YK MYK PRASHANT KISHOR HAS A TOUGH TASK SET BY MAMATA IN BENGAL OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA WEDNESDAY, 17 FEB, 2021 PG-12, YEAR— 7, ISSUE—272 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 28 C MIN 13 C Sky will be clear. AT A GLANCE 30 DEAD AS BUS FALLS IN CANAL IN MP'S SIDHI SIDHI: At least 30 persons drowned when a bus loaded with passengers fell into a canal on Tuesday morning in Sidhi in Madhya Pradesh. At least seven persons had been rescued so far. The bus with over 50 passengers was on way from Siddhi to Satna when it went out of control and fell into the canal in Rampur police station jurisdiction around 7.30 am. State Water Resources Minister Tulsiram Silawat confirmed that 30 bodies had been fished out till now. MILITARY SHUTS INTERNET ACCESS FOR SECOND NIGHT IN BURMA WORLD Morning India Para-teachers demanding salary hike breach Mamata’s security, wade into Adi Ganga canal running past her house KOLKATA: In a major breach of the Chief Minister's security, para-teachers who have been agitating for long and demanding a salary hike, stepped into the Adi Ganga canal that flows past Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee 's residence at Kalighat in Kolkata and tried to swim through it to accost the CM. Banerjee is facing a prolonged agitation from parateachers in the State over wage increment. The protesters are part of the Left-leaning para-teachers' body, which has been demanding that the teachers' jobs be made permanent, services be regularised and salary correction done. They are demanding a fixed salary structure parallel to the ones received by their counterparts in other States. The teachers had been demanding the State Government's intervention for long. However, even after multiple attempts of the Government reaching out to them, a truce could not be brokered. On Tuesday, protesters jumped into the canal from the opposite bank with placards and tried to wade across the turgid, shallow waters towards the CM's residence. Due to the timely intervention of the police, the protesters could not enter the CM's residence. The newly-appointed Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra rushed to the CM's house with other senior officers for a spotassessment. Since then, security has been beefed up in the area. A group of para-teachers has been on a sit-in protest outside Bikash Bhawan, the Education Minister's office in Kolkata since December 8 last year. Education Minister Partha Chattopadhyay criticized the para-teachers for their action and said that this was not expected from educators. Banerjee had, earlier this month, announced a three per cent annual pay hike for para- teachers in the state budget. The protesters, however, claimed that the figure was too little. Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice-president Mukul Roy wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah highlighting the problems of the parateachers. Roy said the West Bengal Government "deliberately ignored" the demands of the para-teachers. "The para-teachers in West Bengal have been deprived of their just rights including the promised honorarium for a long time. Their pleas to the State Government including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee remained unheard and ignored," he said in the letter. Toolkit case: Police seek info from Zoom meet WHATSAPP GROUP UNDER PROBE 24 COUNTRIES PROVIDED INDIAN COVID-19 VACCINES SO FAR NEW DELHI: Twentyfour countries have been provided Indian COVID19 vaccines so far, informed NITI Aayog member (health), Dr VK Paul, on Tuesday. Speaking at a press conference, Dr Paul said India can draw huge satisfaction over the progress made so far in the vaccination programme, with close to 9 million vaccine doses being delivered in the country. Dr Paul also informed that the South African and Brazilian variants of the coronavirus have entered the country through travellers. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,09,30,165 TOTAL DEATH: 155,876 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 109,772,790 TOTAL DEATH: 2,420,945 NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police have written to Zoom seeking information about the attendees who joined a virtual meeting on January 11. The meeting was organised by the Poetic Justice Foundation in which the modalities of the Global Day of Action were worked out and based on the course of action decided in the Zoom meeting, Nikita, Shantanu, Disha and others collaborated together to draft the Toolkit document. The Delhi police are also verifying of Greta Thunberg attended the Zoom meeting. According to sources, nearly 60 to 70 persons from India and abroad attended the meeting. The police said that M.O. Dhaliwal, the founder of Canada-based pro-Khalistan outfit Poetic Justice Foundation, had contacted Nikita through Puneet, a Canadian citizen to create a storm on Twitter ahead of the Republic Day. Police said that a woman named Puneet, who is based in Canada, connected these people to the PJF and through them, created the Toolkit Google documents titled "Global Farmer Strike" and "Global Day of Action, 26 January". According to sources, the name of another woman Anita Lal has also cropped up as a co-founder of toolkit document. According to the Delhi Police, one portion of this toolkit document mentioned action points named "Prior Action", such as Digital Strike through Hashtags on January 26 and earlier and creating Tweet Storm from January 23 onwards. Physical action on January 26 and entering Delhi for Kisan Rally and return back to the border. The Delhi Police further elaborated that the second part of the same document mentions tasks such as disruption of India's cultural heritage. MDM COOKS TO GET RS 2000 RANCHI: The State government has increased the honorarium of the Mid-day meal (MDM) rasoiyas cum sahayikas to Rs 2000 per month. Chief Minister Hemant Soren approved the proposal for increasing the pay by Rs 500 per month with effect from April 2020. The CM has approved a sum of Rs 39.79 crore for payment of wages adding a total of 79,551 rasoiyas cum sahayikas would be benefitted. The public relations department informed that the central government provides Rs 1000 to each rasoiya cum sahayika who makes the mid day meals in schools. The state government was providing additional sum of Rs 500 per month which has been further increased by Rs 500. The honorarium is payable for 10 months in a year. LETTERS OF KNOWLEDGE West Bengal Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Aroop Biswas helps a child start her learning journey with the "haathe khori" ceremony on the occasion of Saraswati Puja in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Report on Page 2) ‘4 cases of Covid’s SA variant, one of Brazil found in India’ NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found a total of 192 Covid-19 cases of the new variants of mutated SARS-CoV-2 in last two months, including four from the variant emerging in South Africa and one from the Brazilian variant, officials THE REMAINING CASES said on Tuesday. ARE ALL OF THE UK VARIThe remain- ANT. ICMR DIRECTOR ing cases are all GENERAL, PROF BALRAM of the UK vari- BHARGAVA, HOWEVER, ant. ICMR NOTED THAT NO MORTALIDirector General, TY HAS BEEN REPORTED Prof Balram SO FAR IN THE CASES Bhargava, how- WHO CONTRACTED THE UK ever, noted that VARIANT AS WELL AS no mortality has THOSE WHO ARE INFECTbeen reported so ED BY THE VARIANTS far in the cases FROM SOUTH AFRICA. who contracted the UK variant as well as those who are infected by the variants from South Africa and Brazil. About the SA variant, better known as B.1.351, Bharagava said that its cases were reported in January in four returnees from African countries. "One case was found in a person who returned from Angola, one from Tanzania and rest from persons who returned from South Africa," he said. Bhargava added that that this variant has spread to 44 countries and the National Institute of Virology, Pune is attempting to isolate and culture the variant. "The efficacy of vaccines on it will be known after the isolation and culture of the variant," he said. Meanwhile, the Brazilian variant or P.1 lineage, has been found in the first week of February in a person who returned from the South American country recently. The strain has spread to 15 countries, however, it has been successfully isolated and cultured at the NIV in India, it added. "The experiments are underway to assess the efficacy of vaccines on the Brazilian variant," Bhargava said. 2ND TEST India score biggest win by runs over England, level series 1-1 AXAR PATEL 6TH INDIAN SPINNER TO BAG 5-WICKET ON TEST DEBUT CHENNAI: Debutant left-arm spinner Axar Patel's fivewicket haul in the second innings, coupled with Ravichandran Ashwin's allround performance, helped India score an authoritative 317-run win - their biggestever by runs against England -- in the second Test here on Tuesday. The win levelled the four-match series 1-1. India's previous biggest win margin by run was by 279 in 1986, when Kapil Dev's team defeated England at Headingly, Leeds. The win takes India to the second spot on the World Test Championship points table. India need one more BRIEF SCORES India 329 and 286 (Ravichandran Ashwin 106, Virat Kohli 62; Moeen Ali 4/98) England 134 and 164 (Moeen Ali 43, Joe Root 33; Axar Patel 5/60, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/53) Axar Patel celebrates the dismissal of England Batsman during the 4th day of 2nd test match between India and England at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai on Tuesday. win in this series to seal a spot in the final that will be played in June at Lord's, London, in England. New Zealand have already quali- ARMY USES DRONES, CAMERAS TO MONITOR CHINESE TROOPS ‘WE WILL VERIFY PHYSICALLY WHETHER EACH AND EVERYTHING IS DISMANTLED AND REMOVED’ NEW DELHI: Indian Army teams armed with drones and cameras are monitoring evacuation and dismantlement of military infrastructure by Chinese troops at Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh. Further, the disengagement process at both northern and southern banks of the Pangong Lake is expected to be complete by February 20. The Indian Army team along with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) team will physically verify and re-verify disen- gagement at Pangong Lake. "It will be a joint inspection team, both from Indian Army and Chinese PLA," said a senior government officer. The officer further stated that Indian Army teams will use drones and high-resolution cameras to check and record dismantlement of military infrastructure, especially created along Pangong Lake by Chinese troops. China has created a military garrison at Finger 7 where 13 jetties were stationed, long-range guns were positioned, bunkers were constructed and permanent structures built to accommodate thousands of People's Liberation Army troops. "We will verify physically whether each and everything is dismantled and removed from the position. We will go up to Finger 8 to check if disengagement is happening as per the agreed terms," the officer explained. The agreement states that Chinese troops will move back to Finger 8 and Indian troops will pull back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of Pangong Lake. Further, there would be a temporary moratorium on military activities, including patrolling to the traditional areas. The mountain spur jutting into the lake is referred to as Finger in military parlance. The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 Fingers. India has claimed its territory till Finger 8 and China disputes its claims till Finger 4. There have been regular face-offs between the two armies between Finger 4 and Finger 8, a distance of eight kilometres, on the northern bank of the lake. Further, Indian and Chinese troops are also falling back from eyeball to eyeball confrontation position in the South bank of the lake. In the southern bank of the lake, tanks that were separated less than 100 metres have been pulled back by forces of both countries. India and China are engaged in a ten-month-long standoff at the Line of Actual Control. The confrontations began on the north bank of Pangong Lake, both in the waters and the bank as Chinese incursions increased in early May last year. EX-J'KHAND & BIHAR GUV RAMA JOIS PASSES AWAY BENGALURU: Former Jharkhand and Bihar Governor and noted jurist Justice Mandagadde Rama Jois, passed away on Tuesday due to age related ailments, sources close to Jois family told the media. He was 89. Jois suffered a cardiac arrest, the sources added. He is survived by wife and two children. Jois was a staunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) follower and one of the early proponents of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the country. He was born July 27, 1931 and would have been 90 this year. He was a former member of Rajya Sabha and served as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Jois was born to Narasimha Jois and Lakshmidevamma at Araga village in Karnataka's Shivamogga district. He studied in Shivamogga and Bengaluru and acquired B.A., B.L.degrees and Kuvempu University has conferred him with Doctor of Laws honorary degree.