DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2021, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 12 PAGES SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM Delta Plus is now ‘variant of concern’, 3 states told to keep a watch CENTRE HAS NOT FIXED ANY MEETING AGENDA, SAYS FAROOQ All parties in J&K alliance to be at Delhi talks, say will present position to Govt Why delimitation urgency, want pre-Aug 5, 2019, status restored, says Mehbooba KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, JUNE 22 A woman arrives with her child to join the queue at a vaccination centre in Guwahati Tuesday. PTI Three out of 5 shots in record Day 1 surge given in rural areas NAVEED IQBAL & DEEPTIMAN TIWARY SRINAGAR, NEW DELHI, JUNE 22 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, JUNE 22 Former CMs Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti with other PAGD leaders following a meeting on Tuesday. Shuaib Masoodi Why this thumbs up in Kashmir has many fingers crossed as well MUZAMIL JALEEL NEW DELHI, JUNE 22 BEHIND THE unanimous decision by the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) to attend the Prime Minister’s meeting Thursday is a sharp debate within. On how to read the Centre’s apparent “walk back” aftertheabrogationof J&K’sspecial status two years ago and its constant “denigration” of the coalition since then. More than a “change of heart,” the refrain in Srinagar is thatNewDelhi’s move is shaped by political imperatives – from international to regional. “Thereisnoimmediatelocalcompulsion for the Centre to make anyamendstothepolicy unveiled and implemented since August 5,” said a senior PAGD leader who didn’t wish to be identified. “There’s been no scope for any disagreement… key leaders who disagreed were jailed and silenced. They took a unilateral decision based on their ideological project. The public outrage hasn’t hindered them until now.” One thing that has changed, the leader said,istheexternalen● vironment. “China has entered the arena (Galwan and its aftermath); there has been a change of regime in the US whose troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY E EXPLAINED LEADERS OF the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), a coalition of mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir, announced Tuesday thattheywouldbeattendingthe meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 24. The PAGD leaders, who met attheresidenceof alliancechairman and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, held discussions for an hour. They had earlierheldconsultationswithin their own parties on Delhi’s outreach, nearly two years after the revocation of the special status of J&K and its bifurcation into two Union Territories. With Delhi’s invitation to the talksnotspellingouttheagenda, Farooq Abdullah said: “Mehboobaji, myself and Tarigami Sahab have been invited. We will all go and we will presentourpositiontothePrime Minister and the Home Minister in Delhi. They have not fixed any agenda for this meeting.” Mehbooba Mufti, PDP president and the last Chief Minister of the erstwhile state, told The Indian Express: “We will talk about our key agenda for which CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SHAJU PHILIP THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JUNE 22 YOUTH WITH BUFFALO LYNCHED IN RAJOURI PAGE 4 THE KERALA High Court on Tuesday temporarily stayed two controversial orders of the Lakshadweep administration — onepertainingtoclosureof dairy farms and the other on change in themenuof midday mealsfor school children in the islands. Lakshadweep Administrator Praful K Patel had recently ordered the closure of government-owneddairyfarms,andfor meatandchickentobetakenout GOVT & POLITICS Holding a ‘black day’ against administrator Patel. PTI of the menu of the midday meal scheme, prompting Ajmal Ahamed, a native of Lakshadweep,tofileapublicinterestlitigation in the High Court. TRP chargesheet: Police name Arnab as accused MOHAMED THAVER & SADAF MODAK PAWAR HOSTS 8 OPPN PARTIES, CONG MPs STAY AWAY REFORMS: PM SAYS CENTRE, STATES WORKING TOGETHER PAGE 5 PAGE 1 ANCHOR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, JUNE 22 FOR THE first time since investigations into the alleged Television Ratings Point (TRP) scam began nine months ago, Mumbai Police Tuesday named Republic TV editor-in-chief ArnabGoswamiasanaccusedin the case. In a 1,912-page supplementary chargesheet submitted by theMumbaiCrimeBranchinthe Esplanade Court, police named seven persons, including Goswami. This is the third chargesheet filed in the case. In the first chargesheet and a subsequent supplementary chargesheet, police had named “Republicowners”aswantedaccused. is guest at e-Adda today EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE LUCKNOW, JUNE 22 IT WAS a surprise move. On March 18, 2017, just seven days after being elected to power in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP named Yogi Adityanath, the MP from Gorakhpur and Mahant of Gorakhnath Temple, as Chief Minister. Since then, Adityanath has emerged as the face of the BJP in UP, whosepresence is sought after in elections from Bengal to Kerala. Now, with less than a year to go for the next Assembly electionsin his own state, the UP Chief Minister will be the chief guest at the Express e-Adda on Thursday. Known to be a leader who does not hesitate to speak his mind, Adityanath has taken several tough decisions during his CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NETWORK COVAXIN DATA IN: 77.8% EFFICACY 2DOSES CUT DEATH RISK BY 95%: STUDY PAGE 8 Come clean on deaths, prepare for 3rd wave, set up Covid fund: Cong Lakshadweep: HC stays 2 orders, Assembly polls ahead, asks govt why upset food habits BJP’s UP face Adityanath Thepetitionsaidtheorderon midday meals was issued with malafideintentiontochangethe food habits of the people of the islands, and alleged that the decision to shut down government-run dairy farms was meant to promote marketing of dairy products from Gujarat, Patel's home state. Stayingtheordersandgiving the Union Territory two weeks to file its counter affidavit, a division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly asked the Union government why it was upsetting the SIXTY-FOUR per cent of India's record-breaking vaccination on Monday took place in rural areas, the Centre said on Tuesday. Updated data from the Union Health Ministry showed 88.09 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered across the country as the government’s new vaccine procurement policy went into effect. A total 56.09 lakh doses of vaccinesweregiventorecipients in rural India, close to double the 31.99 lakh shots that were ad- ministered in urban centres, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. Dr V K Paul, chairman of India’s Covid-19 task force, said: “The important aspect is that rural coverage has been remarkably emphasised; rural coverage is intense, and in good proportion. If the division of rural and urban in our country is around 70:30,thenyesterday’scoverage was close to this. It shows that it is possible to cover the rural farflung areas (in vaccination).” This, in fact, has been the trend over the past several weeks.“Inthelast few days, data THE UNION Health Ministry on Tuesday categorised the Delta Plus variant of the novel coronavirus, so far detected in three statesinthecountry,asa‘variant of concern’anddirectedstatesto takeupimmediatecontainment measures in clusters where the variant has been detected. The decision comes after INSACOG, a consortium of 28 laboratories of the Health Ministry that is involved in genome sequencing, informed the Centre on Tuesday that the Delta Plus variant has three worrying characteristics: increased transmissibility; stronger binding in receptors of lung cells; and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. Delta Plus variant or B.1.617.2.1iscloselyrelatedtothe Surprise CM choice in 2017, he is now firmly in control tenure at the helm, often drawing flak from the Oppositionand triggering controversies. They include the closure of illegal slaughter houses, setting up of “anti-romeo” squads, EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JUNE 22 ALLEGING“MISMANAGEMENT” by the Centre in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that “90percent”of the deaths in the second wave were “needless” and the total toll was “at least five-six times” more than the official estimate. He accused the government of “hidingthetruth”,andaskedit to“appointanindependentpublic commission to enumerate all INSIDE SC AGREES TO HEAR GOVT PLEA AGAINST HC NO TO AFFIDAVITS HOW JUDGES RECUSE FROM CASES, AND WHY PAGES 3 & 9 WEST BENGAL CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘KHELA HOBE’ NOW TMC GOVT’S SPORT INITIATIVE PAGE 3 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Toll 5-6 times more: Rahul at release of ‘white paper’. ANI Covid-19 related deaths”. Releasing a “white paper” prepared by the Congress on the government’s “disastrous” per- formance during the first and second waves, Rahul urged the Centre to prepare for the third wave by improving medical infrastructure and increasing the pace of vaccination. “It is pretty clear that the third wave is coming, and I would even go so far as to say that you might even have waves afterthethirdwave,becausethis virus is continuously mutating and changing form… So, it is important that the government prepares itself for what is going to come,” he said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Second wave retreating, Bengal draws up plan to tackle possible third wave SWEETY KUMARI KOLKATA, JUNE 22 EVEN AS the Covid situation in West Bengal is showing significant signs of improvement, the stateiswaryof loweringitsguard and has already shifted its focus to warding off a possible third wave. As a statement of intent, it hasalreadylaidoutaroadmapin anticipationof athirdwave,with focus on children. ThestateHealthDepartment has drawn up a blueprint and is in theprocessof puttingthe requisite infrastructure in place. For optimum and effective use of these facilities and resources, medical officers and nursingstaff willgothroughspecial training under Paediatric CovidManagementprogramme. Itwillalsoarrangeamodularon- Govt has decided to set up 6 paediatric ICUs in state. File line and off-line training programme, starting June 23 (Wednesday),formedicalofficers andnursingstaff acrossthestate. OnMonday,thestategovernmentsetupaspecial10-member expert committee to “supervise and monitor the evolving situation and suggest suitable interventions for effective management of Covid-19 third wave”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In Jharkhand, women selling liquor to feed family have way out ABHISHEK ANGAD RANCHI, JUNE 22 BREWING RICE beer at home and selling it at the local market; facing the taunts of unruly customers; struggling to feed her family of six, and finally running into losses. This was the life of Sushila Devi for seven years. Today,sheistheownerof asmall grocery shop near home in Upperkonkivillageof Ranchidistrict, earning enough to save some money on the side. The 45-year-old says her search for a “respectable life” is finally over. Devi is one of the 15,456 women identified by the Jharkhand government for its Phoolo-JhanoAshirwadAbhiyan, which was launched last Septembertorehabilitatewomen selling unregulated liquor and counselthemtoadoptanalternativebusinesssource,withtheprovision of interest-free loans up to Rs 10,000. These women were pickedafterastatewidesurveyby Jharkhand State Livelihood PromotionSociety(JSLPS),which functions under the Rural Development Department. Officials say the JSLPS has so far helped13,456womenwithloans through self-help groups and counselling to adopt alternative micro-enterprises — from agro- based activities to animal husbandry,saleofforestproduce,sericulture and poultry. “Counselling is the key, informing womenabouttheill-effectsof beinginvolvedinthesale of liquor,” JSLPS CEO Nancy Sahay said. Officialssaythewomenwere initially resistant to change. “In many places, they could not believe that the transition would be easy and that they would not be in debt. It took us a great deal of follow-upstoconvincethem,” an official, who is involved with the initiative, said. Oneimportantstepwastoget thosewhohadsigneduptomotivate others to follow. “These mo- Sushila Devi at the grocery shop she now runs in Upperkonki village of Kanke block in Ranchi district. Express tivators are called Navjiwan Sakhis.Thereare138suchwomen in the programme already, who get a minimum of Rs 100 per day fortheirservices,”theofficialsaid. One of them is Sabita Kumari from Kori village in Chatra district. “I joined as a Navjeevan Sakhi last October. I used to sell liquor earlier but now have started a business of rearing goats and pigs for meat. There were 21 women selling homemade liquor in the village. We convinced them to start other businesses with the Rs 10,000 loan. Many started eateries and grocery shops. Only three women still sell liquor,” she said. Kumari, however, says she is yet to receive any money from the government for her efforts as a Navjeevan Sakhi. In Upperkonki village, meanwhile,SushilaDeviis“sorelieved”. “Myhusbandtillsasmallpieceof land that we inherited, but that was never sufficient. For the past few months, there has been a small, but stable, income coming fromtheshop.Thereisaturnover of morethanRs3,000permonth and it has started giving some profit.Atleast,Idon’thavetositin themarketlisteningtoallthenonsense after men get drunk.” Devisaidthatshegottheloan ofRs10,000tostarthershopfrom a local self-help group. “I will return it in time,” she said. About 110 km away, 26-yearoldKalawatiKumarihasstarteda “pakora shop” in Satanpur panchayat of Bokaro, after selling homemade liquor for over three years. “Earlier, I used to sell liquor foraroundRs2,000permonth.It wasaverydifficultprocess...mixing Mahua flowers, jaggery. Sometimes,itusedtogetsour,and theentirestockwouldgotowaste. Then,therewastheissueof dealingwithmengettingdrunk.Itwas justtroubleallthetime,”shesaid. According to Kumari, the pakora business earns her about Rs 6,000 per month. “Initially, I was not convinced. But now, I have realised that this is much better work.” Kolkata
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