YK MYK CASTRO ERA ENDS IN COMMUNIST CUBA AFTER MORE THAN 6 DECADES OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA WEDNESDAY, 21 APRIL, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—333 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO SAY I'M UNFIT: MS DHONI SPORTS Morning India No lockdown, trains will continue to run: Railway Minister WEATHER TODAY MAX 37 C MIN 27 C Sky will be partly cloudy. AT A GLANCE RAHUL GANDHI TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has mild symptoms. "After experiencing mild symptoms, I've just tested positive for COVID," the 50-yearold posted on Twitter. "All those who've been in contact with me recently, please follow all safety protocols and stay safe," he wrote. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished him a speedy recovery. UGC NET EXAM POSTPONED DUE TO PANDEMIC NEW DELHI: The UGC NET December 2020 cycle examination scheduled for May 2021 has been postponed by the government in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Keeping in mind the safety and wellbeing of candidates and exam functionaries during COVID-19 outbreak, I have advised the NTA to postpone the UGC-NET December 2020 cycle (May 2021) exams," tweeted Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. The UGC - National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) for December 2020 cycle (May 2021) in Computer Based Test (CBT) mode was scheduled between May 2 to May 17, 2021, throughout the country covering 81 subjects. The Nation Testing Agency (NTA) in a statement said, "looking at the present situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and also taking into account the safety and wellbeing of the candidates and examination . CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,48,77,438 TOTAL DEATH: 1,77,491 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 141,431,385 TOTAL DEATH: 3,026,506 Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee at a public meeting at Bhagawangola, Murshidabad on Tuesday Mamata says Centre's vaccine policy appears hollow MI NEWS SERVICE N E W D E L H I / K O L K ATA : Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hitting out at the Centre's new vaccine policy and terming it "hollow, without substance and a regrettable show" of evasion of responsibility. The Central Government on Monday announced that everyone above 18 years of age will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 from May 1, liberalising the vaccination drive to allow States, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from manufacturers. "I am informed that the Central Government has announced the much-delayed universal vaccine policy on 19th April, 2021, which appears to be hollow, without substance and a regrettable show of evasion of responsibility by the Central CHAD PREZ DEBY KILLED ON BATTLEFIELD N'DJAMENA: Chad's newly re-elected President Idriss Deby succumbed to his injuries suffered on the frontline while fighting rebels in the north of the Sahel country, the country's army said. This comes a day after Deby, 68, won a sixth term in the latest provisional results on Monday by 79.3 per cent, according to The Africa Report. The elections were held on April 11 and had a turnout of just under 65 percent. Deby came to power through a rebellion in 1990. Deby postponed his victory speech to supporters and instead went to visit Chadian soldiers on the frontlines, as per his campaign manager. The rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which is based across the northern frontier with Libya, attacked a border post on election day . Mamata accuses Modi Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has allowed open market sales of Coronavirus vaccines after shipments made by him to foreign shores have depleted stocks in India. Addressing an election meeting, the Trinamool Congress supremo said the Prime Minister had exported vaccines to other countries to boost his image while States like Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and Bengal have struggled to get doses they required to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. "On Monday the PM said the medicine (vaccine) will be available in open market. Where is the open market, where is the availabilty? You have already shipped out the majority of stock to foreign detinations," she alleged. The TMC supremo said more Covid-19 cases are being reported from Kolkata, North 24-Parganas and Asansol belt and the State Government is trying to manage the crisis from a limited stock. "For six months the Central leadership did not bother to plan, they were busy plotting electoral battles in Bengal, Banerjee alleged. However, she advised people not to panic, adding we will again bring it (pandemic) under a tight leash." Stating that she had learnt that elections to two Assembly seats in Murshidabad, which were counter-manded due to the deaths of candidates, may be held on May 13, Banerjee said "If Eid takes place on May 13, the EC should decide on a voting date keeping in mind the need of voters to celebrate the festival. Government at a time of crisis," Banerjee said in the letter. She also reminded the Prime Minister that she had in a letter dated February 24, 2021 requested his intervention to allow Bengal purchase vaccines directly with State resources and give free vaccination to people of the State. "No response was received from your end. Now when the number of cases in the second wave of COVID-19 is spiralling like anything, the Centre has chosen to tactically indulge in empty rhetoric and shy away from its responsibility for making vaccines available to the people of the country," Banerjee wrote. She pointed out that the announcement made on Monday did not address major issues like ensuring quality, efficacy, stable flow of supply of required number of doses by the manufacturers and also the price at which the vaccines are to be purchased by the States. "It is apprehended that the announced policy might lead to unscrupulous mechanisms in the market, including pricing of vaccines as it appears to be based on market prices which may put the common people under huge financial burden. "More importantly, the supply of vaccines would also become very erratic because the manufacturers are hardly prepared to scale up their production capacities to the desired levels to meet the nationwide demand," the Bengal Chief Minister said. She added that the required vaccines are not currently available in the market and requested for steps to ensure their availability at the earliest. "In sum, I would earnestly request you to kindly ensure a fair, transparent and credible vaccination policy addressing all the issues outlined above, which would enable the people of the country to get vaccines urgently at affordable prices as per current scale as applicable," Banerjee said. learning how to control my thoughts. At the same time, I'm performing better," said Kumari, who would be heading to her third straight Olympics later this summer. The former world No. 1 had finished on top in the selection trials, and she is also leading the recurve women's squad, which is trying to augment its quota for the Tokyo Games from one to three at the final qualifier in Paris in two months' time. "Archery is all about your mind and thoughts. We have to know how to handle pressure, how to control the Piyush Goyal Southern Railway will run special trains or add additional coaches to existing trains to clear the rush of migrant workers wanting to go home, said a senior official. "We will be running two special trains from Villupuram to Purulia and Gorakpur soon. Similarly, we will attach additional coaches based on the rush," B. Guganesan, Chief Public Relations Officer told IANS. He said two additional coaches were attached recently to Alleppey-Dhanbad Express that runs via Chennai at the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. MGR Central Railway Station or popularly known as the central station. MORE ON PG 5, 7 Controversy erupts after Hakim abuses CISF, BJP in purported video State put under 1-week lockdown from April 22 SANJAY SAHAY RANCHI: Chief Minister (CM) Hemant Soren on Tuesday announced ‘Sawasthya Suraksha Saptah’ in the state from April 22 to 29 in order to break the chain of Covid, which has caused large scale infections in the recent days. The decision was taken following a high-level meeting held at the CM’s residence. Soren said, “It is essential to break the chain of Covid spread in the state. However, in a poor state like Jharkhand, it is important to protect both lives and means of livelihood.” He said that the new rules, which would be effective from 6:30 PM on Thursday, must be followed by everyone. He India adds 2,59,170 new cases in single day NEW DELHI: India's total tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to?1,53,21,089?with?2,59,170 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, while active cases surpassed the 20lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. The death toll increased to?1,80,530 with?a record 1,761 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase for the 41st day in a row, the active cases increased to 20,31,977, comprising 13.26 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped. said that all shops barring those selling essential commodities would be closed during the period. The CM said that all offices except those identified by the state and the central governments would be closed. No person would be allowed to move around for works that are not permissible. Five or more people would not be allowed to gather in one place. All the religious places would remain open but devotees will not be allowed inside. The CM said that the Covid chain could be broken only through public cooperation and appealed that citizens should not go out of home for trivial works. He said that people should not only follow the rules but also inspire others to do the same. He wished safety of the people of the state. The CM said that agriculture, industrial, construction and mining activities would continue as normal. Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh and other senior officials were present in the meeting. It may be noted here that the rising Covid cases have led the political parties, trading bodies and other organizations to demand a short lockdown in the state. This issue was also raised during the all-party meeting . Bengal's daily MY THIRD OLYMPICS WILL BE DIFFERENT, SAYS DEEPIKA KUMARI nCoV cases double in 8 days GUATEMALA CITY: Top Indian women's recurve archer Deepika Kumari said on Tuesday that the Tokyo Olympics will be a different experience compared to her previous two Games, and she is expecting a much improved perform in three months' time. The Indian recurve contingent is currently in the city for the Archery World Cup 2021 (Stage I) and will get its first taste of international competition in over a year due to the Covid-19 restrictions. "The (Tokyo) Olympics will be different for me. I'm NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that there is no lockdown in the country and people do not need to panic about how they will reach home. Trains will continue to run as before and people will be able to go anywhere by booking tickets. Goyal said this after a huge number of people turned up at various railway stations and bus stands in the last few days to rush home after night curfew and localised lockdowns were announced in some parts of the country. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was addressing a virtual press conference after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. He dismissed the possibility of a lockdown in response to a question and said, "There is no such thing that the migrant labourers have come in large numbers at any railway station and they are suffering. I am personally monitoring the situation. All the officers of the railway department are also closely monitoring the situation. Special trains are also running." Goyal said there is no need to panic. Trains are available. There is no lockdown of any kind and train services will continue to operate. brain; my mind control, my thought control. That's the key in archery and sports," Kumari told World Archery, the world governing body for the sport. Kumari has already had an illustrious career, finishing on the podium five times in seven appearances at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final and won countless other international medals. Ever since her Commonwealth Games gold at the age of 15, Kumari has been in the limelight and that has added to the pressure. "I didn't know anything at that time. I was so young. I was just enjoying the games. If I win, if I lose, it didn't matter for me. I wish I could go back to that, but in a different way.” MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Bengal on Tuesday registered its highest-single-day spike of 9,819 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 6,78,172, the State Health Department said in its bulletin. The number of new infections in a day has more than doubled since April 13, the bulletin noted. At least 46 more people succumbed to the infection, pushing the toll to 10,652. Since Monday, 4,805 recoveries have been recorded in the State, with the discharge rate currently standing at 89.82 per cent. Accordingly, the number of active cases has risen to 58,386, the bulletin stated. As many as 50,044 samples have been tested in Bengal in the past 24 hours, the department added. MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Bengal Minister and former Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim courted a controversy on Tuesday after a purported video clip, in which he was heard verbally abusing Central forces and the BJP, went viral on social media. In the clip, veracity of which could not be confirmed, Hakim -- during a road show in the southwestern part of Kolkata also apparently threatened to take action against the saffron party and the CISF, once the Assembly polls get over. Shortly after the video surfaced, BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya shared it on Twitter and wrote, "If Mamata Banerjee is constantly instigating her cadres to indulge in violence against Central paramilitary forces, how can her minions be behind?" A delegation of saffron camp leaders also visited the office of CEO Aariz Aftab during the day, urging him to take note of Hakim's comments and initiate action against him. In a letter submitted at the CEO office, the BJP said that Hakim's remarks are violative of the Model Code of Conduct, and attempt to influence the electorate. The party demanded that Hakim be censured and barred from campaigning. "A senior Minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet makes unprintable abusive comments against a political party as well as the Central paramilitary forces which protect us. We urged the CEO to take up the issue with the EC in Delhi and initiate strict action against Hakim," Swapan Dasgupta, who led the delegation to Aftab's office, told reporters. Hakim, the TMC candidate from Kolkata Port area, however, claimed that the BJP was circulating a "doctored" video to malign his image. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had on several occasions said that the Cooch Behar tragedy on April 10 was a "result of a conspiracy" hatched by the BJP to intimidate voters. Four persons died outside a polling booth in Cooch Behar, when the CISF opened fire in "self defence" after allegedly coming under attack from locals. Terming the Cooch Behar incident as "coldblooded murder", Banerjee has claimed that the Central forces were working under the instruction of BJP's top brass, and said she will institute a CID probe into the incident, after her party returns to power."