YK MYK WEATHER TODAY MAX 28 C MIN 25 C CHIRAG MAY BE GETTING READY TO START A NEW POLITICAL INNINGS OPINION Rainfall may occur. Rs. 3 KOLKATA THURSDAY, 17 JUNE, 2021 PG-08, YEAR—8, ISSUE—33 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) TEST RANKINGS: SMITH NEW NO 1 BATSMAN, KOHLI MOVES UP TO 4TH SPORTS Morning India Bengal urges Centre not to dissolve SAIL raw materials division in Kolkata MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: The Bengal Government on Wednesday requested Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to intervene and stop dismantling of the Raw Materials Division (RMD) of State-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in Kolkata, saying that it would result in job loss amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The SAIL board's move to dissolve the RMD headquarters in the city will also be detrimental to the interests of two "iconic and profitable" steel plants at Durgapur and Burnpur in Bengal, State Finance Minister Amit Mitra said in a letter to Pradhan. The company has not yet come out with an official statement about the dissolution of the RMD but sources had said about it last week. The SAIL board has also decided to transfer control of its mines to Rourkela Steel Plant in Orissa and Bokaro Steel Plant in Jharkhand depending on their location, sources had said. They had added that the non-contractual employees at the RMD headquarters would be shifted to Rourkela and Bokaro, but the axe is likely to fall on contractual workers. "I am shocked to learn from the media that the RMD is being dismantled. This will result in the job loss of scores of contractual employees in the midst of this COVID pandemic literally putting them in the harm's way. "It is even more alarming that with the dismantling of RMD, the iconic Durgapur and Burnpur integrated Steel plants in Bengal would be left with no captive mines nor would they get supplies of iron since the RMD vertical would have been dismantled," the letter read. The Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) in Durgapur and the IISCO Steel Plant (ISP) in Burnpur, two SAIL units located in Paschim Bardhaman district, employ 14,400 workers and made a profit of Rs 1,486 crore, the Minister said. The DSP was set up in the late 1950s while the ISP, one of the country's oldest steel plants, was established in 1918. "Apparently, the 15 iron ore mines, Flux Mines and Collieries run by Raw Materials Division (RMD) of SAIL would now be entirely allocated to Rourkela and Bokaro Steel Plants," Mitra said. Such allocations would leave the DSP and the ISP "in the lurch, to procure their raw materials from the open market or remain at the mercy of Rourkela and Bokaro" to provide them with raw materials, he claimed. The price of the raw material supplied to these two plants by the RMD is Rs 650 a tonne while that in the open market is Rs 9,500 a tonne, he said. "Therefore, by throwing Durgapur and Burnpur into the open market, the plants would become over time, cost inefficient, unprofitable and unviable," Mitra said in the letter. The Kolkata-headquartered RMD has about 15 mines of iron ore and coal. Mitra said that he is disturbed to hear that the top management of SAIL informally told workers unions that the Union Steel Minister himself is behind the unfortunate strategic decision. "I sincerely urge you to instruct your officers on the Board to stop SAIL from dismantling RMD and thereby saving the two great iconic and profitable institutions of the Maharatna PSU," Mitra said in his letter to Pradhan. The ruling Trinamool Congress recently alleged that the decision to dissolve SAILs RMD headquarters in Kolkata is part of a larger conspiracy by the Centre against the State. CBSE TO SUBMIT CLASS 12 ASSESSMENT FORMULA IN SC TODAY NEW DELHI: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is likely to submit before the Supreme Court on Thursday the assessment system for class 12 students. Senior officials of the CBSE have expressed hope that the evaluation criteria, which has been prepared on the basis of the report of the 12member committee of experts, may be released this week. The committee was formed to prepare the formula for giving results and marks for class 12 students. The committee consists of 12 persons, including Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Education and senior IAS officer Vipin Kumar. The CBSE had issued a notification in this regard on June 4. While issuing the notification, CBSE's controller of examinations Sanyam Bhardwaj said that there are 12 members in this committee. This committee will decide the basis for promoting the students. FUEL PRICE HIKED AGAIN Petrol nearing century mark across country NEW DELHI: Fuel prices increased again across the country on Wednesday adding more misery for the common man already grappling with rising food prices amidst shrinking income. With this rise, petrol prices have reached very close to hitting the centurymark all across the country extending the scope of historic high prices that had already made the fuel rate cross the Rs 100 per litre mark in certain cities and towns of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh. On Wednesday, the oil marketing companies (OMCs) raised the price of petrol and diesel between 12-25 per litre across the four metros. Accordingly, the price of petrel increased by 25 paisa per litre to Rs 96.66 per litre and diesel by 13 paisa per litre to Rs 87.41 per litre in Delhi. In Mumbai, where petrol prices crossed Rs 100 mark for the first time ever on May 29, the fuel price reached new high of Rs 102.82 per litre on Wednesday. Diesel prices also increased in the INDIA’S MAY EXPORTS, IMPORTS UP; DEFICIT WIDENS NEW DELHI: India's merchandise exports in May rose to $32.27 billion, higher by 69.35 per cent over $19.05 billion recorded in May 2020, official data showed on Tuesday. The exports last month recorded a 8.11 per cent growth over the May 2019 levels. The country's merchandise exports in April 2021 had risen to $30.63 billion. As per the data, the value of nonpetroleum and nongems and jewellery exports in May 2021 was $23.97 billion, as compared to $16.36 billion in May 2020, registering a positive growth of 46.50 per cent. city by 14 paisa per litre to reach Rs 94.84 a litre, the highest among metros. Across the country as well, petrol and diesel prices increased on Wednesday but its retail prices varied depending on the level of local taxes in different states. Petrol prices in three other metros have also reached closer to Rs 100 per litre mark and OMC officials said that if international oil prices continue to firm up, this mark could also be breached in other places by month-end. With Wednesday's price hike, fuel prices have now increased on 25 days and remained unchanged on 22 days since May 1. The 25 increases have taken up petrol prices by Rs 6.26 per litre in Delhi. Similarly, diesel have increased by Rs 6.68 per litre in the national capital. With global crude prices also rising on pick up in demand and depleting inventories of worlds largest fuel guzzler -- US, retail prices of fuel in India is expected to firm up further in coming days. PM says India offers what innovators, investors need NDA MEMBERS OBJECT TO ADHIR'S DEMAND FOR REVIEW OF VACCINATION POLICY NEW DELHI/ KOLKATA: The meeting of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday witnessed an uproar after Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sought a review of the COVID-19 vaccination policy and some members objected to it, sources said. They said that there was an argument between Chowdhury and NDA members - BJP's Jagdambika Pal and JDU's Rajiv Ranjan Singh and the meeting ended. Chowdhury chairs the PAC. The agenda of the meeting was 'consideration of memorandum no.1 regarding the selection of subjects for examination during the year 2021-22'. It was the first meeting of a parliamentary committee with the physical presence of members amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last PAC meeting in person was held in July last year. NEW DELHI: Noting that India has implemented huge reforms across sectors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that the country has been "adaptable and agile" even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. He invited investments on the five pillars of talent, market, capital, eco-system and culture of openness. Delivering the keynote address at the 5th edition of VivaTech through video conferencing, he said India offers what innovators and investors need. He said COVID-19 is the "biggest disruption of our age" and there is a need to focus on the twin foundations of "repair and prepare". VivaTech is one of the largest digital and startup events in Europe, held in Paris every year since 2016. The Prime Minister said India's strides in the world of technology and start-up are well-known and several unicorns have come up in recent years. "We in India implemented huge reforms across sectors, be it mining, space, banking, atomic energy and more. This goes on to show that India as a nation is adaptable and agile, even in the middle of the pandemic," he said. "Our nation is home to one of the world's largest start-up PM Narendra Modi addresses the 5th edition of VivaTech 2021 via video conferencing, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANI ecosystems. Several unicorns have come up in recent years. I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of talent, market, capital, ecosystem and culture of openness," he added. The Prime Minister said that over the past year, the world has witnessed a lot of disruption in different sectors due to COVID-19. "Much of it is still there. Yet, disruption does not have to mean despair. Instead, we must keep the focus on the twin foundations of repair and prepare," he said. PM Modi said innovation can help where convention fails. "I believe where convention fails, innovation can help. This has been seen during the COVID-19 global pandemic, which is the biggest disruption of our age," he said. "COVID-19 put many of our conventional methods to test. However, it was the innovation that came to the rescue. By innovation I refer to innovation before the pandemic, innovation during the pandemic," he added. The Prime Minister said that digital technology helped people cope and connect during the pandemic. "When I speak about innovation before the pandemic, I refer to the pre-existing advances which helped us during the pandemic. Digital technology helped us cope, connect, comfort and console. No newborn calf serum in final Covaxin product: Bharat Biotech NEW DELHI: The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said that newborn calf serum is not an ingredient of the final Covaxin vaccine by Bharat Biotech. The ministry in a statement said that facts have been "twisted and misrepresented" in some social media posts which suggested that indigenously developed Covaxin contains newborn calf serum. The Hyderabadbased vaccine manufacturer also in a statement said that while the serum is used in the process of making the vaccine, it is not present in the final formulated product. Newborn calf serum is used only for the preparation and growth of vero cells and that serum from bovine and other animal are standard enrichment ingredient used globally for vero cell growth, the ministry of health and family welfare (MoFHW) said. "Different kinds of bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredients used globally for Vero cell growth. Vero cells are used to establish cell lines that help in the production of vaccines. This technique has been used for decades in CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 2,96,38,068 TOTAL DEATH: 3,79,658 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 177,487,664 TOTAL DEATH: 3,840,271 Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines," the ministry said These Vero cells, after the viral growth, are washed with water, with chemicals, technically known as buffer, many times to make it free from the newborn calf serum. Thereafter, these Vero cells are infected with coronavirus for viral growth. The Vero cells are completely destroyed in the process of viral growth. Thereafter this grown virus is also killed (inactivated) and purified. This killed virus is then used to make the final vaccine, and in the final vaccine formulation, no calf serum is used, according to the statement. Workers dismantling the incomplete Vivekananda Flyover which collapsed on March 31, 2016 in Kolkata on Wednesday. Bengal Govt hits back at Dhankhar over letter questioning Mamata's silence on post-poll violence MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Slamming Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar over his letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on post-poll violence, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) Government on Tuesday said the contents of the letter were "not consistent with real facts". In a series of tweets, the Home Department of the Bengal Government said the Governor's act of making the letter public was "violative of all established norms, and disrupts sanctity of such communications". "The Government of West Bengal has observed with dismay and distress that the Governor of West Bengal has suddenly made public, a letter of his to the Chief Minister of West Bengal, with contents that are not consistent with real facts," it said. The department went on to say that the "unusual" step of going public in this manner "abruptly and unilaterally" has shocked the State Government all the more because the "contents are fabricated". On post-poll violence in Bengal and the State Government's efforts to bring back normalcy, it said: "While the post-poll violence in the State was somewhat unabated when the Election Commission of India was in charge of the law and order machinery, after the swearing-in, the State Cabinet has reigned in the situation, restored normalcy, and established full command over anti-law elements. The State police have been firmly directed to bring to book all anti-socials and the Government remains committed to maintain the basic fabric of society and to uphold law and order." This comes after Bengal Governor in a letter urged Chief Minister Banerjee to break her silence on post-poll retributive violence and restore law and order. In a tweet, while making the letter public, Dhankhar said he called upon Banerjee to have an interaction on the issues mentioned in the letter at the earliest. "With a heavy heart, I am constrained to observe your continued silence and inaction over post-poll retributive bloodshed, violation of human rights. outrageous assault on the dignity of women, wanton destruction of property, the perpetuation of untold miseries on political opponents- worst since independence and it ill augurs for democracy," he said in the letter. Dhankhar in the letter claimed that "in spite of drawing her attention to the enormity of situation, huge exodus of people in search of cover for life and destruction of property worth crores, there has only been stunning silence at Banerjee's end and she did not deem it necessary to even deliberate this grave human tragedy in any of the Cabinet meetings so far." "Your studied silence, coupled with an absence of any steps to engage in rehabilitation and compensation to alleviate the unimaginable suffering of people, force an inevitable conclusion that all this is State-driven. Your stance is plunging the vast suffering populace in a State of hopelessness and helplessness. Such 'punitive' decimation of human rights and dignity shames democracy," the Governor said. Cornering Bengal Police, he stated that the administration and police of the State, in "such alarmingly grim situation" were expected to act in a stern manner and according to law, however, nothing of the kind happened. "Their role suffers from partisan stance as also the abandonment of lawful obligations... I beseech you to reflect and ponder over the premise of ongoing violence, i.e. -'punishing' and 'disciplining' those who 'dared' to vote out of volition and for the opposition," he said. Dhankhar noted that during his May 13-15 visits to poll violence-affected areas, people in Cooch Behar, Nandigram and Ranpagli Camp in Assam narrated "heart-rendering tales and woes of arson, loot, rapes and killings apart from wanton destruction of property". "Madam Chief Minister, you will agree that such a scenario sounds death knell for democracy. How can people be made to suffer for exercising right to vote in a democracy?" he asked, adding that he expected that Banerjee will brief him on the post-poll violence and cyclone 'Yaas' disaster. "It will be greatly appreciated that keeping in view our respective constitutional positions, an interaction fructifies on these issues at the earliest. Am sure you will accord priority to this," he added.