YK MYK WEATHER TODAY MAX 28 C MIN 23 C ONLY VACCINE MANDATES CAN ENSURE JAB DATA ACCURACY OPINION Rainfall may occur. Rs. 3 KOLKATA SATURDAY, 28 AUGUST, 2021 PG- 8, YEAR— 8, ISSUE—102 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) AT A GLANCE DELHI SCHOOLS TO REOPEN IN PHASED MANNER FROM SEPT 1 NEW DELHI: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday has decided to reopen schools in a phased manner in the national capital from September 1 for classes 9 to 12, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical classes for students of class 6 to class 8 will also begin from September 8. The decision was taken aat a meeting of the DDMA held today to discuss the matter and take a final call on reopening of educational institutes after the second wave of COVID-19 created a havoc. ASIAN JUNIOR BOXING: VISHU RATHEE, TWO OTHERS ENTER FINALS SPORTS Morning India Mamata likely to visit North Bengal in first week of September MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: With the demand for a separate state growing stronger, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to visit the two districts of North Bengal in the first week of September. Though the Nabanna officials are tightlipped about her visit, sources in the Chief Minister's office said that she is likely to go to North Bengal between September 6 and 9. There are also plans for her to visit Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar. The CM is likely to hold an administrative meeting at Uttar Kanya -- the north Bengal branch of the State Secretariat. She will hold a review of various projects in North Bengal. She might also meet some of the leaders of the hills during her visit. Though Aneet Thapa is likely to float his own party and the power equation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) is changing for which the state government is keeping a close watch. "Earlier Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's North Bengal trip was cancelled owing to inclement weather. THERE ARE ALSO PLANS FOR HER TO VISIT JALPAIGURI AND ALIPURDUAR. THE CM IS LIKELY TO HOLD AN ADMINISTRATIVE MEETING AT UTTAR KANYA -THE NORTH BENGAL BRANCH OF THE STATE SECRETARIAT. SHE WILL HOLD A REVIEW OF VARIOUS PROJECTS IN NORTH BENGAL. SHE MIGHT ALSO MEET SOME OF THE LEADERS OF THE HILLS DURING HER VISIT. THOUGH ANEET THAPA IS LIKELY TO FLOAT HIS OWN PARTY AND THE POWER EQUATION OF THE GORKHA JANMUKTI MORCHA (GJM) IS CHANGING FOR WHICH THE STATE GOVERNMENT IS KEEPING A CLOSE WATCH. She will see the developmental works being done by the Trinamool government and is also likely to see problems being faced by the people there," said the sources. It can be recalled that on June 16, BJP Alipurduar MP John Barla had demanded a separate statehood for North Bengal and claimed that people there were being deprived INDIA'S FOREX RESERVES SLIDE BY OVER $2.47 BN MUMBAI: India's foreign exchange reserves fell by $2.470 billion, during the week ended August 20. According to the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) weekly statistical supplement, the reserves decreased to $616.895 billion from $619.365 billion reported for the week ended August 13. India's forex reserves comprise foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs), and the country's reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On a weekly basis, FCAs, the largest component of the forex reserves, edged lower by $3.365 billion to $573.009 billion. However, the value of the country's gold reserves rose by $913 million to $37.249 billion. On the other hand, the SDR value slipped by $3 million to $1.541 billion. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 32,558,530 TOTAL DEATHS: 436,396 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 214,970,834 TOTAL DEATHS: 4,481,034 of development. Last week West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh initially supported the Union Minister's demand, but later, because of the pressure from within the party, the state BJP president backtracked from his earlier comments. Political experts are of the opinion that the Chief Minister's visit to North PAK, INDIA SHOULD RESOLVE OUTSTANDING ISSUES: TALIBAN might hold a public meeting in Alipurduar or Jalpaiguri though Trinamool leaders are unwilling to say anything on the issue right now. She might try to negate the proposed theory of dividing Bengal and carving out North Bengal from the rest of Bengal -which several BJP MPs are propagating. Evacuated almost all our citizens from Afghanistan, says India NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday informed that India has evacuated almost all its citizens who wish to come back from Afghanistan. Speaking to media persons in a weekly briefing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "We have evacuated more than 550 people on 6 separate flights, either directly from Kabul or through Dushanbe. Of these, more than 260 were Indian nationals. This does not include Indian embassy personnel who are also being evacuated. Separately, the government has also facilitated the evacuation of Indian nationals through other countries and partners." However, evacuation efforts suffered a major blow after bombs went off at the Kabul airport on Thursday killing 85, including 13 from US defence forces involved in securing the airport. ISIS took the responsibility for the deadly attack at the Kabul airport. US military mission in Afghanistan is ending on August 31. Kabul airport is the only base from where evacuations are taking place, which is under US control. According to the US, the Taliban has consolidated control around Hamid Karzai airport. There are reports that the Taliban has stopped Afghan Sikhs to leave Afghanistan. "The last flight had 40 odd people. We were hearing reports that Afghan nationals were facing difficulties in reaching the airport. We know some Afghan nationals, including Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, couldn't reach the airport on Aug 25. Our flight had to come without them," MEA spokesperson said. growth. Most of us can remember countless minor details - what clothes we wore, our teacher's name, who we sat next to. But for millions of children, that important day has been indefinitely postponed," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. In 2020, schools globally were fully closed for an average of 79 teaching days. However, for 168 million students after the pandemic began, schools were shuttered for nearly the entire year. Even now, many children are facing an unprece- dented second year of disruption to their education. In India, most schools have remained closed, affecting over 247 million children, for 15 months since March 2020. The closure reportedly resulted in huge learning loss, missed hot cooked meals affecting nutritional levels, adverse impact on physical and mental health, and increasing risk to abuse. There are also reports of rise in cases of child labour and child marriages. Children's ability to read, write and do basic mathe- matics has suffered. In addition to the digital divide, studies have suggested that remote learning is difficult for children in many places. Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, the representative of UNICEF India said, "Safe re-opening of schools for all children, especially for the youngest is a priority. Children have faced a severe learning loss and cannot afford any more disruptions to their learning, their mental wellbeing, or to the many other school-based services on which they depend." NEW DELHI: As part of its efforts to promote Electric Vehicles in the country, Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy R. K. Singh has written to all the Union Ministers, including the Minister of States (Independent Charge), and Chief Ministers of all the States/UTs to join the Government of India's initiative on transformative mobility. He has asked them to advice their respective Ministries/Departments to convert their fleet of official vehicles from the present Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)/Petrol/Diesel Vehicles to Electric Vehicles for all official purposes. Such an action is expected to set an example for the general public and encourage them to switch over to EMobility. The initiative is part of ongoing GO ELECTRIC CAMPAIGN launched by the Government of India to promote Electric Vehicles (EVs) to meet multiple objectives -attaining a goal of reduction in emission, energy security, energy efficiency, etc. The government has set a target to reach 30 per cent EV sales by 2030. To achieve the target not only increased usage of such vehicles will be required but also infrastructure, particularly for charging such vehicles, will be important. BAGHEL MEETS RAHUL, STATUS QUO IN CHHATTISGARH NEW DELHI: The much-hyped meeting between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel lasted three hours on Friday but saw no decision being taken on a leadership change, party sources said. After the meeting, Baghel said that he has invited Rahul Gandhi to visit the state. Bengal CM becoming PM as distant as Konkan and Kashmir: Narayan Rane MI NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI: In his first comments on Kashmir, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has said that Pakistan and India should sit together to resolve all their outstanding issues because both are neighbours and their interests are linked to each other. Mujahid made the remarks during a wideranging interview with Pakistani TV channel ARY News. On Jammu and Kashmir, Zabihullah said New Delhi needs to have a "positive attitude towards the disputed territory", ARY News reported. About ties with countries, particularly India, Mujahid said the Taliban desires good ties with all nations, including India that is an important part of the region. "Our desire is that India devise its policy as per the interests of Afghan people," he added. He stated in clear terms that the Taliban won't allow Afghan soil to be used against any other country. He was of the view that Pakistan and India should sit together to resolve all their outstanding issues because both are neighbours and their interests are linked to each other, ARY News reported. FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL DELAYED FOR 140 MN CHILDREN GLOBALLY: UNICEF NEW DELHI: The first day of school has been delayed for an estimated 140 million children around the world due to Covid-19, UNICEF said in a new analysis. For an estimated eight million of these students, the wait for their first day of inperson learning has been over a year and counting, as they live in places where schools have been closed throughout the pandemic. "The first day of school is a landmark moment in a child's life -- setting them off on a life-changing path of personal learning and Bengal in this situation is politically significant. It is likely that she would not only oversee the developmental works but try to understand the pulse of the people of this region. She had already stated on Wednesday that the BJP will never be able to divide Bengal and Bengal will remain intact. Sources felt that the CM RK Singh writes to Union ministers, CMs on EV use for official purposes R A T N A G I R I (MAHARASHTRA): Narayan Rane's fresh swipe against Shiv Sena has resulted in West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee getting caught up in the crosshairs with the Union Minister on Friday stating that the "distance between Konkan and Kashmir represents the difference between Banerjee becoming the country's Prime Minister." Addressing reporters here after resuming his 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra' on Friday, the Union Minister was responding to Sanjay Raut's "West Bengal is the lion of the country" remark stating that the Shiv Sena leader "speaks without any sense." "Sanjay Raut speaks without any sense. Vinayak and Sanjay Raut will lead to the fall of Shiv Sena... The distance between Konkan and Kashmir represents the difference between Mamata Banerjee and her becoming the PM," he said. This is not the first time when Rane has taken a jibe at the political situation in West Bengal. On Wednesday, the Union Minister said that he would not "allow" the West Bengal-like environment to be created in Maharashtra. To this Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut warned that insults to the state would not be forgiven by the people. Taking a dig at the BJP, Raut said that it had to "run away" from West Bengal following its defeat in the recent assembly polls. He further said, "West Bengal is the lion of the country. It is the birthplace of revolutionaries. Lal Bal Pal, a prong of this trident is from West Bengal. That one prong has got into you. Don't forget that if you insult a state like this, then the country will never forgive you." Meanwhile, Rane today attacked Shiv Sena for not working for the Konkam region in the state and said he is not "scared" of any action against him."Shiv Sainiks who came in front of my house were welcomed by the police. What has Shiv Sena given to the Konkan region in the last two years? They thought I would be scared if they took action against me. But our CM Soren hosts roundtable meet with industrialists on draft EV policy SANJAY SAHAY RANCHI: In a drive to attract investments in the state and promote industrial development, Chief Minister (CM) Hemant Soren on Friday revealed the draft electric vehicle (EV) policy of state government before top industrialists in New Delhi and sought the latter suggestions for improvement. Notably, the CM along with senior officials are attending two-day Investor’s Meet in New Delhi organized by the department of industries, Government of Jharkhand. On the first day, the CM met the top leadership from the big corporate houses of the country including TATA group, Hyundai Motors, Honda and Maruti Suzuki and called upon them to invest in an emerging Jharkhand. The meeting was focused on the draft Jharkhand EV Policy 2021. It was organized to seek feedback from prospective investors on the policy and showcase the opportunities available in the sector at the already operationalised Adityapur auto-cluster and Adityapur electronic manufac- turing cluster. During the meeting secretary, department of industries, Pooja Singhal briefed all the prospective investors regarding the scope of the electric vehicle sector in Jharkhand, the state's vision for this sector and the government’s proposed plan to establish a dedicated electric vehicle cluster in the state. During the presentation Pooja Singhal explained the incentives and provisions under the proposed EV policy. She said, "We are going to provide 100 percent exemption in stamp duty and registration fee to the companies. Also, companies who promise to invest in the electric vehicle sector within the first two years of the launch of EV policy will be provided land at a 50 percent subsidy by JIADA.” journey has been successful," he said. Rane also asserted that he has done nothing wrong by making the alleged "derogatory remarks" against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and said the party is '"enjoying the power". "I have done nothing wrong. They (Shiv Sena) enjoy power, so they arrested me. Maharashtra is number one in COVID. During COVID, they didn't take any action. Sushant Singh (Rajput) was murdered. Disha Salian was raped and killed, yet the perpetrators roam freely," said Rane. The Union Minister was arrested in Ratnagiri district after several FIRs were registered against him at many places including Nashik and Pune, based on the complaints filed by Shiv Sena leaders for his remarks against Thackeray. SARADHA SCAM: ED FILES CHARGE-SHEET KOLKATA: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), as part of its probe into the multi-crore Saradha ponzi scam, filed a supplementary charge-sheet on Friday against TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh and senior journalist Suman Chattopadhyay, agency sources said. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court has taken cognisance of the charges framed, the sources in the directorate said. "The ED has filed supplementary charge-sheet against Kunal Ghosh, his company Strategy Media Plus Communications, and Suman Chattopadhyay and his companies Disha Production and Media and Ekdin Media, before the Special Judge (PMLA), Kolkata, with the prayer for awarding punishment to the accused for committing offence of money laundering and confiscation of attached assets worth Rs 96.55 crore, including Rs 2.67 crore owned by Ghosh and Rs 1.72 crore owned by Chattopadhyay," one of the sources said. Chattopadhyay is also an accused in I-Core chit fund scam. Both Ghosh and Chattopadhyay faced arrests in the past and are currently out on bail. Sudipto Sen, the owner of the now-defunct Saradha group, is serving his time in jail along with his aide Debjani Mukherjee. According to the source, Ghosh, who was the CEO of Saradha Media Group, allegedly helped Sen launder proceeds worth over Rs 2,500 crore. Chattopadhyay reportedly laundered money through bogus transactions via his two companies. The Saradha group of companies has allegedly duped lakhs of people to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore, promising higher rates of returns on their investments. Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said it has seized seven luxury vehicles after carrying out raids in Kolkata in connection with the multi-crore Rose Valley money laundering case. The searches were carried out on Tuesday and two BMW and Mercedes each, a Honda Civic, Toyota Fortuner and a Mahindra Scorpio SUV were seized. "The said vehicles were acquired out of the proceeds of crime collected by the companies of Rose Valley," the ED said in a statement. The Rose Valley group of companies "had collected huge amount of money from gullible public by floating various fake and fictitious schemes and defaulted the re-payments."