YK MYK WHAT IS GOING ON INSIDE INDIA'S 'VACCINE KING' MIND OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA WEDNESDAY, 5 MAY, 2021 PG-08, YEAR—7, ISSUE—346 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 32 C MIN 26 C Rainfall may occur. AT A GLANCE MUSEUMS, PLANETARIUM, ZOOS CLOSED IN BENGAL KOLKATA: With the spike in COVID-19 cases, museums, planetarium, zoos, national parks have been closed in Bengal to avert contamination. The Alipore Zoological Gardens in the city had recorded 400 visitors on an average in April and only 150 people on April 30 before closing down indefinitely from May 1 Director Asis Samanta said on Tuesday. "As decided by the State Government, all forest department run zoos in State, national parks and sanctuaries remain closed for public from May 1 till further notice. We had recorded over 1,000 visitors on an average in February which gradually went down to 400 in April with report of spread in infection," Samanta said. Director of M P Birla Planetarium and wellknown astrophysicist Debiprasad Duari said the popular spot for students and others interested in cosmic world had to be closed since April 17 for fear of contamination of the pathogen despite taking all Covid-19 control measures and reducing the audience capacity to one-third. The planetarium had been recording full houses in certain shows in December-February and the crowds started dwindling from March, he said. Director of Science City and Indian Museum, Kolkata A D Choudhury said, "as per the Central Government directive we have banned the entry of visitors into the compound and suspended shows since April 16 till May 15." He said any future decision in this regard will be taken as directed by the Central Government considering the situation. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 2,04,00,852 TOTAL DEATH: 2,23,284 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 154,421,174 TOTAL DEATH: 3,230,386 TELECOM SERVICE PROVIDERS TO START 5G TRIALS ACROSS INDIA NATION Morning India CBI probe sought into post- Mamata to take oath as Bengal poll violence in Bengal MI NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: BJP spokesperson and senior advocate Gaurav Bhatia on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the episodes of violence which erupted in West Bengal after the declaration of Assembly election results on May 2 in which the ruling Trinamool Congress cruised to a landslide victory. The plea said: "The instant application has been preferred by the petitioner to bring to the notice of this court the brutal murders and commission of serious crimes like rape and molestation, blatant violence and the complete breakdown of the law and order machinery in the state of West Bengal, during and after the recently concluded Assembly elections." Citing media reports, Bhatia alleged in his plea that the violence is directly sponsored by ruling party through its workers who are seeking revenge against the citizens of the State who exercised their democratic right to vote for a party other than the Trinamool. The BJP leader also cited the "murder" of one Avijit Sarkar in Kolkata, stating that it was "proof enough to highlight as to how there is a great dance of democracy that is currently underway in FOODGRAINS FOR 80 CR BENEFICIARIES 28 States/UTs start lifting stock from FCI NEW DELHI: Twenty eight under NFSA do not suffer on States/UTs have started lift- account of the non-availabiling foodgrains from the ity of foodgrains during this Food Corporation of India time of crisis. depots for distribution under The Food Corporation of PMGKAY-III and 5.88 LMT India has already positioned foodgrains supplied for fur- sufficient foodgrains in all ther distribution to more States/UTs for successful than 80 crore beneficiaries implementation of the under the NFSA scheme and scheme. started supplyTHE STATES/UTS The governing foodgrains HAVE ALSO BEEN ment has alloto States/UTs. ADVISED TO cated Rs 26,000 Till May 3, ENCOURAGE crore, free food28 States/UTs MIGRANT NFSA grains to have started BENEFICIARIES TO States/UTs for lifting stocks USE THE FACILITY distribution to from FCI OF PORTABILITY beneficiaries d e p o t s . UNDER THE ONE under the Lakshadweep NATION ONE Pradhan Mantri has completely RATION CARD Garib Kalyan lifted the MayPLAN. Anna Yojana June allocation (PMGKAY-III) w h e r e a s The PMGKAY is to ame- Andhra Pradesh and liorate the hardships faced Telangana have lifted 100 by the poor and needy due to percent of the May allocavarious disruptions caused tion. by the resurgence of COVIDThe rest of the States/UTs 19 in the country. The (Punjab, Chandigarh, Goa, Department of Food & MP, Manipur, Nagaland, Public Distribution has Odisha & Puducherry) have started implementation of also been sensitized to the scheme for a period of 2 immediately start lifting the months i.e. May and June foodgrains and it is likely to 2021, so that the poor and be accelerated in the coming vulnerable beneficiaries days. West Bengal under the protection of Trinamool Congress". "Sarkar in a video uploaded on Facebook moments before his death, highlighted how the Trinamool workers not only INDIA, UK AGREE ROADMAP TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE NEW DELHI: India and the UK on Tuesday agreed on urgent action to tackle climate change through new, shared commitments during leader-level call. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson signed off on a new shared roadmap during their virtual meeting that includes measures to help limit global temperature rises and support the communities most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. They also reaffirmed their personal commitment to work together for an ambitious outcome at the COP26 climate summit in November and sustained action beyond. Responding to the meeting, COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said: "The UK and India share a longstanding partnership and I am greatly encouraged by the steps we have taken today to bolster our joint efforts on tackling climate change. IPL 2021 postponed, BCCI to arrange for safe, secure passage for all participants OPEN TO PLAYING GAMES IN SEPT AS PREPARATION GROUND FOR T20 WC MUMBAI: The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday, in an emergency meeting unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect. The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff, and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health, and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind. "These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times," the BCCI said in an official statement. The BCCI also said that it will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021. With the second wave of COVID-19 rampant in India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had no option but to postpone the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday. But the board is keen to tap the September window before the T20 World Cup to finish the league. Speaking to ANI, a senior BCCI official in the know of developments said that if the COVID-19 situation is under control in September, the 14th edition of the league can be completed. "Why not? If the foreign players are available and the COVID-19 situation is in control, we can definitely look at that window before the T20 WC. It can in fact act as a good preparation ground for the showpiece event," the official said. The T20 World Cup is set to be played in India in October and November. ransacked his house and NGO, but also mercilessly killed voiceless puppies. Sarkar specifically blamed the Trinamool leaders for the attack and eventual death," added the plea. The plea further argued that it is clear that the Trinamool has been exercising undue influence over the police and other law enforcement agencies in as much as no FIRs have been registered against any alleged party workers for their acts of crime. "The Trinamool has dehumanised its political opponents, specifically targeting the BJP and its members and workers, branding them as fascists and bigots," read the plea. Besides demanding a CBI probe, the plea also sought directions to the West Bengal Government to file a detailed status report with respect to the FIRs registered, arrests made, and steps taken by it against the perpetrators of the crimes. The petitioner urged the top court to allow the present application and pass an order directing the CBI to launch an inquiry and investigate the instances of "rampant violence, murders and rape that have been carried out by the workers of Trinamool across the State". CM today MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee will take oath as Chief Minister of West Bengal for the third time at 10:45 am on Wednesday at Raj Bhavan. The event would be a low-key affair amid severe Covid-19 situation in the country. The guests invited for the prestigious occasion are former State Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Left Front Chairman Biman Bose, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, Tollywood actor Dev, state BJP President Dilip Ghosh, Manoj Tigga among others. The rest of the legislators will be administered oath by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday and Friday. "The CM resigned and it has been accepted. She had been requested to continue till alternative arrangements are made," Governor Jagdeep Dhankar earlier had said after the TMC leader met him and handed over list of newly-elected Trinamool MLAs on Monday. Trinamool defeated BJP in the latest Assembly elections, pocketing 213 of the 292 seats, to attain a landslide victory. However, the poll result in Nandigram stunned everyone after protegeturned-BJP adversary Suvendu Adhikari defeated Mamata by a slim margin of 1,956 votes. Though the BJP failed in its effort to dislodge Banerjee from power, it's for the first time that it will be the main opposition party in the State Assembly, rising from a measly three seats in 2016 to at least 76 now. 'Returning officer final authority to decide on recounting in Nandigram constituency' MI NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: The Election Commission on Tuesday said the Returning Officer (RO) is the "final authority under the law" in the matter of recounting in the Nandigram Assembly constituency. "Certain sections of media have reported about the matter of recounting in Nandigram AC. Returning officer (RO) of an Assembly constituency performs statutory functions under the RP Act, 1951 in quasi-judicial capacity independently. Whether it is nomination, polling or counting, the RO acts strictly in accordance with the extant electoral laws, instructions and guidelines of the ECI," reads an EC release. "On such an application being made the returning officer shall decide the matter and may allow the application in whole or in part or may reject it in toto if it appears to him to be frivolous or unreasonable." "After the counting in Nandigram AC, the election agent of a particular candi- date requested for a recount, which was rejected by the RO, through a speaking order, on the basis of material facts available before him and declared the result. In such a case, the only legal remedy is to file an EP before the High Court," it said. The EC further explained the fair process of counting. "Each counting table had one micro observer. Their reports never indicated any impurity of counting process on their respective table. The RO caused the entries of votes polled by each candidate after each round to be written on the display board which could be easily seen by the counting agents. No doubt was raised on the result of round-wise counting. This enabled the RO to proceed uninterruptedly with the counting of votes," it said. "In addition, on the computer installed in the Counting Hall, parallel tabulation work was also done in an Excel sheet to countercheck any human error. A copy of each of the rounds' results was shared with all the counting agents. After every round, counting agents signed the result sheets," it added. "On the basis of media reports on undue pressure on the RO Nandigram, the Commission directed the Chief Secretary West Bengal on May 3 to provide adequate security, which State Government has now provided," EC said. "The Commission has further directed CEO West Bengal to ensure the safe custody of all election records including polled EVM/VVPAT, video recording, statutory papers, counting records etc," it said. After her defeat in Nandigram, incumbent Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday alleged that the Returning Officer of the Assembly seat had said that he was threatened against recounting of votes. Briefing the media persons, Mamata said, "I received an SMS from someone wherein returning officer of Nandigram has written to someone that if he allows recounting, then his life would be under threat. For four hours the server was down. Governor also congratulated me. Suddenly everything changed. I will move court." Modi expresses concern to Dhankhar over Bengal law and order situation MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him and expressed his "serious anguish and concern" at the alarmingly worrisome law and order situation in the State following the culmination of the Assembly elections. "PM called and expressed his serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law & order situation @MamataOfficial I share grave concerns @PMOIndia given that violence vandalism, arson, loot and killings continue unabated. Concerned must act in overdrive to restore order," tweeted Dhankhar. Earlier in the day, the Governor directed the police and the Kolkata Commissioner to end "senseless political violence, vandal- ism, arson, killings and intimidation that shames democracy". He further stated that the Bengali diaspora across the globe has expressed concern over the alarming lawlessness in the State. BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta has also appealed to the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to take suo moto action directing the administration to stop the wave of political recrimina- tions in Bengal following the Assembly elections. Violence was reported from Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar on Monday. BJP's party office was vandalised in Nandigram. On Sunday evening, mediapersons were assaulted by unknown miscreants in Haldia. Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress won 213 seats in the just concluded Bengal Assembly elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party garnered 77 seats in the 294seat State Assembly. However, elections for two seats in Murshidabad are postponed due to the demise of candidates due to COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to deploy Central protection forces, including armed forces, for the restoration of law and order in the State of West Bengal. The plea filed by Advocate Suvidutt Sundaram on behalf of Indic Collective Trust, said it approached the Apex court in view of the widespread violence and disruption of law and order that has erupted in the aftermath of the Assembly election in West Bengal, and the failure of the State machinery in protecting the life and liberty of its citizens, the petition said.