FRIDAY No dust & noise, directs Speaker 22 LOK SABHA SPEAKER OM BIRLA INSPECTED THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE UPCOMING BUDGET SESSION ON THURSDAY JANUARY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard COWIN REJIG Birla directed officials to install smog towers and necessary equipment for checking air and noise pollution in Parliament complex MOVE TO ADDRESS LOW TURNOUT To improve vaccination coverage, non-allocated HWCs allowed to take jab A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 He directed agencies to adhere to pollution control and green building norms and ensure that the construction did not hamper the smooth running of parliamentary business A modified parking plan has been put in place for MPs in view of the construction of the new Parliament building. Birla directed that MPs should be informed on WhatsApp and also telephonically about these and about vehicular movement in and around Parliament House Complex well in advance. The ‘Nays’ have it! Farmers reject govt offer to suspend agri laws Small unions in favour, but majority against withdrawing agitation at a time it’s peaking EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Chandigarh Workers wearing protective gear walk after a fire broke out at Serum Institute’s plant at Manjri near Pune on Thursday | PTI Five dead in blaze at Serum plant, no impact on Covishield production S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai FIVE persons — four men and one woman — were charred to death after a fire broke out at Serum Institute of India’s plant at Manjri in Pune on Thursday afternoon. The blaze occurred at an under-construction building and all the dead were construction workers. Nine people were evacuated from the spot. According to a labourer who was working in the building at the time of incident, the mishap happened due to sparks welding works on the sixth floor. However, officials said the cause is yet to be ascertained. “We will carry out further investigation and ascertain the cause of the fire,” said Pune Fire Brigade chief Prashant Ranpise. Initially, it was said there was no human loss. The reason behind it was that all SII employees were safe. However, on last two floors, some contractual workers were working Ajit Pawar, Deputy CM The Manjari facility is where the Covishield vaccines are made and the PM had visited. However, the building where fire broke out is around 1 km away from the Covishield vaccine manufacturing unit. Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla said Covishield vaccine production will not be hit due to the fire incident. It took over two hours for the fire brigade to put out the blaze, which broke out around 2:45 pm on the fourth and fifth floors of the building. It is believed sparks from the sixth floor immediately spread to the fifth and fourth floors due to presence of combustible materials. Clarifying that the fire broke out in the BCG vaccine section, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “According to preliminary information, the fire occurred due to an electric fault during the on-going construction works. But people should not jump to conclusions. The probe will reveal all details.” Serum Institute chairman Cyrus Poonawalla said that the company will give `25 lakh compensation to the families of each of the five persons who P8 died in the fire. THE MAGICAL JOURNEY CONTINUES... Members of the Indian team reached their respective hometowns after that rousing win over the hosts in Brisbane. While captain Ajinkya Rahane and a few of his teammates reached Mumbai in the afternoon, the likes of Mohammed Siraj and T Natarajan reached Hyderabad and Salem, respectively. It was no surprise to see scores of fans garlanding them upon their arrival. All of them had been away from India for the last five months... THE government’s hopes of ending the deadlock over the farm laws before Republic Day were dashed on Thursday with the farmers unions rejecting the proposal to suspend the laws for two years or more and forming a joint committee to examine the entire gamut of the issues. In a statement issued after two rounds of meetings, the first among the 32 Punjab unions followed by all the organizations under the Samyukt Kisan Morcha banner, the farmers said “the proposal put forth by the government yesterday was rejected.” “A full repeal of (the) three central farm laws and enacting a legislation for remunerative MSP for all farmers were reiterated as the pending demands of the movement,” the morcha said. But sources said the decision to reject the government’s offer was not unanimous with some smaller unions, who were in a minority, in favour of accepting the proposal but with several conditions while the bigger ones, mainly from Punjab, firm on continuing with the agitation. The sources said the majority view to reject the proposal was mainly two-fold. First, the protest was peaking and if they withdrew at this point, they may not be able to build up another movement in the future for a repeal of the laws in case the proposed committee rejects this demand. Second, 143 farmers had died during the agitation and if they accepted the offer without the government repealing the laws their sacrifice would have gone in vain. The split in opinion led to some heated exchanges during the meeting, the sources said, forcing a vote over the issue. “The consensus was that we should stick to our stand of repealing the farm laws and nothing else. Voting took place in the meeting of all the 40 unions in which most voted for rejecting the offer,” a leader said. Joginder Singh Ugrahan, the leader of the largest union, said, “We want the government to enact a legislation for remunerative MSP and also a law with the provision that the government procures these crops at MSP as it has been doing to date.” “The Punjab unions decided to reject the Centre’s proposal. They informed this at the joint meeting. There was a feeling that 143 farmers have given their lives and there is no point in settling for anything less than a repeal,” said All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah The morcha paid homage to the farmers who have died in the movement so far. “These companions are separated from us while fighting this mass movement. Their sacrifice will not go in vain and we will not go back without the repealing of these farm laws,” it said. Meanwhile, with farmers staying firm on holding the tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day the Haryana Police has , decided to cancel the leave of its personnel till further orders. Hundreds of tractors from Punjab and Haryana are expected to move to Delhi for the rally . PARVEEN NEGI Tomar meets Amit Shah After the farmers rejected the govt offer, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on met Home Minister Amit Shah. The rejection comes a day before next round of talks The Congress said this rejection of the government’s “lollipop” signals “awakening” of farmers. Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Stop the daily ‘jumlas’ and atrocities, just repeal the antiagriculture laws.” We unanimously rejected the offer. We want that besides repeaing the farm laws, the government should enact a legislation for remunerative MSP and the procurement of produce Joginder Singh Ugrahan, BKU (Ugrahan) head A few unions were in favour of the proposal, but they had to relent. It was a tactical move by the govt to break the agitation Balbir Singh Rajewal , BKU (Rajewal) Farmers say no to cops’ tractor rally alternative H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh THERE seems to be no headway in the talks between farmers and Delhi Police over the tractor parade in the capital on Republic Day . A third meeting on Thursday turned out to be inconclusive, with the farmers rejecting an alternative suggested by the police. Farmers are adamant that the rally will be held on Outer Ring Road. They are expecting thousands of tractors from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Police are firm this should not happen. Sources said the farmer unions have rejected a suggestion to hold the rally on the KundliManesar-Palwal Expressway The meeting co. ordinated by Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range), SS Yadav, was held at Mantram Resort near Singhu border. After the meeting, BKU (Rajewal Group) president B S Rajewal said: “Delhi Police is firm that farmers should not hold any tractor parade on Outer Ring Road but we are also firm that there is no other alternative. The march will be taken out on that road only .” Over the last two days, farmer leaders and police officials of Delhi, Haryana and UP have been holding talks. When contacted, Joint CP Yadav said, “Discussions are going on. We will talk tomorrow also, depending upon the availability on both sides. Let the discussion conclude. Before that, I can’t comment or conclude anything.” Biden signs 17 orders, reversing Trump’s policies Hours after his inauguration, US President Joe Biden signed 17 executive actions, reversing some of the key foreign policies and national security decisions of Donald Trump ENDING RACIAL DISCRIMINATION TACKLING PANDEMIC Jeffrey D Zients appointed as the official Covid-19 response coordinator who will report directly to the President US’ ties with WHO restored. Dr Anthony S Fauci will head US delegation to WHO’s executive board The new president restored the National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which Trump had disbanded Biden also launched a ‘100-day masking challenge’ I’m not joking when I say this: If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands or buts —President Biden’s warning to his political appointees IMMIGRATION PIC: U RAKESH KUMAR BIG CROWD FOR NATTU IN CHINNAPPAMPATTI The southpaw was given a welcome befitting a king as he was taken on a chariot before he reached his home in Salem district. The 29-yearold, who debuted in all three forms in Australia, took in the adulation by waving to his fans. TESTING STATUS 51,404 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted 30,146 Rapid antigen tests 1,01,40,743 Total tests done so far 5,33,723 Tests per million DELHI COVID WATCH EMOTIONAL SIRAJ VISITS DAD’S RESTING PLACE The first thing Mohammed Siraj did upon landing was to pay respects to his father, who had passed away when he was in Australia. After going home, he addressed a press conference, where he dedicated his performance to his dad | P11 STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 246 6,20,374 DEATH 08 10,782 ACTIVE CASES -2,120 TOTAL +VE CASES 227 6,33,276 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 9,103 1,004 8,099 CARE CENTRE 7,392 20 7,223* HEALTH CENTRE 307 05 302 916 HOME ISOLATION *149 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights 2,107 TOTAL NO. OF CONTAINMENT ZONES AS ON DATE 1,578 TOTAL NO. OF CALLS DISPATCHED TO AMBULANCES S O U R C E : D E L H I H E A LT H B U L L E T I N | JA N UA RY 2 1 2 0 2 1 Directed to fortify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, which provides temporary relief from deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children The order also calls on Congress to enact legislation providing permanent status and a path to citizenship for these immigrants Ended the so-called Muslim ban, which blocked travel from several predominantly Muslim and African countries to the US Construction of border wall with Mexico halted | P9 CLIMATE CHANGE Shot off a letter to the UN that will pave the way for the US to reenter the Paris climate accord, which it will officially rejoin 30 days from now In 2019, the US had withdrawn from the coalition under Trump Revoked Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, which recently released a report allegedly distorting the role of slavery in the US Directed federal agencies to report on equity in their ranks in 200 days Ordered agencies to ensure Americans of all backgrounds have equal access to govt resources, benefits and services SENSEX BREACHES 50,000 World stocks racked up record highs on Thursday on the back of expectations of a major stimulus from Biden. The Sensex also breached 50,000 for the first time. It, however, closed 167 points lower at 49,624.76 | P10 Lynching of irresponsible leaders won’t surprise: HC EX P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi EXPRESSING ‘disgust’ with the way political leaders were indulging in blame game over non-payment of salaries to municipal corporation employees, the Delhi High Court on Thursday took both Delhi government and the three MCDs to the cleaners. A two-judge bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said it won’t be surprised if such politicians were “lynched by the public”. “People are making all kinds of irresponsible statements and all kinds of actions are being taken just for personal interests and further their political agenda,” the bench said. Noting that the slugfest was a result of the Delhi government and the MCDs being run by opposite political parties, the bench said, “Tell your political leaders they have to mature and rise above all this. If things don’t change and go on like this, we will not be surprised if the political leaders and people who indulge in this are lynched by the public at large.” The court came down heavily on the Delhi government for the adjustment of outstanding loans undertaken by Delhi government during the pandemic against the funds which were to be released to the municipal corporations and ordered it to transfer back the funds to the corporation within two weeks. Justice Sanghi said, “I can’t tell how disgusted we are with all of you (Delhi government and municipal corporations)... We are ashamed of you and your leaders...You are fighting like cats and dogs.” Questioning the Delhi government for spending on advertisements during the Covid-19 pandemic instead of releasing money for payment to staff, “How much you have sent on advertisements during the pandemic, we want to know. We will order an inquiry and order by the CAG. You were giving a daily half page and full page in every other newspaper. You have money for these advertisements,” it said. EXPRESS READ Clash at BJP office in West Bengal Two groups of people clashed at the BJP’s East Bardhaman district party office in Bengal on Thursday. Members of the two groups hurled stones at each other and torched vehicles parked nearby. Shahnawaz elected to Bihar Council BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain and minister Mukesh Sahni were on Thursday declared elected unopposed to the Bihar legislative council. Hussain may get a key ministry in the state cabinet. 181 more birds dead in Rajasthan At least 181 more birds were found dead on Thursday in Rajasthan where 17 districts have reported cases of avian influenza, according to a bulletin. A total of 6,903 birds have died in the state. HOUSE FOR SLUM DWELLERS Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday directed officials to ‘expeditiously’ allot flats to people living in the city’s identified jhuggi jhopri clusters. FULL REPORT ON: P4
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