YK MYK UDDHAV, SHARAD HAVE A TOUGH TASK TO SAVE ALLIANCE FROM BJP OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA WEDNESDAY, 31 MARCH, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—312 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 41 C MIN 23 C Sky will be clear. AT A GLANCE PANT NAMED DELHI CAPITALS CAPTAIN FOR IPL 2021 NEW DELHI: Star India batsman Rishabh Pant was on Tuesday named captain of Delhi Capitals in place of an injured Shreyas Iyer for the upcoming Indian Premier League season beginning on April 9. Iyer has been ruled out of the IPL after injuring his left shoulder during the recently-concluded India-England ODI series. "Under Shreyas' captaincy, our team reached newer heights, and he is going to be missed immensely. In his absence, the franchise has collectively picked Rishabh to lead the team this year," DC Chairman and co-owner Kiran Kumar Gandhi said in a release. MORE ON PG 12 TDS BE DEDUCTED ON CASH WITHDRAWALS FROM POST OFFICE SCHEMES NEW DELHI: The Department of Posts has issued new rules for deduction of TDS if the aggregate withdrawal from all post office schemes is more than Rs 20 lakh. The provision includes withdrawals from PPF also. As per the new provisions under Section 194N of Income Tax Act 1961, if an investor has not filed income tax returns (ITR) for the previous three assessment years then tax deducted at source (TDS) will be deducted from the withdrawal amount. The new rule is applicable from July 1, 2020. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,21,06,756 TOTAL DEATH: 1,62,218 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 128,408,993 TOTAL DEATH: 2,807,211 LATEST COVID SPIKE FORCES FILMMAKERS TO DELAY RELEASES SCREEN & CINEMA Morning India Covid 2nd wave: Situation going from bad to worse NEW DELHI: The current coronavirus situation in the country is going from bad to worse with the surge in cases and the trends showing that the virus is still very active, NITI Aayog's Member (Health) V.K. Paul cautioned on Tuesday. Addressing the weekly press conference, Paul said: "As you have noticed in the last few weeks, the situation is becoming bad to worse. It is a serious cause of concern. In some states in particular, there is a huge cause of worry. No part of the country should be complacent." Against the backdrop of increasing cases in the previous three weeks, Paul said that the trends show is that "coronavirus is still very active, can penetrate our defences and strike back when we think that we have found ways to control it". India recorded 56,211 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours taking the total tally to 1,20,95,855 on Tuesday. Six states -Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Union Minister for Health Dr Harsh Vardhan receives a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, in New Delhi on Tuesday. ANI Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat -- continue to report a surge in daily new cases. This is the second peak. India had fought through the first wave of infection six months ago, recording a highest single-day spike of 93,617 cases on September 16, while the highest number of deaths recorded in a day were 1,169 on September 15. Paul said: "We are facing an increasingly severe intensive situation, more so in some districts but the whole country is potentially at risk. If the cases are more, they will eventually overwhelm the system. The deaths will also occur, even if they are low. If it is business as usual, we will continue to be chased by the virus." He, however, assured that the country has sufficient capacities in the hospitals, ambulance services and ICU beds are functional. "Dedicated hospitals set up must be re-energised, retested and rehearsed so that the load of patient come, we are able to manage it effectively," he said. Modi’s Bangladesh visit violated poll code: TMC to EC KOLKATA: The Trinamool Congress has written to the Election Commission alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Bangladesh violated the Model Code of Conduct in place for the Assembly polls and some of his programmes there "werer intended to influence the voting pattern" in certain constituencies of the State. The letter dated March 28 was released by the Trinamool Congress on Tuesday. Modi visited Bangladesh from March 26 to 27 to attend the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the country's Independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman following an invitation from his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina. The subject line of the letter written by TMC national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien read: "Gross violation of democratic ethics and the Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to Bangladesh." "We have no objection whatsoever to his visit to Bangladesh for this official purpose. After all, India played a critical role in the liberation of Bangladesh. West Bengal, in particular, made an immense contribution to the heroic struggle of our fellow Bengalis in (what was then) East Pakistan for freedom from the brutal regime in West Pakistan. "However, the All lndia Trinamool Congress strongly objects to Shri Modi's pro- BJP supporters greet Mamata with ‘Jai Shri Ram' in Nandigram Shah leads massive rally in Nandigram for Suvendu MI NEWS SERVICE Keep calm and vote for Trinamool Mamata tells Nandigram voters MI NEWS SERVICE NANDIGRAM: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday appealed to the voters in Nandigram to keep their cool and vote for her party, the Trinamool Congress. Banerjee is contesting from Nandigram against BJP's Suvendu Adhikari, her close aide turned adversary. Nandigram will go to the polls in the second phase on April 1. Appealing to the voters during her “padyatra” at Sona Chura in Nandigram, Banerjee said: "Cast your votes peacefully during the elections. Keep in mind, 'cool cool Trinamool, thanda thanda cool cool, vote pabe joda phool'." Banerjee also alleged that police forces from the BJPruled States have been brought into West Bengal to “terrorise” the voters in the Nandigram Assembly constituency. There were reports that Banerjee was greeted with “Jai Shri Ram” slogans by BJP supporters when she crossed the venue of Union Home Minister Amit Shah's roadshow in Nandigram on Tuesday. Banerjee was proceeding to the venue of her own “padyatra” when the saffron party supporters raised Jai Shri Ram slogans. Nandigram became one of the most high-profile constituencies in West Bengal after Banerjee announced to contest from there. She has been camping in Nandigram since Sunday. Tuesday was the last day of campaigning in Nandigram where polling will be held on April 1 in the second phase along with 29 other constituencies. CBI questions suspected coal scam mastermind KOLKATA: The CBI on Tuesday questioned Anup Majhi, the alleged mastermind of illegal coal mining in Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in Asansol, in connection with the coal pilferage scam, officials said. Majhi was asked to appear before the agency at 11 am today at the agency's Nizam Palace Office in Kolkata. Earlier this month, the CBI had interrogated Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee's sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir. The agency had also interrogated Gambhir's husband and father-in-law in connection with the coal scam. The Supreme Court had restrained the agency from arresting Majhi till April 6. "The petitioner shall not be arrested until April 6. This order has been passed without going into the merit of the case. We clarify that this order will not restrain the investigation," a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud had said. The bench, also comprising Justices M R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna, directed that Majhi shall cooperate in the probe in the case. The multicrore coal pilferage scam is related to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the State's Kunustoria and Kajora areas. The CBI had registered an FIR in November last year against the alleged kingpin of the pilferage racket, Manjhi alias Lala, ECL general managers Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai, ECL security chief Tanmay Das, Kunustoria area security inspector Dhananjay Rai and Kajor area security in-charge Debashish Mukherjee. NANDIGRAM: TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is contesting the Assembly elections from Nandigram, was greeted with “Jai Shri Ram” slogans by BJP supporters on Tuesday at Reyapara here, where she had been camping for the past two days. The Chief Minister, moments before she was about to leave for her programme at Bhangabera in the constituency - set to go to polls on April 1 – was seen sitting calmly inside the vehicle, as police personnel deputed for her safety made sure that the saffron camp supporters got out of her way. Local TMC members claimed that the "BJP, sensing defeat, is resorting to cheap tactics" to inconvenience others. A senior BJP leader here said raising “Jai Shri Ram” slogan was not a crime, as people across the country revere the Hindu deity. The TMC chief, an MLA from Bhawanipore, this time decided to fight the elections from Nandigram, where her protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari has been fielded by the BJP. The two had engaged in a bitter war of words over the past few days, with Adhikari accusing Banerjee of practising appeasement politics, and the TMC boss alleging that the saffron camp had been trying to polarise voters on religious lines. MI NEWS SERVICE NANDIGRAM: In a mega show of strength in the highstakes Nandigram constituency, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday held a massive roadshow in support of BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari, who is pitted against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Shah, along with Adhikari, was received by a sea of people gathered along the road between Bethuria and Rayapara. Chants of "Jai Shri Ram" filled the air as Shah and Adhikari atop a gaily festooned campaign vehicle with posters screaming "Banglay Ebar Asol Poriborton" choked grammes in Bangladesh on March 27. These had nothing to do with either the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh or the birth centenary of 'Bangabandhu'. Rather, they were solely and exclusively intended to influence the voting pattern in certain constituencies in the ongoing elections to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal," O'Brien said in the letter. "No lndian Prime Minister has so brazenly indulged in an unethical and undemocratic act and violated the Model Code of Conduct by indirectly campaigning for his party from foreign soil," he said. Stating that West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has the highest respect for all the communities that constitute the rich and diverse the four-kilometre stretch on the same day when Banerjee, too, was scheduled for canvassing in Nandigram, where campaigning ends on the day. Shah said the people's response has made it clear who is going to win in Nandigram. "It's BJP everywhere in West Bengal! I am sure that Nandigram will turn out to be the epicentre of Poriborton in Bengal. Have a look at these pictures from the streets of Nandigram," tweeted Shah hours later as he already embarked on two other roadshows in Debra in Paschim Medinipur and Panskura Paschim in Purba Medinipur. He shared a number of photographs that mosaic of West Bengal society, the complaint further said, "The political motive behind PM Modi's visit to Orakandi in Bangladesh is doubly proven by the fact that he took along with him Santanu Thakur, a BJP MP from West Bengal, who holds no official position in the Government of India. No MP or representative from Trinamool Congress or other parties was invited to accompany the PM. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has thus grossly misused his official position to interfere from foreign soil in the election process in West Bengal," O'Brien said. "The All lndia Trinamool Congress demands that the Election Commission of lndia not only censure him but also take deterrent punitive action against him so that he dares not repeat such misconduct in future," he said. showed the crowd frenzy. "Seeing the enthusiasm among the people of Nandigram, it is clear that BJP's candidate Suvendu Adhikari is going to win from Nandigram. The easiest way to bring 'poribartan' (change) is to make sure Mamata Didi loses from here," he told the crowd and later tweeted in Bangla. Voting in Nandigram will take place in the second phase of election on April 1 along with 29 other Assembly seats. After the first phase of polling, which saw record turnout, Shah has claimed that the saffron party will win 26 seats out of 30 which went for polling on March 27. Campaigning for second phase of poll ends KOLKATA: Campaigning for the second phase of West Bengal Assembly poll ended on Tuesday evening, setting the stage for the voting in 30 constituencies spread across four districts on April 1. The fate of 171 candidates will be decided in the second phase by 75,94,549 voters who will exercise their franchise in 10,620 polling booths spread across the 30 constituencies, the Election Commission sources said. All the booths where polling will be held in the second phase have been declared as "sensitive" by the EC, sources in it said. It will deploy total 651 companies of Central Armed Police for this phase of election which will be held in Bankura (Part II), Purba Medinipur (Part II), Paschim Medinipur (Part II) and South 24 Parganas (Part I), they said. A total 199 companies of CAPF will be deployed in Purba Medinipur, 210 companies in Paschim Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas and 72 in Bankura, the sources said. The final day of the campaigning saw hectic canvassing for the Nandigram seat in Purba Medinipur district where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is facing BJP leader and her former follower Suvednu Adhikari. Union Home Minister Amit Shah held roadshows with Bengal's megastar Mithun Chakraborty in support of Adhikari in Nandigram during the day, while Banerjee, who is confined to a wheel chair following her injury which she had sustained while campaigning in the constituency, criss-crossed it addressing rallies at several venues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda had led BJP's campaign from the front addressing rallies at Kanthi and Nandigram and urging the electorate to vote for the saffron party to usher in 'ashol poriborton' (actual change) to build 'Sonar Bangla' (prosperous Bengal). Modi in his rallies had attacked the TMC Government and Banerjee, accusing her of "appeasement politics" and asserting that "khela shesh hobe" (game will be over). Other star campaigners of the BJP stressed on various scams of the ruling Trinamool Congress - from the Saradha and Narada tape scam to the recent allegations over the siphoning of funds for Amphan relief and the COVID-19 pandemic. They highlighted the achievements of the BJP-led Government at the Centre in their rallies and blamed the TMC Government for not allowing schemes like the Ayushman Bharat, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi to be implemented in the state, where the BJP leaders claimed corruption and anarchy are prevalent. Mutations could render Covid vax ineffective in a year: Experts NEW YORK: Mutations could render current Covid-19 vaccines ineffective in a year or less, according to two-thirds of 77 epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists from 28 countries surveyed by People's Vaccine Alliance. The results published on Tuesday deliver a stark warning of the risk the world is taking by failing to ensure all countries have sufficient vaccines to protect people from Covid-19. Of those surveyed, almost a third gave a timeframe of nine months or less. Fewer than one in eight said they believed that mutations would never render the current vaccines ineffective. The overwhelming majority - 88 per cent -- said that persistent low vaccine coverage in many countries would make it more likely for vaccine resistant mutations to appear. The People's Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of over 50 organisations including African Alliance, Oxfam and UNAIDS, warned that at the current rate it was likely that only 10 per cent of people in the majority of poor countries will be vaccinated in the next year. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed - who included epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists from institutions including Johns Hopkins, Yale, Imperial College, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Cambridge University, the University of Edinburgh and The University of Cape Town -said that open sharing of technology and intellectual property could increase global vaccine coverage. "The more the virus circulates, the more likely it is that muta- tions and variants will emerge, which could make our current vaccines ineffective. At the same time, poor countries are being left behind without vaccines and basic medical supplies like oxygen," Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh in Britain, said in a statement. "As we've learned, viruses don't care about borders. We have to vaccinate as many people as possible, everywhere in the world, as quickly as possible. Why wait and watch instead of getting ahead of this?" While he didn't specify a timeframe, Gregg Gonsalves, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Yale University, echoed the urgency to vaccinate globally. "With millions of people around the world infected with this virus, new mutations arise every day. Sometimes they find a niche that makes them more fit than their predecessors," Gonsalves said. "These lucky variants could transmit more efficiently and potentially evade immune responses to previous strains. Unless we vaccinate the world, we leave the playing field open to more and more mutations, which could churn out variants that could evade our current vaccines and require booster shots to deal with them." The survey shows that it is imperative for the safety of all citizens in all countries that people in developing countries are vaccinated as soon as possible. Failure to tackle global vaccine inequality heightens the risk of further mutations. Despite this imperative, rich country defence of the monopolies of pharmaceutical giants mean that global supplies are being artificially rationed, with a handful of companies deciding who lives and who dies. Earlier this month, rich countries blocked a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines. The People's Vaccine Alliance is urging them to reconsider when talks resume at the World Trade Organisation in April. The alliance is also calling for all pharmaceutical corporations working on Covid-19 vaccines to openly share their technology and intellectual property through the World Health Organization Covid19 Technology Access Pool, in order to speed up and ramp up the production and rollout of vaccines to all countries.