflation jumped to a 13-month high of 6.4 per cent, fuel, power, light inflation rose to 28-month high of 10.3 WORST-PERFORMING CURRENCY IN ASIA Rupee has turned into Asia’s worstperforming currency. It is poised for more losses as lockdowns and restrictions begin hitting growth GDP FORECAST DOWN Goldman Sachs has downgraded the India’s GDP growth forecast for 2021 to 10.5% from 10.9% per cent and manufactured products inflation was at a nineyear high of 7.3 per cent. — TNS ❝ Why (just) higher judiciary… We think time has come when a woman should be CJI. Chief Justice SA Bobde sideration of “meritorious” lot among them for appointment as judges in high courts, a special Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant said, “Why higher judiciary. We think time has come when a Continued on page 9 Biden flags role of India, Russia, China post pullout Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 15 A day after US President Joe Biden announced the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by September 11, Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed unannounced in Kabul. His meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and National Reconciliation body chief Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday sent out a strong signal that Washington intended preserving the gains of the past 20 years made by it and India-backed regimes. The withdrawal will mean a complete end to US dependence on Pakistan for the supply and replenishment routes from Karachi to Kabul, leaving it with a freer hand to deal with the situation in Afghanistan. In a nationally televised speech on Wednesday, Biden flagged the role of Russia, China, India, Turkey and “especially’’ Pakistan in ensuring a peaceful future for Afghanistan after the last of the 2,500-odd US troops, along with about 7,000 NATO soldiers, leave the country on September 11. Blinken’s meetings were a pointer that the US was in concurrence with India’s TALIBAN WARNED It’s important for the Taliban to recognise that it will never be legitimate and it will never be durable if it rejects the political process and tries to take the country by force. ❝ Antony Blinken, US SECRETARY OF STATE A COSTLY AFFAIR ■ America’s longest war cost trillions of dollars & lives of over 2,400 American soldiers ■ Despite billions of dollars in aid, 20 yrs after the invasion, more than half of Afghanistan’s 36 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, according to World Bank figures ANTI-INDIA OPs When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, they welcomed militants and terrorists of all stripes. Many, including the LeT and JeM, were trained for operations in India. ❝ Lisa Curtis, DY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT (2017-2021) HOPE DISRUPTORS WON’T STEP IN Our concern is that the vacuum that is going to be created in Afghanistan should not create space for disruptors to step in. Gen Bipin Rawat, CDS ❝ viewpoint about not abandoning the hard-won gains of the past 20 years. Blinken told Ghani that his visit intended to “demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the US to Afghanistan.” He discussed the importance of preserving the gains of the past 20 years, especially in building a strong civil society Continued on page 9 Riots: Bail for JNU ex-student Umar Khalid New Delhi, April 15 A Delhi court on Thursday gave bail to former JNU student Umar Khalid in a case related to the communal violence in Delhi in February last year, saying he cannot be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity. The court said Khalid was not present at the scene of the crime. “The applicant is not visible in any CCTV footage pertaining to the scene of crime. There is no identification of the applicant...,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav noted. Khalid, however, will remain in jail as he faces other cases. — PTI Migrant labourers wait for a bus in Panipat. TRIBUNE PHOTO Hry textile city Panipat jittery as migrants flee Mukesh Tandon Tribune News Service Cases surge, J&K defers Darbar move SC asks CBI to probe cops’ More hiccups, 200 vehicles stranded at HP’s Darcha role in ISRO spying case Jammu, April 15 In view of the sharp surge in Covid-19 cases, the J&K administration on Thursday deferred the half-yearly shifting of all major offices from Jammu to Srinagar, better known as the Darbar move. Lt Governor Manoj Sinha posted on his official Twitter handle on Thursday, “In view of sharply rising Covid cases in J&K, the government has taken few important decisions ensuring safety of employees. Darbar move has been deferred.” INSIDE New Delhi, April 15 The Supreme Court today accepted the Justice DK Jain Committee report on alleged lapses on part of Kerala Police officers in the ISRO spying case and asked the Centre to hand it over to the CBI for further probe. A Bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar, which asked the CBI to submit its report in three months, made it clear that the committee’s report can’t be made public and can’t be shared with anyone. Appointed by the top court JHAJJAR: The police have booked 125 farmers in connection with the toll plaza closure on Wednesday. The farmers continued with their dharna at Aasoda toll plaza on Thursday also. INSIDE OTHER DIRECTIVES ■ The CBI report is to be sub- mitted in three months or shared with anyone ■ This includes former scientist SN Narayanan, officials named in report and others ■ Not to be made public in 2018, the committee is said to have found “acts of omission and commission” by “responsible officials” of the Kerala Government in the ISRO spying case, which was proved to be false. — TNS Mandi, April 15 The Border Roads Organisation restored the Manali-Leh highway via Baralacha pass on Wednesday. Subsequently, the administration of Lahaul Spiti tried to restore traffic from Darcha to Leh but with a tanker breaking down near Baralacha pass, the highway was blocked once again. Sources said over 200 vehicles carrying students, tourists and labourers were now stranded at Darcha. Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Rai told The Tribune Vehicles on the Manali-Leh road. that the tanker was removed from the road by the BRO but it was snowing at the Baralacha pass. Hence, the movement of vehicles had been restricted beyond Darcha. — TNS Panipat, April 15 Fearing a rerun of the last year’s lockdown, migrant labourers have started returning to their native villages from the Textile City. A number of private buses are plying from the city to eastern districts of UP and Bihar daily. The development has created a dearth of labour, with industries reporting up to 40 per cent shortfall. The city has over 20,000 small and big industrial units, including export houses, with a combined turnover of around Rs 40,000 crore. Over three lakh migrant workers from Bihar, UP West , Bengal and other states are working here. LOCKDOWN FEARS Lockdown fear is not the only reason, many are leaving because of panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh. ❝ PS Sachdeva, PRESIDENT, INDUSTRY ASSN Manoj of Sitapur district in UP, who along with his family members left for his native village today, said he had to face a lot of hardships following the sudden lockdown last year. “Given the scenario, we expect that another lockdown is imminent. I don’t want my family to go through the painful experience once again,” he said. Dry conditions in valley hit Kangra tea, yield down 75% Lalit Mohan Tribune News Service Mehbooba’s mother skips ED summons NEW DELHI: The mother of for- mer J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday did not depose before the ED in connection with a money laundering case. — IANS New Delhi, April 15 Amid demand for better representation of women in the judiciary, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the time had come when a woman should be Chief Justice of India. The top court said it always had the interest of women in mind and its every collegium considered women for appointment as judges in the higher judiciary, but many women lawyers refused judgeship, citing domestic and parental responsibilities. Hearing a plea of women lawyers’ body seeking con- US intends to protect India-backed Af gains A tea garden in Dharamsala. FILE PHOTO Dharamsala, April 15 Dry weather in the region for the past three months has hit hard tea growers of Kangra. Tea production in the Kangra valley is down by 75 per cent, say farmers. Dry weather conditions have hit both yield and quality. Bud formation is not occurring, farmers maintain. Guddu Pathania of Mann Tea Estate, the biggest tea farm in Dharamsala area, said they produced about 28,000 kg tea in April last year. “It seems we will not be able to produce even 5,000 kg in April this year. Owing to poor rainfall, tea plants have started drying up,” he said. KG Butail, a leading tea grower from Palampur, said DRASTIC FALL ■ 70% less than normal rain in the district this April ■ 84% was the rainfall deficiency in March ■ 132 kg tea per hectare is the normal yield in the area ■ 30-35 kg per hectare is the production this year small farmers were the worst affected. Cooperative tea units were not getting enough material for processing and the production had been severely hit. Tea growers allege the government has no policy to protect them. Most policies of the Tea Board of India are aimed at protecting the selfhelp groups or SC farmers, alleges KG Butial. Most poli- cies of the state government are aimed at supporting and promoting apple growers. Tea gardens in Kangra are protected under the law, so growers are not allowed to switch to any other crop. Growers want they should at least be given subsidy for installing tubewells and dripirrigation systems to protect their plantation.
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