FREE PRESS Regd. No. Indore MP/ICD 216/2021-2023 INDORE BHOPAL UJJAIN MUMBAI - PUNE ‘DESPERADO’ DIDI VOL. NO. 285 | BHOPAL | FRIDAY | APRIL 2, 2021 | PAGES 12 WWW.FREEPRESSJOURNAL.IN FOR 24X7 UPDATES EDIT A CONTEST UNLIKE ANY BEFORE IN NANDIGRAM & W. BENGAL Pg- 6 MY BIGGEST LEARNING HAS BEEN TO KEEP LEARNING!: RANI MUKERJI Pg-12 DIALS GUV, alleges TMC supporters OVER 80% voter turnout, violence mars second phase of polling not being allowed to cast vote MAMATA ALLEGES Central forces helping BJP at Shah's behest T NANDIGRAM/ KOLKATA A large voter turnout of more than 80 per cent despite sporadic incidents of violence and allegations of vote fraud on Thursday marked the second phase of West Bengal assembly polls. West Bengal Mamata Minister Chief Banerjee also accused central forces deployed in Nandigram constituency, where she is locked in battle with her former lieutenant, Suvendu Adhikari now with the BJP, of helping the saffron party under instructions from Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Allegations of booth capturing and partisan behaviour prompted the EC to seek a report on an incident in Boyal village where the feisty TMC boss stayed put for more than two hours outside a polling booth following a siege of sorts by BJP supporters. Banerjee slammed the EC for not taking any action despite lodging 63 complaints and threatened to move court over it. Amongst the complaints were allegations of "booth capturing" and "massive fake voting" in Boyal. The area saw a face-off between TMC and BJP supporters who gave vent at each other with slogans of "Khela Hobe" and "Jai Shri Ram". Stones were hurled and abuses traded, prompting the `3 RNI No. mpeng/2010/35815 No disruption at booth no 7 in Nandigram: EC he EC cited report of its general observer to say voting was not disrupted at any moment at polling station number 7 in Nandigram, from where Banerjee is contesting. In a statement, the EC said "many sections of media have been covering the incident of alleged gherao of CM and crowding at Polling Station No. 7 at 210 Nandigram AC (assembly constituency) today that inter alia resulted in disruption of poll process". It said general observer Hemen Das, an IAS officer, and police observer Ashutosh Roy (IPS) were asked to go to the Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee talks to reporters outside her residence in Nandigram, then reaches polling station at Boyal stays there for more spot immediately. The panel said than an hour flouting model code of conduct and disrupting polling. She dials governor from the polling station accusing Central forces of not allowing the general observer's report was received at 4.06 pm. her supporters to cast vote and then leaves amid protest by voters PM’s jibe: Contesting another seat, Didi? rime Minister Narendra Modi Psaid CM Mamata Banerjee was nervous about losing in Nandigram and suggested that she was desperate enough to consider a second constituency. "Didi, is there any truth in the rumour that you are going to file your nomination from another constituency? First you went there (Nandigram) and people gave you an answer. If you go somewhere else, people are ready to give you the right answer," said Modi Mamata threatens to move court Despite sporadic violence and accusations of vote fraud in Nandigram, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said she was confident of victory from the constituency where she had one-and-half decade ago led a farmers' movement against a chemical hub planned by the then Left front Government. The chief minister however said she is worried about the fate of democracy given the use of money and muscle power. 2nd phase polls: 73.03% turnout in Assam Assam recorded a voter turnout of 73.03% on Thursday. The second phase of polls was held peacefully. "The voter turnout reported by 5 pm from the 39 assembly constituencies of phase 2 in Assam is 73.03 per cent. In Assam, 10819 ballot units, 10592 control units and as many VVPATs were used. One control unit, at least one ballot unit and one VVPAT makes up for one EVM. TWO DEATHS IN COVID WARD OF JP HOSPITAL 'RAAG KENO DIDI' T-SHIRTS GO TRENDY IN BENGAL Setting the poll fever high, the BJP supporters were wearing T-shirts with slogan 'Raag Keno Didi' (Why are you angry, Didi?) in Howrah's Uluberia where PM Narendra Modi had addressed a rally on Thursday. 'Raag Keno Didi' is the reflection of BJP-TMC power tussle that has got its place on people's outfit in poll-bound West Bengal. administration to rush a police contingent to the spot. Banerjee also rang up the Governor Bengal West Jagdeep Dhankhar to complain about the situation. Despite the violence and accusations of vote fraud in Nandigram, the TMC supremo said she was confident of victory . from the constituency "I am not worried about Nandigram, I am confident of . victory (But) I am worried ," about democracy Banerjee said as she showed the 'V' for victory sign to a gaggle of press photographers. The TMC boss claimed she would win a majority of the 60 seats that had gone to polls in the first and second phase. CONTD. ON P8 Quality at Value WEATHER 37.90c. 21.60c Sunrise : 06.18 Sunset : 06.42 THOUGHT FOR THE DAY He who is free from ego never feels humiliated. Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai CHUNOW: WHOSE TURN IS IT? ROBIN ROY S ince 2007, Nandigram has been . creating history And April 1, 2021 was no exception. Even as Nandigram broke from its slumber to vote (for a poriborton?) and media of the entire nation was stationed there, Chief Minister Mamata bowled a fast one on a highly turning track. Around 2 pm when Mamata wheelchaired her way to the polling booth at Boyal primary school, she scripted history and also reportedly broke the Model Code of Conduct set by the Election Commission as she became the first Chief Minister and a poll candidate to have entered a booth and was stationed there for more than 2 hours. The EC's MCC rule number V says, "Excepting the voters, no one without a valid pass from the Election Commission shall enter the polling booth. Candidates can visit the 'premises' of a booth." Her reported violation of the MCC rules, shows the desperation of a chief minister who is trying her luck at the hustings for the third time in a row. It may be recalled that she was catapulted to power following the "mishandling" of Nandigram affairs by the CPM and the subsequent firing. According to political grapevine, it is also being whispered that Mamata might try her luck from . Rashbehari constituency On January 18, 2021 she had announced that she would fight from Nandigram and not Bhawanipur leading to rumours that the voters of Bhawanipur would have rejected her this time following her appeasement politics. Will Mamata's act of desperation leave a lasting impression on the voters of the remaining phases and will this have a huge impact on the final outcome? Did she get it wrong by visiting booth and creating "ruckus" and violating the MCC? Will her act send out a message that the CM is on a sticky wicket? CONTD. ON P8 Family alleges oxygen Hike in civic charges suspended CORONA REPORT: supply disruption, across MP after Indore roars 2,546 test positive, BUT NO ROLL BACK for increase in property tax 12 deaths in state hospital denies News Brief PAK CABINET ‘NO’ TO IMPORTS In a volte-face, Pakistan's Cabinet on Thursday rejected a proposal of its Economic Coordination Committee to import cotton and sugar from India. "The Cabinet stated clearly: NO trade with India," Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari sai.d DELHI-MEERUT IN 45 MINUTES Delhi-Meerut Expressway has finally opened for public. It will reduce travel time between the two cities from three hours to just 45 minutes. It was declared operational by Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari. On the expressway, the speed limit for cars has been set at 100 kmph. OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL Two deaths were reported in Covid ward of JP Hospital on Wednesday night owing to alleged disruption in . oxygen supply A video of JP Hospital staff talking about disruption in oxygen supply too has gone viral. The video is of March 29, genuineness of which is yet to be ascertained. However, hospital administration denied any disruption. Terming family members' allegation baseless, it said that the hospital had sufficient supply of oxygen. V C patient First Meshram was admitted on March 28 while second patient Ramrati was admitted just a couple of days ago. They both died on Wednesday night. Sunil Maurya of Bhanpur (Bhopal) had admitted his mother to JP Hospital. He alleged that she was diagnosed with corona infection and admitted to Covid ward without any check-up or testing. After serving meal to mother, he slept outside the hospital. Her deteriorated condition around 6pm and he purchased three injections worth Rs 4,000 each. Sunil Maurya accused JP Hospital administration of negligence and lack of proper monitoring in the ward. Initially the body was handed over to him but following police intervention, hospital took possession of the body as Covid patient's body is not handed over to the family member. Meshram was suffering from lung infection. He was diabetic too and could not be referred to Hamidia Hospital owing to non availability of bed. He was on ventilator in JP Hospital. JP Hospital civil surgeon Dr Rakesh Shrivastava denied oxygen disruption causing deaths. CONTD. ON P8 OUR STAFF REPORTER Indore Following a huge public pressure mounted by Indore residents, the state government on Thursday suspended hike in municipal taxes across the state two days after Indore Municipal Corporation announced the new tax regime amidst growing Covid-19 cases. "Respecting the sentiments of Indoreans, the state government has suspended hike in all types of taxes and users charges," water resource minister Tulsiram Silawat told reporters in the afternoon here. In the evening, the order was released but it only had mention of suspension of taxes imposed citing MP (Consumer Municipality , Charges for Water Supply Sewerage and Solid Waste Services) Management Rules 2020. The order did not mention about Madhya Pradesh Municipality (Determination of taxable property value of building/land) OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL Water resource minister Tulsiram Silawat announcing suspension of hike in municipal charges at a press conference in Indore on Thursday PROPERTY TAX RECOVERY AS PER NEW REGIME Citing Madhya Pradesh Municipality (Determination of Taxable Property Value of Buildings and Lands) Rules, 2020, IMC also linked determination of taxable property value on the basis of percentage of difference received in the prevailing collector guidelines. Four slabs have been made for it. No tax up to Rs 6000, six per cent tax on taxable property value between Rs 6001 and 36000, 8 per cent on taxable property value between Rs 36001 and 60000 and 10 per cent on taxable property value between Rs 60001 and above. IMC additional municipal commissioner SK Chaitanya said that the order issued by the government is silent on property tax. "We will recover property tax as per new tax regime," he added. Rules, 2020 which means the new tax regime on property will remain in force. While the city is reeling under severe Covid-19 wave, Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) on Tuesday doubled water and garbage tax and rolled out new charges for sewerage. Besides, it made provision for collection of property tax as the collector's guidelines. Madhya Pradesh on Thursday reported 2,546 new Covid-19 cases pushing the tally to 2,98,057. The state also reported 12 deaths taking the toll to 3,998. The corona positivity rate in state is at 9.9 per cent. The active cases also rose to 18,057. At least 25,656 samples sent for testing and 436 samples were rejected. Indore reported 638 corona cases and its total tally rose to 70,309 and death toll to 962 while Bhopal’s tally also rose to 51,950 and toll to 633. Jabalpur and Gwalior reported 170 and 107 corona . cases, respectively Ujjain reported 86 corona cases with 776 active cases while Khargone reported 77 corona cases with active cases went to 437 and Sagar reported 330 active cases with 34 corona cases. Betul reported 67 corona cases with 506 active cases. Chhindwara reported 307 active cases with 40 corona 528 cases in Bhopal on Thursday cases. Narsingpur reported 39 corona cases with 244 active cases. Vidisha reported 43 corona cases with 244 active cases. Barwani reported 46 corona cases with 288 active cases. Shajapur reported 210 active cases with 34 corona cases while Buranpur reported 156 active cases with 21 corona cases. Raisen, and Katni reported 161 active cases each while Rajgarh reported 154 active , cases. Similarly Mandsaur, and Sehore Shahdol, Damoh reported 158, 110, . 193 and 116 respectively Mandla reported 20 corona cases with 48 active cases. Morena has no corona case . with 26 active cases only Chhattarpur and Anuppur reported 34 and 45 active cases. JOE BIDEN Poll season Phalke TRUMP ERAREVERSES Rate cut on small savings, Amid raging fire, carcass of H-1B BAN pickings for Rajini I PF: Oversight or hindsight? tigress found in Bandhavgarh OFFICIALS BLAME FP NEW SERVICE Chennai Rajinikanth, Superstar Tamil filmdom’s reigning demigod, was on Thursday chosen for this year’s Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest recognition in the world of cinema in India. “Popular across generations, a body of work few can boast of, diverse roles and an endearing personal@raShri ity…that’s jinikanth Ji for you. It is a matter of immense joy that Thalaiva has been conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Congratulations to him,” tweeted PM Modi. Thanking everyone, Rajinikanth gratefully acknowledged the role of Raj Bagathur, the driver of the bus in Bengaluru in which the actor was a conductor, his elder brother Sathyanarayanan and ace film director K Balachandar (the last Dadasaheb Phalke recipient from Tamil Nadu), in his transition to the silver screen. CONTD. ON P8 n a move that can may bring cheer to Indian IT professionals, US President Joe Biden has allowed the Trump-era ban on foreign workers, particularly , H-1B category to lapse without extending it further. In June last year, amid the nationwide lockdown in the US and the global pandemic, the then US President Donald Trump ordered a ban on entry of applicants in several temporary or ‘non-immigrant’ categories. These included those holding the H1B visa which is popular among Indians. Back then, the Trump administration had argued that these visas presented a risk to the US labour market during the . economic recovery CONTD. ON P8 FP NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI The government on Thursday rolled back small savings interest rate cuts within hours of a notification, attributing it to a mystifying ‘oversight.’ The steep cuts in % rates on schemes ranging from the NSC and Public Provident Fund would have hurt millions of middle class depositors. The cuts would have impacted schemes for the girl child and the elderly . But coming on the eve of the Nandigram elections, which could be a defining moment for the realignment of political forces, the an- nouncement could have swayed the fickle minded voters who are not too ideologically inclined. Rates of small savings schemes are linked to government bond yields, explain sources in the ministry According to them, . small savings have become key to financing the government deficit, which has widened because of the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the need for borrowings. “Interest rates of small savings schemes shall continue to be at the rates which existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021, that is, rates that prevailed as of March 2021. CONTD. ON P8 it on mating fight, locals blame fire OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL Recovery of a 13-year-old tigress's carcass in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve amidst fire in forest has raised questions over tiger reserve officials. While forest officials attribute death to mating fight, locals blame it on forest fire. The carcass was found on March 30 night in Magadhi range of Rohania beat. Post- mortem was conducted on March 31 after which it was disposed as per NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) protocols. The spot where the carcass was found was thoroughly checked. Even a sniffer dog was deployed. A male tiger was spotted close . by Footprints of the tiger were also present near the spot, said field director Vincent Rahim. The tigress had injury marks over neck and shoulder areas which were observed by the vet Nitin Gupta. It is highly likely that she lost her life during mating fight, he added. Field director also rub- bished locals' claim that tigress lost life because of fire raging in the forest for the past three days. However, locals residing in nearby villages insisted that the tigress died because of fire. The fire had reached a few core areas of the forest, claimed locals. Fire broke out in Magadhi, Panpatha and Pataur ranges of Bandhavgarh tiger reserve three days back. After forest officials failed to control the fire, it spread to other areas as well. An enquiry has been constituted to fix the accountability, as to why the fire could not be controlled.