BHUBANESWAR l tuesday l april 06, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION Fight against maoists will be intensified, says Shah Union Home minister Amit Shah reached Chhattisgarh on Monday and visited the 31 jawans injured in Bijapur ambush fight has reached a decisive turn attack indicates rebels’ desperation Shah also chaired a high-level meeting at Jagdalpur on the Left Wing Extremism situation. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, senior officials of the state police and the CRPF were present in the meeting. Later, he said the assault has brought the fight to a decisive turn. After paying homage to the 22 fallen personnel, he said their sacrifices will never be forgotten | P8 ■ ■ Shah said the assault indicated the desperation of the rebels in the face of security forces making inroads into their strongholds He said there will be no letup in the intensity of the fight, but the government will take into account the representations of tribal leaders and temper security presence with regional development 1 missing some journos informed by Maoists that the jawan is in their captivity 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 Busiest election day: 5 States go to polls Did you know? If your name is not on the voters list, there is no way you can cast your ballot But if you find that someone has already cast your vote, then ask for a ‘tender vote’ and exercise your voting right after satisfactorily establishing your identity with the presiding officer 90 voters in a booth, 171 votes cast In Assam, 171 votes were cast in a Haflong booth that had just 90 eligible voters in phase II of polling. Five poll officials suspended E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Tuesday will mark the busiest day of the election season with Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Bengal going to polls. Assam will witness the third and final phase of voting, while it’s a single-phase for Kerala, TN and Puducherry. For Bengal, it’s the 3rd of the 8th-phase voting that will end on April 29. The results will be declared on May 2. In West Bengal, 205 candidates are fighting for 31 seats. Among the prominent contestants are Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee and journalist Swapan Dasgupta. In Assam, 337 candidates are vying for 40 Assembly constituencies. The Congressled grand alliance may have an edge as most of the constituencies going to polls on Tuesday are dominated by Bengali-speaking Muslims, who are known to support the grand old party . In Kerala, 957 candidates are contesting in 140 seats. The ruling CPM-led LDF hopes to retain power by breaking the state’s famed ‘incumbency jinx’, while the Congress-led UDF is confident of winning a comfortable majority Meanwhile, the NDA . is eyeing the kingmaker position by bagging seats in double-digits. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former CM Oommen Chandy and Metro Man E Sreedharan are among the big names in the fray. Tamil Nadu is where the largest number of candidates — 3,998 — vying for 234 seats. The main fight is between the ruling AIADMKBJP alliance and the DMK-Congress coalition. In Puducherry, 324 candidates including 35 women are vying for 30 seats. P7 Odisha records highest spike in four months, test positivity rate soars to 2 per cent from 0.5 in a fortnight Govt rushes doctors to affected districts E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Odisha on Monday reported 571 new cases, the highest spike in the last four months, as the second wave becomes more marked in the State by each passing day . With the surge most prominent in the districts bordering Chhattisgarh, the State rushed 36 specialists to four worst-affected districts - Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Nuapada for augmenting healthcare system. The doctors from SCB and MKCG medical colleges have been asked to immediately join duty . Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra said districts have been directed to open separate fever clinics in all health facilities depending on the SARI/ILI caseload and deploy rapid response teams in all blocks to ensure treatment and referral as per protocol to minimise death rate. “They have also been asked to activate district control room with team of AYUSH doctors to monitor patients and ensure that the ambulance system is ready for shifting of critical patients. Some of the districts have already reopened the dedicated Covid hospitals as per the direction keeping in view the 113 Killed Middleman as Cyclone lashes Indonesia, east timor Tropical cyclone Seroja pounded Indonesia and East Timor on Monday after torrential rains triggered floods and landslides that have killed at least 113 people | P9 in Rafale deal kicks up new row M AYA N K SI N G H @ New Delhi HC orders CBI probe, Anil Deshmukh quits expectation of a free, fair, honest and impartial inquiry into such allegations which have surfaced in the public domain,” the court observed. The CBI will submit its report in 15 days. After the court order, Deshmukh rushed to meet his party president Sharad Pawar. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar joined them later. “It was decided that the Bombay High Court order is serious. Hence, it will not be right for Deshmukh to continue as home minister. Once he steps down, he can approach the Supreme Court,” a source said. It emerged that NCP Member of Parliament Supriya Sule and party’s state president Jayant Patil were not in favour of sacking Deshmukh, but Sharad Pawar overruled them to limit damage to the party’s imP8 age. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai Hours after the Bombay High Court ordered a CBI probe into the damning allegations of extortion against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the minister finally put in his papers. Till now, Deshmukh had brazened it out though he was locked in a bruising controversy, with former Mumbai Police commissioner Parambir Singh alleging the minister had set a monthly target for police officers to extort `100 crore from various businesses on his behalf. With the Bombay High Court observing that the charges against Deshmukh were serious, warranting a thorough probe, his party, the NCP, realised his continuation in the government was untenable. “There is a legitimate public The newly inducted Rafale fighter jets flew into a fresh storm with a French online journal claiming that manufacturer Dassault Aviation paid 1 million euro to an Indian middleman as gift after the `58,000 crore government-to-government deal in 2016 for 36 jets for the Indian Air Force. The suspect payment was detected by French anti-corruption agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), during audit, revealed Mediapart. It identified the recipient as Defsys Solutions, a group run by a Gupta family, including Sushen Gupta, who has been under investigation over his role in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. The report kicked up a political storm with Congress demanding a thorough probe and the BJP rejecting charges of corruption as completely baseless. AFA inspectors came across the suspect payment of 508,925 euros under the head gifts to clients, for which Dassault produced an invoice from Defsys. Mediapart, citing the AFA report, said, “This invoice, which related to 50% of the total order (1,017,850), was for the manufacture of 50 (mega sized) models of the Rafale C, with a price per unit of €20,357.” ODISHA TALLY 571 New cases 3,43,268 3,143 Total cases Active cases 3,38,150 1,922 Recovered Deaths rising infections,” he added. New cases in the State have grown by a whopping 5,610 per cent (pc) in the last one month as the daily caseload was only 10 on March 4. Of the fresh cases, 337 were in quarantine and 236 local contacts. The new cases rose by 21 pc from the previ- State SOS to Centre for supply of 15L vax doses immediately ous day’s count of 471 infections. The test positivity rate (TPR) also soared to two pc from 0.5 pc in a fortnight. Khurda district recorded the highest 96 fresh cases followed by Sundargarh (80), Nuapada (60), Bargarh (43), Jharsuguda (39), Angul (32), Cuttack (28), Kalahandi (24) and Balangir (20). Apart from Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Angul, bulk of the new infections has been detected from six districts bordering Chhattisgarh, the epicenter of coronavirus resurgence. Sundargarh, Nuapada, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Kalahandi and Balangir accounted for nearly 47 pc of the daily caseload. As the cases surged in border districts, the administration intensified surveillance and screening of people coming from the neighbouring state at all the entry points. Ganjam district administration on Monday issued additional guidelines revising the cap on the number of guests at marriage ceremonies from 200 to 100 and ordered that the hosts will have to provide packaged food instead of organising community feast at such events. The 571 new cases took the tally to 3,43,268 of which 3,38,150 have recovered and 1,922 succumbed. The active cases stand at 3,143. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar The State government on Monday sent an SOS to the Centre seeking immediate supply of adequate quantity of vaccines for ensuring smooth and unbroken inoculation drive. Citing acute shortage of Covishield in the State that has been conducting over two lakh vaccinations a day, Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra wrote to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan calling for supply of at least 15 lakh doses immediately . The State at present has a stock of around 4.87 lakh doses of which 3.5 lakh doses are Covishield and remaining 1.37 lakh Covaxin. The Union Health Ministry has, however, assured to supply only 3.5 lakh doses by Tuesday . “Though we had requested to ensure a minimum supply of 15 lakh doses of Covishield immediately in view of the surge in cases and impending heatwave, we have been assured only 3,49,130 doses on April 6 which Pipili by-poll `50L cash seized from 2 persons; BJD targets BJP E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar As campaigning for the Pipili by-poll gains momentum, police on Monday seized `50 lakh unaccounted cash from the possession of two persons, prompting the BJD to launch an attack on the BJP alleging use of money power to influence voters. Puri SP Kanwar Vishal Singh said two youths on a motorcycle were intercepted near Tarakaja in Pipili. They did not stop during checking at Pipili toll gate and attempted to speed away but were chased and caught by police at Tarakaja Square. “The two are residents of Ba- langa. They have been detained for questioning,” Singh said. The motorcycle with number OR-13-G-6672 is registered in the name of one Subash Chandra Polai. As soon as the incident came to the fore, the ruling BJD alleged that the two were associated with BJP and one was seen with party candidate Ashrit Pattanayak during campaigning for the by-poll scheduled on April 17. Photographs of BJP candidate Pattanayak with one of the youth became viral during the day . A delegation of BJD leaders approached Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SK Lohani demand- ing that police patrolling and surveillance team in the constituency should be increased to ensure that the BJP does not become successful in pumping money into the election. BJD national spokesperson Sasmit Patra alleged that due to the growing fear within the BJP of losing the by-poll, it has been pumping huge amount of money to influence the electorate. The delegation demanded that the source of the illegal money should be investigated and strong action taken against the guilty “The people of Pipili . are conscious and enlightened citizens, they will defeat such attempts by the BJP he added. ,” Civil Supplies office, coaching centre sealed Bhubaneswar: The BMC on Monday sealed the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation office at Nayapalli after six of its employees tested positive for the virus. Happy Classes, a private coaching centre at Jaydev Vihar was also sealed for violation of Covid-19 guidelines | P3 NTPC urged to restart closed TTPS units manning the gates Police officers patrol the deserted Gateway of India as all public spaces were closed due to surge in COVID-19 cases, in Mumbai | PTI Chhattisgarh needs to look no farther than Odisha As Chhattisgarh recovers from the shocking Maoist ambush on security forces that claimed 22 lives, Odisha has raised its guard. Anticipating a strong counter-assault from the neighbouring state against the Red rebels, Odisha Police is watching the borders of five districts carefully so as not to allow any infiltration. However, it will stick to its gold standard operational strategy which has fetched it huge success over the last one decade. As debate begins over what went wrong in Chhattisgarh once again, the neighbouring state could do well to look no farther. One of the crucial reasons behind Odisha Police success against LWE has been a clear strategy – strong intelligence set-up and ground operations. Odisha created its anti-Naxal force Special Operations Group (SOG) modelling on Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhounds, besides setting up Special Intelligence Wing (SIW), a dedicated intelligence apparatus, after it suffered some of the worst at the hands of Maoists in the 1990s and 2000s. In fact, 2008 was the lowest in Odisha’s fight against Naxals. Am- However, Pattanayak refuted the allegations and said that no BJP leader was involved in the incident. The incident comes after pre-poll violence was reported in Sahajapur gram panchayat and a BJP worker lodged a police complaint alleging that some BJD members manhandled him and damaged his twowheeler on April 2. Meanwhile, BJD poll observer for the bypoll, Pratap Keshari Deb announced that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will campaign for the party candidate Rudra Pratap Maharathy . He, however, said that the date and mode of campaign by the Chief Minister are yet to be worked out. express read War against Maoists s i b a m o han t y @ Bhubaneswar will not be sufficient for two days,” Mohapatra pointed out. Mohapatra in his letter also highlighted that Odisha has been saving vaccines as the wastage rate has been minus 0.5 per cent which is amongst the lowest in the county Earlier, re. sponding to the request from the State government, the Union Health Secretary had made it clear that there will be no shortage of vaccines as the Centre is monitoring the usage and stock. According to the Health de par tment, a total 2,63,041 beneficiaries of different categories were administered vaccines at 1,472 session sites on Monday. A total of 35,67,810 beneficiaries in the State have been inoculated so far. The department has also revised the vaccination timing in the State in view of the heatwave conditions. Eligible beneficiaries can now get the jab from 8 am to 12 noon and 3 pm to 6 pm. Mohapatra has directed collectors, municipal commissioners and CDMOs to make arrangements accordingly . bush of 36 members of Greyhounds in Chitrakonda reservoir and massacre of 13 policemen in Nayagarh was followed by murder of Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati which triggered one of the worst communal riots in the State. Since then, Odisha has counted its losses and turned over the pages. It invested heav- ily in SIW which remains its bulwark against the Maoists. The wing created a roadmap for the SOG to take the battle to the rebel camp. The State Police has used the Maoist strategy against the Maoists – acting on ground intelligence and used small operational units. “Most of the operational units have only 30 members. Against the guerillas, we have used their tactics by mo- bilizing smaller units which help us adapt, attack and escape when required,” said a senior police officer familiar with the strategy . Chhattisgarh, on the other hand, has paid heavily for mobilizing big tactical offensive units. The Bijapur ambush saw over 1,600 security personnel in the operation. Individual units had at least 100 members. CONTINUED ON: P5 Bhubaneswar: Yet to get a firm commitment from the Centre on execution of the Stage-III project of Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS), the State government once again requested the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for recommissioning of the closed units | P3 Centre flags land issues in gas pipeline projects Bhubaneswar: Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary Tarun Kapoor on Monday flagged land issues pertaining to oil and gas industry projects including the city gas distribution plan in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack with the State government | P2
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