THE WORLD MYANMAR FORCES KILL MORE THAN 100 IN DEADLIEST DAY SINCE COUP AHMEDABAD,LATECITY MARCH28,2021 IRAN, CHINA SIGN 25-YR COOPERATION AGREEMENT 20PAGES,`5.00 DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA PAGE 13 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM PM VISITS MUJIB MEMORIAL, MATUA CENTRE IN DHAKA Payments from CM funds to family, party: ED probes diaries of Mehbooba aide On Teesta water sharing, PM Modi says committed to pact after talks with stakeholders RITU SARIN & NAVEED IQBAL Modi, Hasina seal pacts: Vaccines to trains, technology to nuclear power eye THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE PAGES 16, 17, 18 Young at 50 Tech to ideas, science to art: a new wave of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs tell the story of a nation on the move up, its turbulent past and a layered present SHUBHAJIT ROY DHAKA, MARCH 27 A DAY after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled his roadmap for a shared future withBangladesh,NewDelhiand Dhaka came up Saturday with a series of targeted, tangible steps to give a push to bilateral ties. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla quoted Modi — he returned to New Delhi Saturday night — telling Modi, Hasina at Bangabandhu mausoleum. PTI Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina that this visit had given “nayi urja, nayi gati (new energy, new pace) to the relationship. From developing a nuclear power plant to border haats; more consignments of Covid vaccines to a new train service; fromastart-upconclavethatwill bring together entrepreneurs from both countries to India’s participation in the first-ever air show in Bangladesh in 2022, from cooperation in space to artificial intelligence — a slew of outcomescoveringseveral areas werelistedinthejointstatement issued after the Mod-Hasina bilateral. According Hasina’s spokesperson Ihasanul Karim, the Bangladesh PM is learnt to have raised the issue of watersharing of common rivers, including that of the Teesta River, when she said the decision of signingtheTeestawater-sharing treaty was taken jointly nine years ago and was still to be implemented. KarimquotedPrimeMinister Modi as replying: "We are com- PAGE 14 EPS vs Stalin One is an accidental CM, the other groomed in the ways of politics. As Tamil Nadu votes on April 6, in the first election without Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, meet the two contenders for the top post MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, MARCH 27 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GUJARAT INSIDE PAGE 3 MAMATA: PM’S MATUA ‘OUTREACH’ VOTE MARKETING, AGAINST POLL CODE Voters at a polling booth in Baghmundi, in West Bengal’s West Purulia, on Saturday. Partha Paul TMC-BJP khela begins, 80% vote in Bengal Phase 1; 77% in Assam SWEETY KUMARI & ABHISHEK SAHA KOLKATA, GUWAHATI, MARCH 27 THEFIRSTPHASEof pollingin30 Assembly constituencies spread across five districts in West Bengal on Saturday was marred bysporadicincidentsof violence, complaints of rigging, and snags in Electronic Voting Machines. Thestaterecordedalmost80per cent (79.79 per cent) voting. Assam, meanwhile, registered 76.89 per cent polling in the first phase covering 47 of the DECISION 2021 WESTBENGAL I ASSAM state’s total 126 Assembly constituencies. The first phase will decidethefateof severalpolitical heavyweights including incumbent Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state Congress chief Ripun Bora and jailed activist Akhil Gogoi. In West Bengal, four out of five eligible voters cast their bal- lot in each of the five districts: Purba Medinipur (82.51%), Jhargram (80.55%), Paschim Medinipur (80.12%), Bankura (79.9%) and Purulia (77.13%). As many as 191 candidates, including 21 women, are contesting in the first phase. Of the electorate size of 73.8 lakh, female voters number 36.27 lakh and male 37.52. Both the BJP and the Trinamool are contesting 29 seats each out of the total 30. “Apart from some sporadic incidents, the polls in 30 constituencies were conducted peacefully. At least 10 people have been arrested in different incidents,”saidAarizAftab,Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal. In Assam, a total of 264 candidates, including 23 women, are in the fray in this phase, whichhasatotalof 81.09lakheligible voters. A total of 11,537 polling booths were set up for the first phase. While the Congress, part of the ‘mahajat’ has fielded its candidates in 43 outof 47seats,theBJPiscontesting in 39. After casting his vote in Dibrugarh, Sonowal tweeted, “My vote for the protection of Sabhyata, Sanskriti and overall CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BJP OUTS CLIP OF ‘MAMATA SEEKING HELP’ RAAKHI JAGGA a corner AS THE farmer protests in Delhi entered the fourth month on Friday, BJP representatives in Punjabwereatthereceivingend, with at least two leaders gheraoed and one of them assaulted on Saturday. WhileBJPstatevice-president ParveenBansalwasgheraoedallegedly by farmers in Barnala, IN PUNJAB, the BJP has been pushed to a comer on the farmer issue. With Akalis exiting NDA and the Congress government urging the Centre to find a way out, Saturday's incident will harden the political divide. forcing him to stay inside the circuit house for some time, the party’sAboharMLAArunNarang was roughed up and his clothes ripped off by protesters carrying flags of farmer unions at Malout in Muktsar district. MLA Narang had gone to the BJPofficeinMaloutaround11am CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS ADDA WITH AMARINDER SINGH P10 KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MARCH 27 ■ Occupancy rate of Covid-19 ventilator beds has breached the 50% mark in at least four districts ofMaharashtra,triggeringasurge in deaths ■ Most deaths in Punjab are beingreported48-72hoursafterad- NEW DELHI, SRINAGAR, MARCH 27 TWO HAND-WRITTEN diaries maintained by an aide of former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and recovered from his Srinagar residence during searches conducted on December 23, 2020, are the focus of an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, sources told The Sunday Express. The former Chief Minister and president of the Peoples Democratic Party was questioned by the agency two days ago.Officialssaidshewasshown copies of pages from a diary whichlistsallegedmonthlypayments made out of the CM’s discretionary funds to several individuals including her relatives; as payment for party activities and to meet “personal” expenses. The fund, according to officials familiar with the on-going probe into the alleged money laundering case, was to the tune of Rs 1 crore a month of which roughly a third was used as payments to state government agencies. Afterascrutinyof 23bankaccounts and questioning and searching several key persons, the agency has made out a case of alleged ‘’diversion” of between Rs 7-8 crore from the Government fund for “personal and political purposes.” A scrutiny of the entries, officials said, shows monthly outflows to the former Chief Minister herself as well as payment to destitute homes. For May/June and November 2017, there are payments listed towards organizinga wazwan in Delhi; the purchase of a humidifier; payments towards tailors' bills, cable TV costs, Golf Club bills and milk supplies. Payments, for June 2016 total Rs 59.64 lakh and for October 2016, Rs 53.35 lakh. The ED has categorized alleged payments as per their end use: organizing PDP rallies; providing vehicles for PDP workers andpurchaseof airticketsforher family. Asked about these by The SundayExpress,MehboobaMufti said: “I have been shown this CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 From Apr 1, negative RT-PCR test report must for people travelling to Gujarat PAGE 6 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE WITH TODAY’S EDITION IE 100 2021 THE LIST OF MOST POWERFUL INDIANS BJP leader is assaulted by protesters Behind Maharashtra, in Punjab, farmer leaders booked Punjab surge: Delay Pushedto in getting to hospital LUDHIANA, MARCH 27 COURT ALLOWS BAILABLE WARRANT AGAINST HARDIK CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SUNDAY STORY Murder of democracy, says Gehlot on Delhi Bill PUBLICLY lending his weight to the Aam Aadmi Party-led proteststhatthenewlawundermines its elected Delhi government, Rajasthan Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Ashok Gehlot Saturday said the passage of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi(Amendment)Bill,2021by Parliament last week was a “murderof democracy”andthat, in the future, the Narendra Modi government could bring such lawsinstateswhereitloseselectorally. Speaking to The Sunday Express, Gehlot also said that India’s image has taken a hit globally, and that people who matter are opting to make calls on WhatsApp or FaceTime because they fear their phones could be tapped by the Centre. In a series of tweets earlier in the day, he wrote, “The GNCTD Act passed by Modi government to curtail the rights of the Delhi government is murder of democracy. Abolishing the powerof anelectedgovernment isagainstthespiritof democracy. Earlier, the Supreme Court had clearly ruled that the elected government is the real head of Delhi.” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal responded tweeting: “Thank you for supporting the people of Delhi against the Centre’s unconstitutional Bill, Gehlot ji. The Indian republic’s Constitution and democracy are mitted to a reasonable solution to sharing of water of all the rivers." Thejointstatementacknowledgedthis:“She(Hasina)underscored that to alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent ontheTeestariverbasin,itisnecessary that Bangladesh receives itsfairshareof theTeestawaters, the draft agreement of which hasalreadybeenagreeduponby both Governments in January ‘Not gospel truth… funds not audited but I kept accounts’ missions,probablyduetodelayin hospitalisation ■ Contact of positive cases is not beingisolatedtillfinaltestreport, resultinginthespreadofinfection THESE ARE some of the red flags raisedbytheCentreSaturdayduring a high-level meeting with 12 Union Territories and states reporting a surge in cases. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AHMEDABAD, SURAT, MARCH 27 BEGINNING APRIL 1, a negative RT-PCR test certificate will be mandatory for those travelling to Gujarat from other states, the state government said Saturday. The announcement comes as Covid-19 cases in the state hit a new high with 2,276 cases — its highest single-day rise in infections since the beginning of the pandemic last year. The order, issued by deputy secretary of state health department Vanrajsinh Padhariya, states that in light of several states reporting a rise in Covid19cases,thegovernmenthasdecided that anyone entering Gujarat from any other states will require to carry a RT-PCR negativereportnotolderthan72 hours. The mandatory requirement “shall be effective starting April 1 until further orders,” the order states. On March 23, the state governmenthadissuedasimilarnotification for people entering Gujarat from Maharashtra -- the neighbouring state witnessed a sharp spike in cases. Ahmedabad city, which reported 601 fresh infections and one fatality, added further restrictions in light of the upcomingHolifestival.OnSaturday,the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation(AMC)saidallclubs, party plotsandswimming pools will remain closed on March 28 The state reported 2,276 infections Saturday, highest single-day rise. Express and 29. The civic body also declaredthathousingsocietieswill refrain from celebrating the festival with colours and water in a crowd,whilebiggertemplesand havelis, too, have to refrain from such celebrations. Holi,thecivicbody’snotification stated, also cannot be celebratedonpublicroadsandfundraising activities for the festival too are not permissible. The city, meanwhile, added 14micro-containmentzones,especially in the areas of Maninagar,Jodhpur andGotaon the day. The civic body vaccinatedarecord25,746citizenson the day, officials said. The civic body added it will continue vaccination on Sunday from 9 am at allthedesignatedcentres,except at private and government school vaccination sites. Acting on the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s announcement earlierthis weekmakingall government employees in Gujarat CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Vadodara’s oxygen consumption highest in Gujarat this month: Report PAGE 1 ANCHOR ADITIRAJA VADODARA, MARCH 27 VADODARA HAS topped the medical oxygen consumption in the state since the beginning of March this year, owing to the increasedhospitalisationandpatients on O2 supply. According to a report prepared by the Food and Drugs ControlAdministration(FDCA)of Gujarat,ofthetotal2256.6metric tonnes (MT) consumed in the state between March 1 and 27, Vadodara hospitals used 528.51 MT — coinciding with the increasing number of cases since mid-March, while the rest of the state consumed 1728 MT. In fact, the number of patients in Vadodara hospitals more than doubled in six days from March 20 to 27, thus increasing the consumption of oxygen, accordingly. Accordingtothedailyoxygen consumption chart of the FDCA forMarch,inGujarat,588patients SINGLE-DAY OXYGEN CONSUMPTION As on March 27 Vadodara 38.91MT (1,642 O2 occupied beds) Ahmedabad 18.45MT (233 O2 beds) Surat 13.84 MT (437 O2 beds) Rajkot 7.99 MT (196 O2 beds) Gandhinagar 5.02 MT (107 O2 beds) were on O2 support on March 1 and 1260 on O2 support on March 20. By March 27, the state had2801patientsonO2support. Thestate consumed 50 MT of O2 on March 1, 69 MT on March 20 and 109 MT on March 27. Of this, in Vadodara, on March 1, 197 patientswereonO2supportwitha consumptionof12.61MT.Thefiguressteadilyincreasedto544patientsonO2supportonMarch20 and consumption of 20.26 MT. But in a span of seven days, the number of patients and the consumptionnearlydoubled--with 1642patientsonO2supportand consumption of 38.91 MT on March 27. OfficeronSpecialDutyVinod Rao said, "The demand for oxygen is high in Vadodara and we have used nearly 35% of the entire state's consumption during the month of March until Friday. Despite the increased number of patients on O2 supply, we have been able to meet the demand. Vadodara has appointed a nodal officer for monitoring the availability of all medicines and oxygen is himself the Assistant Commissioner of the FDCA and sowehavenoshortageof supply. We are also monitoring the privatehospitalstoensurethattheir supply is met." In September last year, when the city witnessed a peak during the first wave of the pandemic, theadministrationhadinstalleda Liquid Oxygen Tank of 13,000 Litres (13MT) and 10.6 Tonne capacity at the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS)-run Gotri Hospital when a shortage of oxygen had become an issue. Civic-run SSG hospital has two tanks of 20000 litrescapacity,each,makingatotal of 40MT available. An official addedthatwhilethehospitalisation has increased by six times, the requirement for oxygen is up by3%.OnSaturday,Vadodarahad 4357occupiedhospitalbeds,out of which, 1642 are O2 supply bedsand862ICUbedsacrossthe governmentandprivateCovid19 empanelled hospitals in the city. Thisincluded,closeto600admissionsfromneighbouringdistricts ofCentralGujarat,officialsadded. JP Patel, Assistant Commissioner,FDCA,whoisalso thenodalofficerforthesupplyof oxygen and other necessary drugs during the pandemic in Vadodaratoldthisnewspaper,"At any given time, the liquid O2 tanks in Gotri and SSG are filled to 60% capacity. The main supplier of liquid medical oxygen in VadodaraisInox,whichislocated in Vadodara itself and has a production capacity of 120MT perday.ThelevelsintheO2tanks are constantly monitored and as soonasthetanksaredownby3540%, the tankers come and refill. There is a second supplier too, who brings in the medical oxygen from Bhavnagar based companies if needed. But at the moment, there is no shortage." Ahmedabad
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