30122021-TTC-01.qxd 12/30/2021 12:53 AM Page 1 13 CHANDIGARH | GURUGRAM | JALANDHAR | BATHINDA | VOL. 141 NO. 360 | 14 PAGES | ~5.00 | REGD. NO. CHD/0006/2021-2023 ESTABLISHED IN 1881 DJOKOVIC WITHDRAWS FROM ATP CUP IN AUSTRALIA SPORT /thetribunechd HONG KONG’S NEWS SITE SHUTS DOWN AFTER RAID WORLD OMICRON HAUNTS GROWTH PROSPECTS: RBI REPORT BUSINESS 351 MORE ITEMS ON MoD’S ‘NO IMPORT’ LIST BACK PAGE thursday | 30 december 2021 /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com Omicron less severe but highly infectious, say experts; public health measures afoot Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 29 With the country’s Omicron tally rising to 781 across 21 states and UTs on Wednesday, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) said there was a clear experimental and clinical data supporting very high immune escape potential of Omicron, but initial estimates showed the severity of illness lower than what was seen in outbreaks reported earlier. “Appropriate public health measures and investigations are being conducted in India for surveillance of Omicron,” INSACOG said, while noting that globally there appeared to be significantly reduced ability of vaccines or prior infection to protect against symptomatic infection caused by Omicron variant. In its bulletin released on Wednesday, INSACOG said, Precaution dose for poll staff too Amid curbs, people queue up outside a Metro station in New Delhi on Wednesday. PM MODI’S VISIT TO UAE POSTPONED ■ PM Narendra Modi’s planned visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first half of the next month has been postponed in view of the rising cases of Omicron, sources said. IN BRIEF It’s routine: Govt on Maybach for PM’s security NEW DELHI: Amid speculation on price and other details of Mer- cedes Maybach added to PM Modi’s security, sources said the new cars were not an upgrade, but routine replacement. INSIDE Now, verify your FY 2019-20 ITR by Feb 28 NEW DELHI: The government has allowed taxpayers who have not e-verified their income tax returns (ITRs) for fiscal 2019-20 to complete the verification process by February 28, 2022. TNS Supplementary chargesheet against Deshmukh MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a supplementary chargesheet against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in a money-laundering case. INSIDE Car of BJP’s Panipat MLA Parmod Vij set afire CHANDIGARH: The car of BJP’s Panipat MLA Parmod Vij, parked at the MLA hostel in Sector 3, Chandigarh, was vandalised and set afire by four car-borne miscreants on Tuesday night. TNS Notice to Union minister over case against son MUMBAI: The Sindhudurg police here on Wednesday issued a notice to Union minister Narayan Rane to present his MLA son Nitesh Rane before them in an attempt-to-murder case. PTI READY FOR VIRTUAL POLL RALLIES: BJP ■ Union Minister Gajen- dra Singh Shekhawat said the BJP was ready for virtual rallies in all poll-bound states, including Punjab, and would follow the ECI guidelines in the wake of Omicron threat PHOTO: MR BHUI INDIA TO EXPORT 7 CR DOSES OF COVOVAX ■ The government has permitted the export of 7 crore doses of ‘Covovax’ produced by Serum Institute of India here to Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, official sources said. New Delhi, December 29 Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to all states and UTs asking them to include the personnel to be deployed for poll duty in the category of frontline workers and make them eligible for precaution dose. The poll panel is likely to announce dates for elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur early next month. “As a matter of precaution for frontline workers who have received two doses, another dose of Covid vaccine will be administered from January 10. The prioritisation of this precaution dose will be based on the completion of nine months from the date of administration of the second dose,” he said. — TNS Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Chandigarh, December 29 The newly inducted minister Kamal Gupta of the BJP was today allocated the key portfolio of Urban Local Bodies which was earlier with Home Minister Anil Vij. The twotime MLA from Hisar was also given the charge of Housing for All, which was with CM Manohar Lal Khattar. The second minister inducted yesterday, Devender Singh Babli of the JJP , was given the charge of Development and Panchayats department, which was among the several departments held by Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala. Babli ASSURANCE OF SPEEDY PROBE ■ The Court of Inquiry team, headed by a Major General, inspected the site on Wednesday ■ All efforts are being made to conclude the probe at the earliest, said Army officials << Locals pay tributes to Oting firing victims. FILE PHOTO down when angry villagers later scuffled with them. Sources said the families of those killed and members of the village council did not meet the CoI team following a decision by the Konyak Union, the apex body of trib- KAMAL GUPTA (BJP) DEVENDER BABLI (JJP) ANOOP DHANAK (JJP) INDEPENDENT CHARGE FOR DHANAK ■ Dushyant loyalist Anoop ■ The MoS has also been allo- Dhanak has got independent charge of Labour and Employment, which was earlier with the Deputy CM cated Revenue & Disaster Management, Industries and Food, but these will remain attached with Dy CM will also head Archaeology and Museums department, which was earlier with Minister of State Anoop Dhanak. Reacting to the development, Anil Vij said, “It is the prerogative of the CM to continued on page 11 als in Mon district, to not extend any cooperation to the Army. Konyak Union president Howing Konyak reiterated the non-cooperation with the Army would continue till justice was continued on page 11 Lalit Mohan Tribune News Service Dharamsala, December 29 Himachal Pradesh has immense potential in oil and natural gas exploration, said ONGC chairman Subhash Kumar in an interview with The Tribune. He said the ONGC was carrying out surveys to look for oil and gas reserves in Kangra, Hamirpur and Sundernagar areas. “The corporation will enter into renewable energy sector in a big way. It is presently generating 726 MW of power and intends to take it to 10 GW. We will also look for investments in Himachal in this sector,” he said. Kumar has worked in Subhash Kumar, ONGC chairman the oil and gas industry for about 35 years. In an advice to the Himachal Government, he said it should form an advisory committee of experts from various fields to give a vision to the state for its economic growth. Kumar, who belongs to Kangra district, recalled his journey from a humble beginning to the top post of continued on page 11 PM to launch campaign from Akali stronghold Ferozepur Anirudh Gupta Ferozepur, December 29 In an apparent move to prove a point to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), BJP’s fomer ally in Punjab, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch his party’s campaign from Akali stronghold Ferozepur on January 5. The seat is represented by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal in the Lok Sabha. Also, the BJP and its new partners, the Punjab Lok Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt), intend to make national security as one of the key poll planks. This is why Ferozepur, located a few kilometres from the IndiaPakistan border, has been chosen for the big event. Rajmeet Singh Tribune News Service Chandigarh, December 29 Having reached a consensus over candidates on at least 50 seats in Punjab, the Congress will now conduct another quick survey on seats with more than one strong contender. Discussions in this regard were held at a meeting of the AICC-appointed screening committee for Punjab elections in Delhi on Wednesday late evening. The party has already conducted multiple surveys to determine the ‘winnability’ of aspirants. The final list will be released by the central election committee (CEC) headed by Sonia Gandhi. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Ajay Maken. Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi, PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, former PPCC president Sunil Navjot Singh Sidhu after the meeting in Delhi. PTI Jakhar and Punjab affairs incharge Harish Chaudhary were present. The Congress wants to release its first list of candidates ahead of the announcement of the model code of conduct to counter BJP’s efforts to poach its leaders. The screening committee today held discussions on seats where new faces are to be fielded. There are indications that 10-15 sitting legislators could be replaced. BJP minister Gupta gets key ULB NCM takes cognisance of ‘hate speeches’ portfolio, Babli given Panchayats Seeks reports from Uttarakhand & Chhattisgarh governments Army CoI team inspects Nagaland’s Himachal has immense ambush site; locals won’t cooperate oil, gas potential: ONGC Kohima/New Delhi, Dec 29 The Army’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) team, probing the killing of 14 civilians in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4 in firing by security forces, today inspected the spot in Oting village but locals refused to cooperate with the team. Representatives of Mon district’s civil and police administration accompanied the team. At least three security forces personnel involved in the firing incidents were also present at the spot. Six coal miners returning from work were killed in a botched ambush by the security forces, while seven others were gunned “Delta continues to be the most prevalent variant of concern globally, but Omicron has entirely displaced it in southern Africa and is on track to become the dominant variant in Britain and elsewhere.” According to the Union Health Ministry, of the 781 Omicron patients, 241 have recovered or migrated. Delhi recorded the maximum number of 238 Omicron cases, followed by Maharashtra (167), Gujarat (73), Kerala (65) and Telangana (62). With 9,195 people testing positive for Covid in a day, India’s total tally rose to 3,48,08,886, while the active cases increased to 77,002. The death toll has climbed to 4,80,592 with 302 new fatalities. The daily rise in new infections has been recorded below 15,000 for the past 62 days now. On the vaccine front, the cumulative doses crossed 43.15 crore. edit: lockdown no solution Punjab Congress panel ‘finalises’ 50 poll candidates Prime Minister Modi’s visit has raised the hopes of border residents, who want Hussainiwala border opened for trade Sources said the PM was expected to make important announcements to woo the voters, particularly the farmers, who earlier this month returned home after a yearlong stir at Delhi’s borders. Former minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, who joined the saffron party recently, said there was much enthusiasm among the BJP’s rank and file. “PM Modi has always delivered on his promises. He will be welcomed with open arms,” he observed. Preparations have begun for PM’s visit. Senior BJP leaders Saudan Singh, national vice-president, Punjab president Ashwani Sharma and state general secretary Subhash Sharma, are camping in the town. New Delhi, December 29 The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has taken cognisance of the alleged hate speeches at religious conclaves in Haridwar and Raipur and sought reports from the Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh governments. Chairman Iqbal Singh Lalpura told the media on Wednesday that the commis- sion has also taken note of the namaz row in Gurgaon and called for a report from the Haryana Government. Later in a statement, he said the commission had also taken “suo motu cognisance of attacks on churches” and would look into the matter. Asked if the commission had taken action against the alleged hate speeches delivered by some participants at religious conclaves organ- ised in Haridwar and Raipur recently, the NCM chairman said, “We have sent notices to Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh governments and called for reports. Their reply is expected in the first week of January.” Based on the reports, the commission would decide its next course of action, he said. On the Gurgaon namaz tussle, the chairman said, a notice had been issued to the government.
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.
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