BHUBANESWAR l thursday l October 29, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l JEYPORE EDITION NIA searches ngos IN SRINAGAR, b’luru IN TERROR FUNDING CASE Ten locations in the Valley and one in Bengaluru were raided in connection with a case related to NGOs diverting funds Many trusts in j&k under nia lens Money diverted to fund terror? Those whose premises were searched include Khurram Parvez (coordinator of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society), his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri as well as Parveena Ahanger, chairperson, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. The offices of the NGO Athrout and GK Trust were also searched ■ The National Investigation Agency is probing if these NGOs diverted funds meant for charitable activities to ‘secessionist and separatist activities’ in Jammu and Kashmir ■ Several incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized in the raids, the NIA said in a statement on Wednesday P10 Newspaper The office of a trust owned by greater Kashmir was also raided CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI No vaccine swing in Bihar? BJP’s promise to provide Covid shots for free doesn’t appear to cut ice with the voters “When the government could not make proper arrangements @ Patna/New Delhi/Muzaffarpur for Covid-19 patients, it is foolish to believe such false promwaiting to meet the doctor at ises,” said Saroj Kumar Thakur, a nursing home in Muzaffar- 35, who runs a salon in Patna. pur, Rupesh Kumar Sinha, 44, a Why the voters are not deepmedical representative with a ly impressed by the free vacpharmaceutical company, said cine promise lies perhaps in the Covid-19 pandemic and the the Covid numbers. Despite bethreat it poses was not even a ing the third-most populated talking point among the people, state with a creaking public leave alone an election issue. health infrastructure, Bihar “I am in the field of has done well on the virus health and I have seen pafront, making it a non-istients suffering from sue and hardly a mass ear coronavirus. People are concern. to the a bit scared but not overWhile the national ground ly worried,” he said, discase fatality rate is 1.5%, missing the suggestion Bihar’s is a mere 0.499%, that the Bharatiya Janata one of the lowest in the counParty’s promise to provide the try The disease’s incidence per . Covid vaccine free to Bihar was million in India is 5,790.1 but in a game changer. Bihar it is 1,572.5, the lowest in From Muzaffarpur and Saran the country . to Samastipur and Patna, the On total deaths and active BJP’s populist promise grabbed cases also the state has not done media headlines and was a hot badly The highest death count . topic of debate in drawing is in Maharashtra at 38,717, folrooms last week, but for the vot- lowed by Andhra Pradesh, ers in the dust bowls of Bihar, 9,917, and Karnataka, 9,461. BiCovid and the vaccine are hard- har’s is only 925, one of the lowly issues to be animated about. est among the populous states. Ra j e s h K u ma r T h ak u r , Sana S h ak i l & M u k e s h Ran j an BIHAR 2020 Voter turnout 53.54% Onion prices to stay north 50% Women voters 1% drop S u d h i r S u r ya w an s h i @ Mumbai There is little buzz in Nashik’s Lasalgaon, though it is Asia’s largest onion market. For, the mandi is shut as traders are protesting against Income Tax raids on 14 of them as also the ‘mindless’ stock limit imposed by the Central government. Activity at Lasalgaon matters as a whopping 35% of India’s onion supply chain is sourced from that mandi. Sulking traders are adding to the stress the kitchen staple is already facing because of heavy rains damaging the standing crop, pushing the average retail price across the country to around `90 per kg (see box). Retail prices in Telangana are particularly swollen (Hyderabad `130-150; Warangal `100-120; Karimnagar `100) as supplies from Maharashtra are just a trickle. Caught between the government and the trading community is the aam aadmi, who is being forced to reduce his onion intake. “Many people have stopped buying the king of the kitchen for now,” revealed vegetable trader Pritam Das in Jaipur. Till about a few days ago when Lasalgaon was a beehive of activity onion arrivals were , in the range of 70,000 to 75,000 tonnes per day as against the normal of 1.25 lakh to 1.50 lakh tonnes. In other words, a drop of 40-50%, informed Nanasaheb Patil, an onion growing farmer leader in Nasik. “Lasalgaon gets ample supplies in August from states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after harvest. But this year, the standing crop in all the three states was damaged by the rains. In the first week of October, onions normally start arriving into the mandi from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. But floods in parts of Maharashtra damaged both the old stock and fresh crops. As a result, new arrivals have been delayed by 40-60 days,” Patil shared. In Karnataka, extended monsoon in Chitradurga, Ballari, Gadag, Dharwad, Haveri and Chikkamagaluru districts contributed to the super spike in prices. “Although normally there is spike in onion prices in NovemberDecember because the March stocks tend to get exhausted and the October harvest cannot be dried and stored for long, this year’s rise is because around 70,000 hectares in Karnataka got affected by the monsoon,” said B N Prasad, managing director of Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Continued on: P9 Processing Society). Cu r r e nt r e tail pri ce pe r kg J&K H 70-80 Uttarakhand H 65-70 Punjab H 70-80 Uttar Pradesh H 70-80 Rajasthan H 60-80 Madhya Pradesh H 70-80 Bengaluru H 114 Kerala H 50-80 In the 2015 Assembly elections, the voting percentage was 54.75% around one percentage point higher Assam H 70-80 West Bengal H 100 Odisha H 80 Chhattisgarh H 60 Vijayawada H 80-90 Hyderabad H 130-150 Tamil Nadu H 80-100 express read Naveen begins virtual rally, seeks Tirtol votes for BJD aspirant Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday appealed to the voters of Tirtol Assembly constituency in Jagatsinghpur district to support the BJD candidate in the November 3 by-election. Addressing a virtual rally from here, the BJD president said , “I am indebted to your love and affection for me. I am aware that you are not able to meet me due to the pandemic situation. I will visit your area and meet you in person once the situation improves.” | P3 total cases 1,90,740 11,420 Active cases Case fatality rate 0.499% Cases per mn Voters patiently await their turn to cast votes for the first phase of Bihar Assembly elections at Bhabhua police station in Kaimur district on Wednesday | PTI As for active cases, the worst five states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra and Tamil Nadu. With 11,420 active cases, Bihar’s numbers are one of the lowest among heavily populated states. The state is at the 11th position in terms of total cases, sev- enteenth position in active cases and eleventh in recoveries. But perhaps more important than the Covid figures is the socio-economic profile of the people affected by the deadly disease, which has the potential to make the BJP’s promise continued on: P9 a dud. 1,572.5 Case recovery rate 95.24% Seventeenth position in active cases Eleventh position in total cases Crowds flout Covid norms at poll rallies, raise fear of virus spread H e man t K u ma r R o u t @ Bhubaneswar EVEN as the Election Commission has warned political parties against flouting Covid-19 safety rules, it seems to have little impact as crowds without masks and proper social distancing continue to gather at election rallies and meetings in Balasore and Tirtol Assembly segments where the bypolls are scheduled on November 3. As per an analysis of new cases in last fortnight, Balasore and Jagatsinghpur contributed 1,326 and 1,136 cases respectively to the State’s tally of 30,820 cases between October 12 and 27. While the positivity rate has come down in other districts, it continues to persist in the two districts. The number of new cases that had slipped to 42 on October 12 from 209 on September 11 in Balasore, rose to 92 on October 27. Barring three days, the number of fresh cases has been in the range of over 70 during the period with the daily count crossing the 100-mark on four occasions, maximum 164 being recorded on October 14. Similarly, Jagatsinghpur has been constantly reporting new infections in a range of 70 to 80. Virologists and health experts warned that the large gatherings could have devastating consequences enabling the virus to spread further if the district administrations do not enforce Covid-19 protocols. Congress leader Navajyoti Patnaik, who had addressed over a dozen rallies and meetings in Balasore, has tested positive for the virus. But, there has been no contact tracing nor further enforcement measures by the district administration at the election rallies thereafter. “You see the rallies and meetings in both the districts, it appears as if the virus has disappeared. People have become complacent and the political parties are not at all serious about its fatal consequences. Moreover, the districts have lowered the tests to give a false impression that the infection rate has declined,” said Bibekananda Das, a social activist. Meanwhile, Odisha added 1,540 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours taking the tally to 2,85,482. Twelve more patients also succumbed to the disease during the period. The number of fresh cases rose by around 23 per cent (pc) as the testing was increased by 21 pc post Dussehra. The daily positivity rate that was on the decline has once again picked up and is up from around 4 pc on Sunday to 4.17 pc on Tuesday indicating that the cases would mount if the tests are accelerated. As many as 36,905 tests were conducted as against 30,303 tests on Monday and 36,881 tests on Sunday when 1,247 and 1,480 cases, respectively, were detected. Three districts registered 100 or more cases with Khurda contributing 208 cases, followed by Sundargarh (111) and Angul (100). Cuttack district reported 99 cases, the lowest in last two and a half months. On August 11, 76 cases were recorded in the district. The death toll due to the disease soared to 1,337. The State has 14,015 active cases as 2,70,130 patients have recovered so far. Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra said the districts where by-poll is being held have been asked to step up testing and ensure strict enforcement. Cold winter looms, batten down the hatches A s i s h M e h ta @ Bhubaneswar Bihar H 90-110 Factfile As Odisha enters another crucial phase in the fight against Covid-19, weather predictions for the upcoming months do not provide much solace. While winter is stated to create favourable conditions for transmission of coronavirus, the season is set to be colder this year. The temperature is likely to start dipping in Odisha from the second week of November, Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre scientist Umasankar Das said on Wednesday. The India Meteorlogical Department has already forecast colder winter in the country this year due to a weak La Nina phenomenon. The core cold wave (CW) zone will cover northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, extending through Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana. The winds during the winter are from the north-east near the land surface and this is accompanied by File Photo south-westerly jet (narrow bands of strong winds) in the upper atmosphere. “During an El Nino, this jet is pushed southward and it allows more western disturbance to bring rain and snow into northwestern parts of the country. However, La Nina produces a more north-south low pressure system which brings in Siberian air and the cold wave than can extend much further south,” Das explained. Director of Centre of Environment and Climate (CEC) Dr Sarat Chandra Sahu said that many days in December will experience 1 degree Celsius to 2 degree below normal minimum temperature. “In the last two years, Odisha has experienced colder winters under the influence of jet stream. This season will likely be colder due to La Nina condition and jet stream. January is expected to be more harsh,” he added. Health experts have sounded the warning against any complacency in the battle against Covid-19 during the winter. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also directed the departments to step up their efforts to prevent a possible second wave fuelled by the cold conditions. Meanwhile, Met office said that south-west monsoon withdrew entirely from Odisha on Wednesday. The State largely witnessed normal rainfall this year. Seasonal rainfall in the State between June and September 30 this year was 1140.8 mm against long term average of 1155.3 mm based on data from 1961 to 2010. Five districts, however, recorded deficit rainfall during the season. Khurda received 28 per cent deficit rainfall, Puri 25 pc, Balasore 24pc , Gajapati 23 pc and Jajpur 20 pc. ED arrests ex-secy Shivasankar E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi The Enforcement Directorate, which is probing the money laundering angle in the gold smuggling case, on Wednesday night formally arrested Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar. He was detained soon after the Kerala High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea. The suspended IAS officer was undergoing treatment at a private Ayurveda hospital in Thiruvananthapuram when the ED officials picked him up. JPC asks Twitter to apologise for Leh map goof-up Express News Service @ New Delhi Twitter’s geotagging feature displaying Jammu and Kashmir as part of China is a criminal offence and an act of treason, the joint parliamentary committee looking into the Data Protection Bill told representatives of the social media giant on Wednesday . The JPC, chaired by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, asked the firm to get an explanation from its US-based parent in the form of an affidavit along with a written apology. The panel grilled Shagufta Kamran, senior manager, public policy, Twitter India; Ayushi Kapoor, legal counsel; Pallavi Walia, policy communications; and Manvinder Bali, corporate security, for about two hours. Sources said the Twitter executives apologised for the “technical issue” but the JPC members were not satisfied. The JPC also sought to know on what basis Twitter takes down content and blocks accounts. He was taken to Kochi by road and was questioned in length about his involvement in the gold smuggling case. The Customs department also interrogated him separately . While the ED is probing the money trail, the Customs is investigating the smuggling angle. The development has kicked off a political storm in the state with opposition parties holding protests across the state demanding Vijayan’s resignation over the matter. Sources said the questioning will continue on Thursday . India won’t take back troops, LAC talks to continue: Rajnath India will not drawdown its forces along the borders in eastern Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday even as talks with China to resolve the standoff will continue | P9 BCG shot can help elderly in Covid AN ICMR study has found that BCG vaccination induces enhanced innate and adaptive immunity in elderly individuals, which may prove beneficial against the Covid-19 virus | P9
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