DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 2021, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM Two Punjab gangsters killed in shootout with STF near Kolkata HARIKISHAN SHARMA Mamata: ‘Citizens’ money... why is PM taking credit for free doses’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JUNE 9 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, JUNE 9 DAYS AFTER Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre would provide free vaccines to states for inoculation of all above 18 years, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised him for “taking credit” and said the decision should have been taken earlier. “Why is the Prime Minister taking credit for free vaccines? Freevaccinationistherightof all citizens, it is the citizens' money, not the BJP's," she said at a press conference. “Back in February, and multiple times thereafter, I'd written to the PM stating our longstanding demand to provide vaccines toallforfree.Tookhim4months but after much pressure, he has finally listened to us and implemented what we've been asking all this while," she also tweeted. “The well-being of the people of India should've been prioritised since the very start of this pandemic. Unfortunately, this delayed decision by PM has already cost many lives. Hoping for a better managed #VaccinationDrivethistimethat focuses on people & not propaganda," she tweeted. “The central government is a failure in every sector. It should not take credit for free vaccination.ThePrimeMinistertookthe CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR Health workers vaccinating a farmer at Tral in Kashmir on Wednesday. Shuaib Masoodi Centre may renegotiate vaccine prices with SII and Bharat Biotech AANCHAL MAGAZINE & PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, JUNE 9 AFTER CHANGING its vaccine procurement policy, the Centre is likely to engage in renegotiations on the prices of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, The Indian Express has learnt. A senior government official saidtherevisedprocurementprice perdose,whichiscurrentlyRs150 for both vaccines, is “yet to be decidedunderthenewsystem”.The Centreisfinalisingthecontoursof thepricing,theofficialsaid. The Finance Ministry, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr Vinod K Paul, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech did not respond to queries on the issue. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre would buy 75 per cent of doses from vaccinemakers,including25per cent of the state quota, and give it for free to state governments. This is aimed at facilitating free vaccinationforallabove18years of age from June 21, which is likely to cost the exchequer an additional Rs 15,000 crore as compared to the Budget allocation of Rs 35,000 crore. When the Centre began vaccination in January, it procured 11 million doses of Covishield at CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 U.S. TO DONATE 500 MN PFIZER SHOTS TO 100 NATIONS PAGE 12 ■ 2020-21MSP* 3.83 FOR AT least the seventh year in a row, the BJP has topped the charts when it comes to receiving corporate and individual donations, latest data show. In 2019-20, the party received roughly Rs 750 crore in donations from companies and individuals, according to its contributionreportsubmittedtothe Election Commission (EC). Thisisatleastfivetimesmore thanwhattheCongresspartyreceived(Rs139crore).TheNCPgot Rs 59 crore, TMC Rs 8 crore, CPM Rs 19.6 crore, and the CPI Rs 1.9 crore in the same period. BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s Jupiter Capital, the ITC Group, real estate companies Macrotech Developers (earlier knownasLodhaDevelopers)and B G Shirke Construction Technology,thePrudentElectoral Trust, and Jankalyan Electoral Trust were among the BJP's biggest donors (see box). An electoral trust is a Section 25 company that receives volun- BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY MAJOR BJP DONORS Prudent Electoral Trust: ` 217.75 cr Jankalyan Electoral Trust: ` 45.95 cr Jupiter Capital: ` 15 cr ITC and ITC subsidiaries: ` 76 cr Lodha Developers: ` 21 cr Gulmarg Realtors: ` 20 cr B.G.Shirke Construction Technology: ` 35 cr tary contributions, mainly from corporatehouses,anddistributes them to political parties. It offers donorsanonymitywhilemaking a political contribution. The PrudentElectoralTrusthasBharti Enterprises, GMR Airport DevelopersandDLFLimitedasits major donors. The Jankalyan ElectoralTrustreceivesfundsfrom companies of the JSW Group. TheBJPalsoreceivedasizable donation of Rs 20 crore from Gulmarg Realtors, the real estate companyassociatedwithbuilder SudhakarShetty,inOctober2019. TheEnforcementDirectoratehad raided Shetty's residence and office in January 2020. At least 14 educational institutions were also among the BJP's donors. These include Mewar University, Delhi (Rs 2 crore), Krishna Institute of Engineering (Rs 10 lakh), G D Goenka International School, Surat (Rs 2.5 lakh), Pathania Public School, Rohtak (Rs 2.5 lakh), Little Hearts Convent School, Bhiwani (Rs 21,000), and Allen Career, Kota (Rs 25 lakh). There are many BJP members, MPs and MLAs among the party's donors. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar contributed Rs 5 lakh, Rajya SabhaMPRajeevChandrasekhar Rs 2 crore, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu Rs 1.1 crore, Kirron Kher Rs 6.8 lakh among others. Chairman of Manipal Global Education T V CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Dalit youth killed after row: over Ambedkar poster: Cops DEEP MUKHERJEE JAIPUR, JUNE 9 A 21-YEAR-OLD Dalit man in Rajasthan has succumbed to injuries sustained in an assault by a group of men belonging to an OBC community nearly two weeks after some of them allegedly tore posters of B R Ambedkar pasted outside his home, police and family mem- bers of the victim said. Vinod Bamnia, who was a member of Bhim Army, was assaulted on June 5 near his home inKikraliyavillageof Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district, and died in a hospital in Sriganganagar two days later, police said. Police confirmed that at least twopersonsnamedbyBamnia’s family over the poster incident — Anil Sihag and Rakesh Sihag — CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ■ 2021-22 MSP* 3.85 5.00 ■ Increase% 5.21 6.59 *`/Quintal 7,307 6,855 5,550 5,275 6,300 6,000 1.08 Sesamum BY DHANMANJIRI SATHE P6 3.8% HIKE FOR PADDY, LOWEST FOR MAIZE REPORT ON CORPORATE & INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS BJP got Rs 750 cr in 2019-20, over 5 times what Cong got CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Groundnut At the housing complex in New Town Wednesday. Partha Paul INDIA’S PANDEMIC RESPONSE: SHOCKED& AWED CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 the kharif season was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Briefing reporters on the Cabinet decision, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the MSP of paddy (common) has been increased from Rs 1,868 per quintal to Rs 1,940 per quintal for 2021-22 — a hike of Rs 72 per quintal. In the kharif marketing season (KMS) 2020-21, MSP of paddy (common) had seen an absolute increase of Rs 53 per Tur (Arhar) THE EDITORIAL PAGE downpour coincided with tidal waves reaching up to 4.16 m at 11.43 am, which stalled the draining of rainwater through stormwater outfalls. Several low-lying spots, such asKing’sCircle,Hindmata,Gandhi Market in Matunga, Dadar TT, Sion,KurlaWest,Andheri,Bandra, Khar, Dharavi, Mankhurd, Chembur and Govandi, experienced severe flooding. 1,940 MUMBAI WAS brought to a near standstill on the first day of this year’s monsoon season with heavy rain lashing most parts of the city Wednesday morning, leading to traffic snarls and severe waterlogging that left roads, subways, suburban rail tracks and entire neigh- mm rain in a span of 12 hours — 44 per cent of the monthly average rainfall in June (505 mm). It said the city will continue to receiveextremelyheavyrainspells —morethan200mmin24hours — till June 13. The record for the highest 24-hour spell for the monthis399mmonJune9,1991. On Wednesday, the city witnessed an intense spell of rain — between 50-100 mm — from 9 am to 10 am. The morning 1,868 MUMBAI, JUNE 9 bourhoods inundated. With the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) once again caught on the wrong foot, despite several assurances, officials decided to shut the key Andheri subway, which was among the first to get inundated, for four months across the entire season. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Mumbai recorded 222.2 Paddy (Common) SANJANA BHALERAO WITH THE monsoon announcing its arrival, the government WednesdayincreasedMinimum SupportPrices(MSP)forallmandatedkharif cropsformarketing season 2021-22. The sesamum MSP has been raised 6.59 per cent — the highest among all crops — while in the case of paddy, the principal kharif crop, the increase in floor price is 3.8 per cent. The MSP increase ahead of 5,726 Day 1 of monsoon brings Mumbai to its knees, heavy spells likely for four days NEW DELHI, JUNE 9 5,515 A train that was forced to stop ahead of Kurla station in Mumbai on Wednesday. As the Southwest monsoon set in over Mumbai, heavy rains lashed the city, disrupting train services and leading to severe waterlogging. Amit Chakravarty Cotton (Medium Staple) CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PM had assured... No need to fear, MSP is there and is increasing: Tomar 1,870 A GANGSTER and his aide wanted for the murder of two Punjab policemen were gunned down in a shootout with the West Bengal Special Task Force (STF)inNewTown,nearKolkata, on Wednesday afternoon. An STFofficialwasinjuredintheencounter. Jaipal Singh Bhullar and Jaspreet Singh -- wanted in several cases of murder and extortion as well as drug smuggling - had rented a flat in Sukhabristi Apartment in New Town, officials said. The STF said it had been working closely with the Punjab Police to track down the two. Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta said they had tipped off their Bengal counterparts earlier Wednesday about the presence of Bhullar and Singh in the flat. The Punjab Police had an- 1,850 KOLKATA, JUNE 9 nounced a reward of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for information leadingtothearrestof Jaipal and Jaspreet, respectively. “We got information that the two were hiding here. We planned the operation and surrounded the building. But they startedfiring.Wefiredinself-defence and they died,” AdditionalDirector General, West Bengal STF, Vineet Goyal said, adding that the Punjab Police had confirmed their identities. Sources said Bhullar was the son of a former policeman from Punjab’s Ferozepur district, and at one time was a national-level hammer thrower. He was wanted in more than 15 cases of murder and robberies. Singh belonged to Kharar. Bhullar and Singh were also wanted in the firing on a police party at the Jagraon grain market in Punjab on May 15. Two Govt raises MSP for kharif crops, says doors for farm talks open Maize SWEETY KUMARI HIKE GETS CCEA NOD Ahead of UP polls, another Cong exit: Prasada goes to BJP Jitin Prasada with Amit Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANI MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, JUNE 9 JITIN PRASADA on Wednesday became the first among the Group of 23 Congress leaders who had written to Sonia Gandhi last year seeking radical changes in the organisation to leave the party. The Congress leaderfromUttarPradeshjoined the BJP ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in the state early next year. Prasada's exit marks yet another setback to the party which hasseenasteadyerosionof leaders since 2014. He is the second young face considered close to Rahul Gandhi to leave, after Jyotiraditya Scindia’s shift to the CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Cong’s leaky cauldron JITIN PRASADA’s move further enforces the impression of Congress being a party in disarray. It also helps the BJP at a time when there are reports that all is not well in its UP unit, while sending a message to the politically significant Brahmin community, to which Prasada belongs. In MP, those not vaccinated get tagged with skull mark, a warning IRAM SIDDIQUE BHOPAL, JUNE 9 A NEWLY launched Covid vaccinationdriveinMadhyaPradesh's Niwari district has led to policemenconductingchecksonroads and making those who have not been vaccinated wear posters withskullmarks—andthemessage: “Mujhse dur rahein, maine abhi corona ka tika nahi lagwaya (Stayawayfromme,Ihaven'tgot vaccinated for Covid).” Those who are handed these posters, under the drive in the district’s Prithvipur block, are asked to read the message out loud and take an oath that they wouldgetvaccinatedwithintwo days. Those who have been vaccinated are given badges with colours of the national flag and the message: “Mein saccha deshbhakthoonkyunkimainecorona ka tika lagwaya hai (I am a true patriot because I have been vaccinated).” Asked about such measures being taken at a time when states are facing a shortage of vaccines, Niwari SP Alok Kumar Singh said the instructions were to just hand out the sticker or poster and not make anyone wearit.“Itisoneof themanyinitiatives and is only symbolic with an intention to create awareness,” Singh said. “With a third wave being anticipated, various awareness drives are being carried out to dispel the fear of vaccination, which is the only solution against the virus,” he said. Sub Divisional Police Officer SantoshPandey,whoisincharge of the drive in Prithvipur block, said “no partiality is shown”. “I am a local from the adjoining Panna district and in this region of Bundekhand it is understood that if someone swears over At Prithvipur, in MP’s Niwari, police got people who were not vaccinated to wear posters with warnings. Express something, they will definitely fulfill it. That is why people are being made to take an oath to vaccinate themselves,” said Pandey. SP Singh and Pandey said the drive was launched to overcome vaccine hesitancy, especially in the villages. Bordering UP, Niwari has so far recorded 3,673 Covid cases. During the second wave in April, nearly 80 policemen were down with Covid. Since May 20, the daily count has mostly been in single digits. The district has recorded 47 deaths so far, of which 35 have occurred since May. There are currently 48 active cases in Niwari. However,thedistrict'spaceof vaccinationisyettopickupwith only4.2percentof itspopulation in the 18-44 age group covered so far. So far, 36,344 people (about 60 per cent) from a population of 59,885 above 45 years old have received at least one doseof thevaccine.Butthecampaign has covered only 8,582 of thedistrict's2.03lakhpopulation in the 18-44 age group. On June 9, only 257 people above 45 years of age and 895 more in the 18-44 age range werevaccinatedinNiwari.State- wise, Madhya Pradesh has vaccinated 1.35 crore people from a population of 7.2 crore. Niwari District Collector Ashish Bargav said the district, which is the smallest in the state and was carved out of Tikamgarh just over two years ago, was recording nearly 3,000 vaccinations per day in March. But the campaign was "badly hit" when the state machinery was diverted to tackle the second wave, he said. “Now,wearefocusedonvaccination as a part of which shopkeepers will be vaccinated on CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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