bhubaneswar l thursday l july 29, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION India women bring some smiles in Tokyo gloom Shuttler P V Sindhu, archer Deepika Kumar and boxer Pooja Rani into next round as India endured another mixed day Kento Momota cheers... and jeers as more indians exit Momota shocked, Biles pulls out again Sindhu outwitted Hong Kong’s NY Cheung 21-9 21-16 to top her group and make the last-16. Debutant boxer Pooja out-punched Algeria's Ichrak Chaib 5-0 to progress into the last-eight. Deepika stayed afloat to make the last-16 but archers — Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav — suffered loss. Even B Sai Praneeth exited after losing to Mark Caljouw of Netherlands Japan’s No 1 shuttler Kento Momota shocked by Heo Kwang Hee in last Group match, exits Olympics Gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of a second event to protect her mental health India’s women’s hockey team lost 1-4 to Great Britain, quarterfinal prospects dented 12th Arjun, Arvind produced best ever Olympic performance | P11, 12 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 BJP’s quorum ploy to block panel meet on Pegasus MA N ISH A N A N D @ New Delhi Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge (fourth from left), chairs a meeting with the representatives of 14 Opposition party leaders at his chamber in Parliament on Wednesday. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also attended the meeting | PTI Snoopgate strengthens Opposition unity index The ongoing stand-off in Parliament cast its shadow on the Standing Committee on Information and Technology on Wednesday with BJP MPs exe, cuting a well scripted strategy to deny any opportunity to the Shashi Tharoor-led panel to take up discussion on the raging Pegasus issue. They also shielded absentee officials from being hauled up for contempt by ensuring the meeting could not be convened because of lack of quorum. While the meeting’s details are stated to be confidential, two panel members, BJP’s Nishikant Dubey and Trinamool’s Mahua Maitra, fought it out on Twitter over verbal abuse. Dubey accused Moitra of abusing him at the venue of the meeting. “By hurling the Bihari gunda (goon) abuse, Mahua Moitra has abused the people from North India and the Hindi speaking belt,” tweeted Dubey . Moitra wondered what the fuss about was all about, when the meeting didn’t take place due to lack of quorum. According to Parliament staff- Amid West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee chanting the coalition mantra during her ongoing visit to Delhi, the index of Opposition unity in Parliament is getting stronger with daily joint strategy meetings and back channel talks to corner the Centre over the Pegasus snoopgate. Given the scale of its footprint, it’s Pegasus that has catalysed unity within the Opposition, with leaders across the spectrum resolving to fight together against the government in Parliament. They are not stalling debate; instead they are pressing for a discussion on the matter in the presence of the prime minister or the home minister. They also want a judicial probe by a Supreme Court-monitored committee. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who generally skips Opposition meetings, has been present at joint strategy sessions in Parliament this time around. Also, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has otherwise not been part of the strategy meetings, is on the same Opposition page on Pegasus. Another element of the strategy is all like-minded parties giving adjournment motions on the issue in both Houses. The floor leaders of the Opposition parties have been meeting almost every day to synchronise their approach. On Wednesday, floor leaders of 14 Opposition parties met in the office of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in Parliament. “Sitting with the entire opposition is extremely humbling. Amazing experience, wisdom and insight in everyone present,” Rahul tweeted after the meeting. Mamata ambiguous Choosing to be cagey about being the face of a united Opposition, Mamata told reporters: “You are asking me the name of the child even before it is born.” Modi government can be defeated. “If Bengal could do it, so can the other states.” Over 4,000 hamlets to become revenue villages E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Ahead of the next panchayat elections due in February 2022, more than 4,000 hamlets in the State will be declared as revenue villages. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has approved a proposal of the Department of Revenue and Disaster Management (DoR&DM) for streamlining the process of creation of new revenue villages out of hamlets. The move will ensure extension of government schemes and benefits to a vast number of people residing in hamlets across the State. As per the new guidelines issued by Principal Secretary Revenue Bishnupad Sethi, a hamlet to be declared as new revenue village is to be located more than half-akilometre from the mother revenue village with a population of 250 or more. Similarly a hamlet to , be declared as new revenue village lying within half-a-kilometre from the mother village should have a population more than 300. A hamlet separated from mother village by a natural barrier can be reorganised as a new revenue village even if the population of the hamlet is less than 250. In a circular to all district collectors, Sethi has advised them not to insist on reservation limit for gochar and communal land for creation of new revenue village out of existing mother village. However, residents of the newly carved out village will still have access to existing gochar and land community land situated in the mother village. “All communal as well as gochar lands shall be common property resources (CPR) for both the villages,” Sethi clarified. Under the existing revenue laws, there is no specific provision for reservation of land up to a particular extent for gochar and communal purpose in connection with creation of a new revenue village out of a hamlet. According to the Panchayati Raj department, there are 53,845 revenue villages in the State. CONTINUED ON: P5 The 14 parties are the Congress, DMK, Samajwadi Party, CPM, CPI, National Conference, Nationalist Congress Party Shiv , Sena, Rashtriya Janata Dal, AAP IUML, RSP KCM and VCK. , , The Trinamool Congress had to skip it because it happened at the same time Mamata had scheduled her meeting with party MPs. Mamata had a busy second day in the Capital, meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AAP founder Arvind Kejriwal to drum up support for Opposition unity For the record, . she told reporters, “I don’t want to be the face of the Opposition... not everyone has to be... I am a simple worker, want to continue as a worker. we all need to work together.” Who would eventually lead the coalition would depend on the situation, she added. “Regional parties will lead the nation, we will not bow down before anyone anymore... the time has come,” she said. As for unity in Parliament, Elamaram Kareem, CPM floor leader in Rajya Sabha, said the Opposition has taken a united stand on various issues. e x p r e ss r e a d Rakesh Jhunjhunwala plans new ultra low-cost airline New Delhi: Despite the closure of two major airlines (Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways) in the past decade, ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is planning to start a new one and is confident of receiving a no-objection certificate from the aviation ministry in the next 15 days. In an interview to Bloomberg TV, Jhunjhunwala said that he plans on having 70 aircraft within four years for the new airline which will be called Akasa Air | P10 Assam, Mizoram agree to neutral force at border New Delhi: Assam and Mizoram agreed on the deployment of a neutral paramilitary force following a meeting called by the Central government on Wednesday to resolve the border conflict that left five policemen and a civilian dead two days ago. In the meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and attended by Chief Secretaries and police heads of both the states, the Ministry told them to amicably settle the matter | P8 NATIONWIDE july 27 july 28 Fresh cases 26,689 43,654 Recoveries 42,363 41,678 Deaths 415 640 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on Wednesday Democracy is work in progress, says US in soft line on rights IN what appears to be a softening of the US’ stand on human rights issues in India, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said every democracy is a work in progress. “Both our democracies are works in progress... sometimes that process is painful. Sometimes it’s ugly. But, the strength of democracy is to embrace it. One of the elements Americans admire the most is fundamental freedom and human rights. That’s how we define India. India’s democracy is powered by free-thinking citizens,” Blinken said after his meeting with External Affairs Minister. In his response, Jaishankar said the quest for a perfect democracy applies to the US as much as it does to India. “There is a moral obligation to right historical wrongs and our policies fall in that category. Don’t equate freedoms with non-governance or lack of governance,” he added. A day before Blinken’s visit to India, a US State Department spokesperson had said the issue of human rights would be raised during his meetings with Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, prompting a response from New Delhi. “Issues such as human rights and democracy are universal and extend beyond a particular national or cultural perspective. India is proud of its achievements in both domains and is always glad to share experiences,” a government source had said. Experts, too, believe the US can’t be too critical of India on human rights. “The US will sidestep being too harsh and critical on this as is evident from Blinken’s statement. He has called democracy a work in progress. US-India relations are no longer based on a narrow interpretation of issues and socalled irritants. It is a mature and broadbased relationship,” said Indo-US relations analyst Harinder Sekhon. Sanjay Pulipaka, coordinator, East Asia Research Programme at ICRIER, is of the opinion that the US is using a two-pronged strategy “While they have been calling out . India through legislative and civil society reports, at the executive level the conversations have only been private,” he said. P7 Forest fine, tigers not, say Satkosia villagers @ Bhubaneswar In last 48 years, Odisha has managed to create just two tiger reserves (TRs). Similipal was among the first TRs to be notified in the country when Project Tiger was launched in 1973. Satkosia came up only in 2007 but its spectacular collapse of tiger population in just a decade prompted the State Government to go in for India’s first inter-state tiger reintroduction programme in 2018. However, within months of the project going on stream, it hit the roadblocks and had to be suspended. Of a pair of tigers translocated from Madhya Pradesh, the male ended up in a poacher’s snare and the aggressive female Sundari, in the enclosure. Earlier in March, the tigress was sent back home. What went wrong with the multi-crore tiger repopulation project in the State which desperately needs more big cats? There has been no or little post-mortem by the Government but a latest study tamil nadu july 27 july 28 odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 1,767 1,756 1,629 1,703 2,312 1,699 1,969 2,394 29 29 60 69 P U SH K AR B A N A K AR @ New Delhi i n t e r n a t i o n a l TI G ER D A Y E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e the attendance register, which is necessary to establish quorum. They also ensured that other members were not called in from the Opposition to get around the quorum issue by staying put at the venue until a frustrated Tharoor called it off,” sources said. Trinamool MPs allegedly shouted at the BJP saying “Gundaraj hai kya, , dadagiri hai kya?” BJP MPs, sources said, apprehended the panel could have issued directions on Pegasus, giving more teeth to the Opposition to go after the ruling NDA dispensation, hence the stalling. Coming, plan to slash the 25% vax quota for private hospitals Parties hold House strategy sessions; Didi calls on Sonia, Kejriwal R i c h a S h a r m a @ New Delhi ers, perhaps for the first time in the history of Standing Committee meetings, none of the summoned officials from the ministries of home and electronics and information technology turned up for the meeting. If an official is busy he/she is represented , by the next in hierarchy . When contacted, home ministry officers refused to reveal the reason behind their no-show. “Had the meeting taken place, the panel could have issued contempt notices to the absentee officials. This was thwarted by BJP MPs, who refused to sign finds new insights into local communities’ perspective towards the project which folded up after fac- ing resistance from local villages. Published in Frontiers in Conservation Science, the study found that only 35 per cent respondents felt it was important to conserve tigers. Women, interestingly were , more supportive than men, which was a departure from other sites. The paper assessed people’s response towards tiger translocation to Satkosia and the main drivers behind it. As part of it, 1,932 households from 43 villages located in and around the TR were CONTINUED ON: P5 interviewed. Jab-o-meter Take your shot July 27 36,87,239 doses July 28 39,42,457 doses Total doses 45,02,55,460 Su m i Suk a n ya D utta @ New Delhi In a major revision of the Covid-19 vaccination policy, the Centre is contemplating lowering the 25% vaccine quota earmarked for private hospitals, sources told TNIE. The move comes in the wake of several states, including Tamil Nadu and Odisha, asking the Centre to cut the private sector’s quota to 10%, arguing its participation in the inoculation drive has been poor. Under the existing policy vaccines are split , between government and private hospitals in a 75-25 % ratio. While beneficiaries are entitled to free vaccinations in government facilities, they have to pay pre-fixed charges at private centres. However, the pace of vaccination in private hospitals in most states, has been very slow. Since May when Covid-19 vaccination , opened for all adults, only 7% of the jabs administered had been in private hospitals. “We feel there are not many takers for Covid vaccines in private hospitals, especially in tier-2 and tier-3 cities,” a senior health ministry official said, adding that people seem to prefer to take free shots in government hospitals rather than pay high price in private hospitals. “Therefore, we are re-examining the vaccine procurement and distribution policy,” the official added. Girdhar Gyani, director-general, the Association of Private Healthcare Providers of India, listed three reasons for low uptake in private hospitals. He said vaccine availability is low in smaller hospitals due to a condition set by Covishield maker Serum Institute to pre-book at least 3,000 doses in one go. Vaccine hesitancy in 25-30% population and a lack of coordination on part of several states in vaccine procurement for hospitals are the other reasons, he added.
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