FREE PRESS FP The publishers permit sharing of the e-paper's pdf on WhatsApp and other social media platforms VOL. XXXVIII NO. 181 | INDORE | TUESDAY | DECEMBER 7, 2021 | PAGES 14 - Regd. No. Indore MP/ICD 216/2021-2023; EDITIONS: INDORE, BHOPAL, UJJAIN, MUMBAI, PUNE 3rd Covid wave may peak in India by Feb EDIT WWW.FREEPRESSJOURNAL.IN FOR 24X7 UPDATES BUT CASES MAY be milder than in the second wave India's Omicron tally reaches 23 Two more cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been reported in Mumbai on Monday, taking the tally of new COVID-19 variant in the country to 23. AGENCIES MUMBAI News Brief Sensex slumps 949 pts; investors lose Rs 4.29L cr MUMBAI: Equity indices spiralled lower on Monday as the spread of the Omicron variant in the country spooked investors and triggered an across-the-board sell-off. A plunging rupee and continued selling by FII added to the woes, traders said. Extending its losing streak, the 30-share BSE Sensex crashed 949.32 points or 1.65% to close at 56,747.14, an over threemonth low. On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty slumped 284.45 points or 1.65 per cent to 16,912.25. Mandaviya assures early hearing on NEET-PG, 2021 NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday met the protesting doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in the national capital. The resident doctors of five hospitals in Delhi are protesting against delay in the National Eligibility-cumEntrance Test (NEET)-PG 21. Over 55% Jan Dhan a/c holders women NEW DELHI Of the nearly 44 crore Jan Dhan bank account holders in the country, more than 55% are women account holders, the Finance Ministry said. There are as many as 43.90 crore beneficiaries of the PMJDY account holders in the country as of November 17, 2021, MoS for Finance Bhagwat Karad said in the Lok Sabha. Suu Kyi could spend life in jail NAY PY TAW: Aung San Suu Kyi, the former de facto leader of Myanmar who was ousted during the February 1 military coup, was on Monday sentenced to four years in prison after she was "found guilty on charges of inciting dissent and breaking Covid rules under a natural disasters law". 3 farmers killed in MP road accident BHIKANGAON: Three farmers were killed and five injured after a truck in which they were travelling overturned in Khargone district, the police said on Monday. The deceased were identified as Sunil Mehtab, 25; his cousin, Sunil Nahal, 24; and their brother-in-law, Jaipal Jamre, 26, the police said. The accident took place on Sunday night Eight test Covid positive in city INDORE: As many as 8 fresh cases were found out of 3,048 samples tested on Monday. Rate of positive patients was recorded at 0.26%. Total number of positive patients reached 153380. No death was reported on Monday. As many as 43 patients are undergoing treatment in various hospitals of the city. Total 151944 patients have been discharged so far with five patients discharged on Monday. With Omicron, the new variant of SARS-CoV2, the third wave of coronavirus could hit the peak by February with cases likely to be reaching up to 1-1.5 lakh a day in the country, but it will be milder than the second wave, Manindra Agarwal, IIT scientist involved in the mathematical projection of trajectory of Covid-19, said. He said in the new forecast, the new Omicron variant has been factored in. "With the new variant, our current forecast is that the country could see the third wave by February but it will be milder than the second wave. So far we THIRD TIME LUCKY, KAPIL? Pg-14 TURNING A NELSON'S EYE TO GROUND REALITIES Pg- 8 Give booster doses, IMA tells govt IMA urged the government to announce "additional" doses of Covid vaccine for healthcare, frontline workers and immunocompromised individuals amid concerns over Omicron surveillance stepped up at MP borders The MP government has increased the watch at the state's borders and is taking various precautionary measures in the wake of cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 found in neighbouring states, Home Minister Narottam Mishra said. Samples of 246 foreign returnees to be tested Amid the Omicron threat, 246 samples of returnees from atrisk countries in Odisha were sent to the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, for genome sequencing, an official said on Monday. According to sources, over 800 persons returned to the state from foreign countries since the detection of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. India, Russia to expand ties in dealing with challenges of terrorism, Afghan AK-203 RIFLE DEAL among 28 pacts that were inked NEW DELHI: India and Russia on Monday vowed to ramp up cooperation in confronting major challenges such as terrorism, radicalism and the situation in Afghanistan during a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin as the two countries inked 28 pacts, including a major agreement for joint production of over six lakh AK-203 rifles in a facility in Uttar Pradesh. During their "highly productive" in-person meeting, Putin described India as a "great power" and a "time-tested" friend and said both countries will continue to coordinate in fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. According to a joint statement, Modi and Putin emphasised that Afghanistan's territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba, ISIS and Al Qaeda, besides condemning cross-border movement of terrorists, seen as a clear reference to Pakistan. PM Modi receiving Russian President Vladimir Putin at Hyderabad House in New Delhi It said the two sides reaffirmed their firm commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and to ensure that Afghanistan would never become a safe haven for global terrorism. CONTD. ON P6 have seen that the severity of Omicron is not like the one seen in the Delta variant," Agarwal told PTI. He, however, said a close eye is being kept on cases in South Africa where many cases of this variant have been recorded. Agarwal added that as of now South Africa has not seen a rise in hospitalisation. He said a fresh set of data on the virus and hospitalisations would help in getting a more solid picture. "It looks like although the new variant has shown high , transmissibility its severity is not like the one seen in the Delta variant," Agarwal said. He said as observed during the spread of delta, a mild lockdown (night curfew, restrictions on crowding) can bring down beta . substantially That will significantly reduce the peak value, he added. CONTD. ON P6 but no charge sheet' NEW DELHI The Supreme Court Monday allowed Mumbai Police to carry on the investigation against former police commissioner Param Bir Singh but restrained it from filing charge sheets on the FIRs against him over the allegations of misconduct and corruption. A bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh also directed the CBI to file its response on the issue whether the probe should be handed over to it. The top court said it was only concerned with the “likelihood of bias”. SG Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said FIRs should also be entrusted to the CBI and he will file an affidavit regarding the same. Advocate Kambatta, appearing for Maharashtra, said Singh's petition was a service dispute against departmental enquiries, which should be contested before the CAT. The alleged conversion of eight students of St Joseph School took a new turn on Monday when the members of the Hindu outfits laid siege to the institution and reportedly damaged its properties. They were protesting against alleged religious conversion of eight students of the school. The members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Manch and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad raised slogans against the school management. They also handed over a memorandum to the sub-divisional magistrate. In the memorandum, addressed to the CM , they said that eight students of the OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL school had been converted to . Christianity Meanwhile, the principal of the school Joshy CV also submitted a memorandum to the sub-divisional officer of police Bharat Bhusan Sharma. The principal said that several newspapers, U Tube and TV channels and other media alleged that the school converted eight children to Christianity on October 31 this year. According to the principal, efforts are being made to defame the school. CONTD. ON P6 After fighting a legal battle for 27 years, a divyang youth of Rajgarh got Rs 48 compensation as lakh against the physical illness. Supreme Court had upheld High Court order passed three years ago in favour of Devi Lal, a resident of Odhpur village in Rajgarh district. High Court had ordered to give Rs 10 lakh with interest from 1996 as compensation against damages to Devi Lal. He became paralytic even receiving pulse polio drops. Both his legs were paralysed. Lal’s counsel Sameer Saxena told Free Press that Devi Lal was administered pulse polio drops in 1995 THE 'NEW NORMAL' WE LIVE IN when he was three years old. Even after taking the medicine, he suffered from polio. After this, he sought compensation from the government and health department. In 1996, he approached Rajgarh district court. In 1999, the Rajgarh court ordered the state government to pay compensation of Rs 25,000. Later, Devi Lal and his family filed a petition at Indore High Court where the hearings continued for 17 years. Finally, High Court ordered the government to pay compensation of Rs 10 lakh along with interest from 1996. Challenging it, the state government filed a petition in the Supreme Court, which was dismissed in 2018. CONTD. ON P6 Better.com CEO fires 900 people over Zoom MUMBAI: Better.com CEO Vishal Garg fired 900 of his employees in a brutal Zoom call on Wednesday The Indian-American . CEO said market efficiency performance and pro, ductivity were the reasons behind the mass lay-off. “This isn't news that you're going to want to hear...If you're on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment is terminated effective immediately Garg, ,” 43, told employees of the mortgage company during Zoom call, according to CNN. The fired employees made up about 9% of Better.com's workforce. Among those fired were the company's entire diversity equity and inclusion team. , One worker filmed the call and leaked it on social media, where the CEO has received flak for firing employees right before the holidays. According to Daily Mail, Garg said during the threeminute call that the decision to fire 900 employees was a "challenging" one. “This is the second time in my career I'm doing this and I do not do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried. This time, I hope to be stronger," he said. "We are laying off about 15% of the company for a number of reasons -- the market, efficiency and performances and productivity .” Garg reportedly lashed out at his staff lat- er for being “lazy and unproductive”. “You guys know that 250 people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system?" he wrote in a blog post on the network Blind. “They were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills,” he added. This is not the first time that Vishal Garg has courted controversy In the past, he was . criticised for an email that he sent staff members. "You are TOO DAMN SLOW . You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS... SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME," . Mr Garg had written in the email, a copy of which was obtained by Forbes. Quality at Value WEATHER 28.30c. 15.20c Sunrise : 06.54 Sunset : 05.42 INDIA SPANK KIWIS, WIN SERIES SWEET REVENGE: Indian players celebrate their victory in the 2-match Test cricket series against New Zealand at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Monday. Funds for tribal welfare from Centre reduced by almost 60 per cent AMOUNT SLASHED from Rs 4,144 crore to Rs 1,718 crore in 'Probe ex Mumbai CP the past five years Ruckus in MP missionary After 27 yrs, divyang gets school over 'conversion' Rs 48L as compensation FP NEWS SERVICE Ganj Basoda `3 RNI No. 38281/83 SHAHROZ AFRIDI / BHOPAL At a time when the focus is on to woo 21% of state’s tribal population by BJPled state government, a reply to a question filed by a BJP MP has revealed that union government has reduced funds by almost 60% for tribal welfare in Madhya Pradesh in last 5 years. The BJP MP from Balaghat, Dhal Singh Bisen, had sought details of funds released by the union govMadhya to ernment Pradesh for tribal welfare in past five years. Union government had allocated Rs 4144.38 crore to the state in 2017-18, which was reduced by over half to Rs 1,718 crore in 2021-22. According to the reply given by union minister of state for tribal affairs 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Rs 4144.38cr Rs 3335.43cr Rs 453.83cr Rs 207.95cr Rs 1718.33cr Renuka Singh on 29 November, funds amounting to Rs 4,144.38 crore were allocated to Madhya Pradesh in 2017-18. The budget reduced by half in 2021-22 to Rs 1,718 crore in 2021-22. The union government in 2017-18, allotted Rs 4,144.38 crore to Madhya Pradesh whereas in 2018-19, the funds were reduced to Rs 3,335.43 crore. In 2019-20, funds for tribal welfare registered slight gain and stood at Rs 3,453.83 crore. In 2020-21, union government reduced the budget further and allocated Rs . 3,207 crore only In 2021-22, funds for tribal welfare given to state government were drastically reduced to Rs 1,718.33 crore. BJP MP Dhal Singh Bisen said that he had asked the question to know about the funds given to state. CONTD. ON P6 Nagaland incident, a case of mistaken identity, says Shah NEW DELHI Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday spoke in Lok Sabha on the Nagaland incident and said the case was of the mistaken identity as Army had received info on the movement of extremists in Oting, in Mon district and on suspicion of the vehicle carrying extremists, it was fired upon. Shah said, "Army had received information on the movement of extremists. On that basis, 21 commandos laid an ambush in the suspected area. A vehicle reached there, it was signalled to stop but it tried to flee. On suspicion of the vehicle carrying extremists, it was fired upon." "6 out of the 8 people in the vehicle died. It was later found to be a case of . mistaken identity SIT PROBE ORDERED: Shah said that a SIT has been formed with direction to submit its report within one month. MURDER CASE FILED: Police lodged a murder case against the 21st Para Special Force for its involvement in firing on civilians. Prohibitory orders under Sec144 have been clamped in Mon town, but the situation is tense, officials said.