YK MYK POLITICAL PARTIES OF ASSAM PREPARE FOR THE VERDICT OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA MONDAY, 26 APRIL, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—338 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 38 C MIN 27 C ‘NO CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO MOVE AWAY FROM GLAM ROLES’ SCREEN & CINEMA Morning India Bengal to go to polls for Centre restricts use of liquid oxygen for only medical purposes phase-7 today Sky will be partly cloudy. AT A GLANCE SC JUDGE MOHAN M SHANTANAGOUDAR PASSES AWAY NEW DELHI: Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar, a sitting Supreme Court Judge passed away on Saturday. He was 62 years old and breathed his last at the Medanta Hospital in Gurugam, Haryana. He was suffering from prolonged illness and was recently infected with viral pneuPG 7 monia. LOCKDOWN EXTENDED IN DELHI TILL MAY 3 NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday extended the lockdown in the national capital for one more week till May 3 amid the surge in the coronavirus cases. The situation is far from normal in Delhi due to which the Delhi government has extended the lockdown for another week. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,69,67,222 TOTAL DEATH: 1,92,367 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 147,192,753 TOTAL DEATH: 3,115,411 A worker refills Oxygen cylinders at an agency, in New Delhi on Sunday. NEW DELHI: To ensure that there is no lack of oxygen in the Covid-19 hospitals across the country, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Sunday banned use of liquid oxygen for any non-medical purpose while directing its manufacturing units to maximise production and make it available to the government for medical purposes only. The ministry, in an order, stated that the National Executive Committee (NEC), under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, has taken certain decisions to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country. "And whereas, it has been considered necessary to restrict industrial usage of oxygen for ensuring availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country for management of Covid-19 patients and necessary order in this regard was issued on 22.04.2021 to restrict the use of industrial oxygen. UTTARAKHAND AVALANCHE Death toll rises to 11, all deceased hailed from Jharkhand HARDWAR: The death toll in an avalanche at Sumna near the Indo-China border in Chamoli district rose to 11 on Sunday with the recovery of one more body, officials said. So far, 384 BRO workers caught in the avalanche, which occurred on Friday, have returned to safety. “One more body was recovered from the avalanche site on Sunday taking the death toll to 11,” Chamoli District Magistrate Swati S Bhadauriya said. The bodies have been brought in two IAF helicopters to Joshimath where their post-mortem is being conducted, she said. The deceased have been identified as Tarni Singh, Manoj Thander, Rohit Singh, Niyaran Kandulna, Paul Kandulna, Hanuk Kandulna, Sajen Kandulna, Masi Das, Rahul Kumar, Nirmal Saindil and Sukhram Munda, Bhadauriya said. They were all from Jharkhand, she said. Seven people injured in the avalanche are being treated. Six of them are admitted in the Army Hospital at Joshimath and one has been referred to a hospital in Dehradun, she said. ANI "Now, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred under section 10(2)(I) and section 65 of the DM Act, the undersigned, hereby directs the state/Union Territory governments and state/Union Territory Authorities to ensure that use of liquid oxygen is not allowed for any non-medical purpose and that all manufacturing units may maximise their production of liquid oxygen, and make it available to the government for use for medical purposes only, with immedi- People interested in 'COVID ki baat', not 'Mann ki baat': Mamata CM CONDOLES DEATH OF WORKERS SANJAY SAHAY RANCHI: CM Hemant Soren on Sunday condoled the death of 11 workers from Jharkhand in the glacier burst, which took place in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand on Friday. Notably, district magistrate Chamoli has informed the state government that a glacier break took place in Sumna area in which 11 workers stationed at the Border Road Organisation camp died and seven others were injured. He said that all the deceased and the injured persons are from Jharkhand. The CM said that the news is heart-rending and prayed for peace of the departed souls. The CM wished the injured workers a speedy recovery. MI NEWS SERVICE BAHARAMPUR: Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday claimed that people are no longer interested in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Maan ki baat' programme, they, instead, want to hear 'COVID ki baat'(COVID- related talks) as the pandemic has left lakhs gasping for breath, amid shortage of vaccines and oxygen cylinders. Modi, during his monthly radio broadcast 'Mann ki baat' earlier in the day, said that the COVID-19 "storm" has shaken the country, and urged people to get vaccinated. Banerjee, during a meeting with party workers at an auditorium in Murshidabad district, claimed that Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah were busy "planning ways to capture Bengal, when they should have been taking appropriate measures" to combat the second wave of VEGETARIANS LESS VULNERABLE TO COVID INFECTION, SAYS STUDY NEW DELHI: A recent survey conducted by CSIR (Council of Scientific Industrial Research), Government of India, has revealed that smokers and vegetarians are less likely to contract Covid-19 infection. The survey suggested smoking may be protective, despite Covid-19 being a respiratory disease, due to its role in increasing the mucous production that may be acting as the first line of defence among the smoking population. It indicated that vegetarian food rich in fibre may have a role to play in providing immunity against COVID-19 due to its anti-inflammatory properties by modification of gut microbiota. The pan India survey was conducted by an eminent team of 140 doctors and research scientists to study the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and their neutralization capability to infer possible risk factors for infection. The study assessed 10,427 adult individuals working in more than 40 CSIR laboratories and centers in urban and ate effect and until further orders," the order stated. Further, all stocks of liquid oxygen should also be made available to the government for use for medical purposes, it said, adding that no exception is allowed. On April 22, the MHA prohibited supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the government. The ministry had also issued a directive to states and Union Territories asking them to make sure there are no restrictions in the supply of medical oxygen. It said that availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of Covid-19 and with the increasing cases, the medical oxygen supply will need to keep pace with the requirements of the states and Union Territories. Empowered Group-II (EG-II) was set up with the mandate for coordinating medical logistics, including medical oxygen, and has reviewed the supply of oxygen for industrial use in order to divert the same to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen in the country and save precious lives. THE PAN INDIA SURVEY WAS CONDUCTED BY AN EMINENT TEAM OF 140 DOCTORS AND RESEARCH SCIENTISTS TO STUDY THE PRESENCE OF ANTIBODIES AGAINST SARS-COV-2, THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES COVID-19, AND THEIR NEUTRALIZATION CAPABILITY TO INFER POSSIBLE RISK FACTORS. semi-urban settings spread across and their family members. These people voluntarily participated in the study. Earlier, two studies from France and similar reports from Italy, New York, and China reported lower Covid infection rates among smokers. A study by America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which examined over 7,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19, also vindicated the above findings. Interestingly, the study found that only 1.3 per cent of survey participants were smokers, compared to the CDC report that 14 per cent of all Americans smoke. the pandemic. "Who is interested in your 'Mann Ki Baat', people now want to hear 'COVID ki baat'. If there is one infected person in a crowd of 1,000, he can contaminate the rest. Two lakh CAPF personnel came from States like UP, Delhi and Rajasthan and many of them might have been carriers of the virus without their knowledge as no RT-PCR tests was conducted by the EC. "Around one lakh BJP cadres from other States, including Ministers from saffron partyruled states, came to Bengal for campaigning and to rig votes. They put up in hotels and guest houses, and must have contributed to the spike in COVID19 cases in Bengal," she claimed. Cautioning voters against possible visit of Central forces accompanied by BJP men at their residences for "intimidation", Banerjee said, "Please ask them to maintain distance as you don't know if anyone of them is carrying. UK SENDING MEDICAL DEVICES TO INDIA NEW DELHI: As India battles a severe second wave of coronavirus pandemic, the UK on Sunday announced sending life-saving medical equipment including ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices to the country. The UK High Commission here said more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment will be sent to India to support the country in its fight against COVID19. It said ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices are due to leave the UK on Sunday and the first shipment is expected to arrive in Delhi early on Tuesday. Police personnel check vehicles at a naka point ahead of the seventh phase of State Assembly elections in Kolkata on Sunday. MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Over 86 lakh voters in Bengal will decide the political fate of 284 candidates on Monday, when 34 Assembly constituencies, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's home turf Bhawanipur, go to the polls in the seventh phase, amid a raging second wave of COVID-19. Security measures have been heightened in view of the violence in the previous phases, particularly the death of five people in Cooch Behar in the fourth round of polling on April 10, an Election Commission official said. The poll panel has decided to deploy at least 796 companies of Central forces in the seventh phase to ensure free and fair voting, he said. It will also put in place measures to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols during the voting process, the official said. Bengal on Saturday registered its highest-single-day spike of 14,281 Coronavirus cases, which took the tally to 7,28,061, and at least 59 more people succumbed to the infection, pushing the toll to 10,884.Voting will be held at 12,068 polling stations spread over nine Assembly constituencies each in Murshidabad and Paschim Bardhaman districts, six each in Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda and four in Kolkata, the official said. All eyes will be on the Bhawanipur constituency, of which the TMC supremo is the sitting MLA and a resident. Banerjee, however, has opted for Nandigram to contest the elections this time and reposed faith in veteran politician and State Power Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay to make a hat-trick of wins for the party from Bhawanipur. Chattopadhyay is pitted against a seasoned actor but a greenhorn in electoral politics, Rudranil Ghosh, who left the ruling party a few months ago to join the BJP. State Minister Firhad Hakim is also seeking re-election for a third consecutive term from the Kolkata Port constituency, while the BJP fielded Lt General (Retired) Subrata Saha from the Rashbehari seat in the metropolis. Campaigning for the seventh phase has been a lowkey affair, following curbs imposed by the EC in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 cases in the State. Following the surge in Coronavirus cases across the country, the EC has banned road shows and vehicle rallies in the State and noted that the COVID-19 safety norms were being flouted in Bengal during campaigning. It also disallowed any public meeting with more than 500 people. The Election Commission has curtailed daily campaign hours and extended the "silence period" from 48 hours to 72 in each of the remaining three phases of the Assembly polls in view of the Cooch Behar violence and the rising COVID-19 cases. The TMC chief and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who is the party MP, cancelled all their scheduled rallies and held them on the virtual platform as did Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 23. Polling for two Assembly seats in Samserganj and Jangipur in Murshidabad district has been declared void following the deaths of two candidates there. The Election Commission has fixed May 16 for polling in these two seats. Govt to meet bidders today for 2nd tranche of commercial coal mine auction MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: The Centre will meet prospective bidders on Monday for 67 mines offered for sale in the second tranche of the commercial coal mining auction, industry sources said. This is the highest number of mines on offer in a particular tranche after the commencement of the auction regime in 2014. "The Government has called for a pre-bid interaction on April 26 after it postponed the April 15 meeting. SBI Caps will give a presentation on the tender process while Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and the nominated authority will also be present there. "As the country is grappling with a raging second wave of COVID-19 cases, a final call on the number of coal blocks that may go under the hammer may be taken during the meeting," the sources said. Nineteen mines were auctioned in the firstever tranche of commercial coal mining auction held last year with the premium quoted by successful bidders in the range of 9.5-66.75 per cent. The agreements between the Ministry of Coal and successful bidders were signed in January this year. Of the 67 mines offered by the ministry, 23 are under Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act and 44 under Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. The blocks on offer are a mix of mines with small and large reserves, coking and non- coking mines spread across six states - Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The coal ministry had said the Government was moving towards adopting a "rolling auction" mechanism. Coal is the first mineral resource, where this mechanism is being implemented in which a pool of blocks will always remain available for auctions. The Government expects that commercial coal mining will bring in new investments, create huge employment opportunities and boost socio-economic development in coal-bearing States, and a market-based coal economy will help the nation become Aatmanirbhar in the availability .