DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2020, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 DOMESTIC AIR TRAVEL RESUMES MONDAY Air fares capped for 3 months, web check-in, face mask, and Aarogya Setu approval must Airlines say price caps will result in shortages like in railway services P13 PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MAY 21 THE Ministry of Civil Aviation Thursday said it would implement a fare cap for domestic air travel for three months citing a possible surge in airfares due to pent-up demand. It also issued standard operating procedures with specific pre-flight, in-flight andpost-flightguidelinesthatinclude arriving at the airport at least two hours prior to depar- THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW HOW FLYING WILL CHANGE REACH airport at least 2 hours before departure FACE MASKS mandatory inside airport and throughout flight THERMAL screening while entering airport declaration forms ONLY ONE cabin bag; trolleys to be allowed sparingly WEB CHECK-IN necessary to enter terminal FRISKING will be minimum contact HARDEEP SINGH PURI VULNERABLE people like very elderly, pregnant women, etc. advised against flying SANITISATION before entering aircraft ture time, mandatory use of face masks, clearance from Aarogya Setu app and compulsory web AAROGYA SETU clearance must for compatible devices, or fill self- NO MEALS, magazines, newspapers, retail sales inside aircraft CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Why the govt changed its mind in just three days and allowed flights PRANAV MUKUL & ANIL SASI NEW DELHI, MAY 21 AN IMMINENT threat of morethanoneairlinefoldingup, both on account of the extended lockdown and little to no relief in the economic package announcedbytheFinanceMinister last week, is learnt to be thereasonbehindasudden reversal in the Centre’s stance over a span of just three days, government officials told The Indian Express. On Sunday, May 17, the government announced domestic travel will remain prohibited till CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Big surge in Chinese transgressions, most of them in Ladakh INCIDENTS ON LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL YEAR WEST EAST MID 497 138 28 663 2018 284 89 31 404 2017 337 119 17 473 2016 208 71 17 296 2015 342 77 9 428 (Western, Eastern, Middle sectors) SUSHANT SINGH NEW DELHI, MAY 21 AS TENSIONS RUN high in eastern Ladakh, official data show there has been a marked increase in the number of Chinese transgressions into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. The first four months of this year, according to official data, witnessed170Chinesetransgressions across the LAC, including 130 in Ladakh. There were only 110suchtransgressionsinLadakh during the same period in 2019. But in 2019, the year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at Bishkek and Mahabalipuram,therewasalsoa75per cent surge in Chinese transgressions in Ladakh — 497 as against 284transgressionsin2018. Nearly three-quarters of the transgressions, data since 2015 show, have taken place in the westernsectorof theLAC,which falls in Ladakh. The eastern sector, which falls in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, witnessed almost one-fifth of the Chinese transgressions. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 China hindered normal patrolling, can resolve through dialogue: India ‘Support free navigation in S China Sea’ SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 21 INDIA SAID on Thursday that China had recently undertaken activity that affected its “normal patrolling patterns”, and that the two sides have “established mechanisms to resolve such situations peacefully through dialogue”. In the latest remarks following the border scuffle between troops from both sides early this month, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “Both sides remain engaged with each other to address any immediate issues.” However, responding to a separate question at the media briefing, on the contentious EXPRESS NETWORK OVER ONE MONTH, COVID HITS MORE DISTRICTS, MOST IN BIHAR, UP PAGE 8 South China Sea issue, the MEA spokesperson said: “This has been clear and consistent that the South China Sea is a part of global commons and India has an abiding interest in peace and stability in the region. We firmly stand with the freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in these international waterways, in accordance with international law... India also believes that any differences, be resolved peacefully by respecting the legal and diplomatic processes, and without resorting to threat or use of force.” China has laid claim to almost all of the South China Sea, brushing aside the claims of Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Brunei, and Indonesia. It has also CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA MUMBAI, MAY 21 AFTER NEGOTIATING for several days with private hospitals, the Maharashtra government Thursdaynightissuedanotificationtakingover80percentbeds in private hospitals and nursing homes across the state. In Mumbai alone, this will open up around 4,400 hospital beds in the private sector. The city has been struggling with a shortageof bedstotreatcritically ill Covid-19 patients. With 41,642 Covid-19 cases, Maharashtraaccountsforathird of all cases in India. The notification covers hospitals run by charitable trusts, including all the big Mumbai hospitals such as H N Reliance, Lilavati, Breach Candy, Jaslok, Bombay Hospital, Bhatia, Wockhardt, Nanavati, Fortis, L H Hiranandani and P D Hinduja among others. The government has also capped treatment charges for Covid-19 and other illnesses to be treated in the new capacity created in these hospitals and nursing homes. State officials said these beds will be managed through a central portal and patientswillbedirectedtothehospital where a bed is available. The charges for a Covid-19 patient in isolation ward cannot be more than Rs 4,000 a day, the maximum charge for an ICU (for (intensive care unit) is capped at Rs 7,500 a day, and charges for ventilatorarecappedatRs9,000 a day. Thenewchargeswillinclude drugs, doctor consultation fees, nursing, food and bed charges, butwillexcludeaCovidtest,personal protective equipment, MRI, CT scan and expensive drugs like Tocilizumab. Earlier, a Covid-19 patient was normally charged between Rs 40,000 and Rs 50,000 a day for ventilator in a private hospital. With caps, the chargeswillbelowerbyasmuch as 82 per cent. Itemslikepersonalprotective equipment(PPE),pacemaker,intra-ocular lenses, stents, CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Covid distress: High Courts ask questions while SC is restrained TOTAL 2019 Maharashtra takes 80% beds in private hospitals, caps charges for treatment A day after Cyclone Amphan swept through West Bengal, a part of Kolkata airport remained flooded on Thursday. Express Cyclone toll 72, Mamata seeks Central relief RAVIK BHATTACHARYA, SANTANU CHOWDHURY & ESHA ROY KOLKATA, DIGHA, NEW DELHI, MAY 21 A DAY after cyclone Amphan battered West Bengal, killing 72 peopleandflatteninghomesand fields across the state’s southern coastal districts, Chief Minister MamataBanerjeereachedoutto the Centre, requesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the state and seeking financial relief to tide over the crisis. OnThursdaynight,thePrime Minister’s Office tweeted that Modi would travel to West Bengal and Odisha on Friday to take stock of the situation. “He will conduct aerial surveys and take part in review meetings, whereaspectsof relief andrehabilitation will be discussed,” the tweet read. The PM is scheduled to land in Kolkata at 10 am, after which, sources said, he was likely to TRACKING INDIA’S COVID CURVE LOCKDOWN DAY CASES: 58 1,12,359 RECOVERED: 45,299 | DEATHS: 3,435 TESTS:26,15,920 | DOUBLINGRATE:13.45** hold a meeting with Chief Minister Banerjee. They are also likely to visit Bashirhat in North 24 Parganas, one of the affected areas. Earlier in the day, after a meetingshepresidedoveratthe state secretariat, Banerjee said: “It is a huge loss and I would request the Central government andallotherstoextendhelpand cooperate with us. Our Union Home Minister called me on phone this afternoon. We spoke aboutthedevastationandheas- GARGIVERMA&MANOJCG TOTAL CASES SURGEIN 24HRS ■ Maharashtra 39,297 2,161 ■ Gujarat 12,539 398 4.41% 16.32 ■ Delhi 11,659 571 4.67% 15.42 ■ Tamil Nadu 13,191 743 5.24% 13.74 ■ Rajasthan 5,902 170 4.90% 14.69 ■ West Bengal 3,103 142 4.44% 16.23 * Compounded Daily Growth Rate over last 7 days CONCERN MAHARASHTRA: 4 days of 2,000+ new cases; growth rate well above national average. CAUTION 7-DAYAVG. DOUBLING GROWTH* RATE** 6.12% 11.76 ** Calculated over 7-day growth BIHAR: Growing at a fast pace; now has 1,800+ cases. Could be next trouble state. A GLIMMER PUNJAB: Just three new cases on Wednesday; currently one of the slowest growing. Based on daily data by Centre, ICMR, state governments CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, MAY 21 AS THE Covid lockdown translatestowidespreaddistress,several High Courts, Madras to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka to Gujarat, are raising questions of officials and governments. On May 15, hearing a plea seeking the safe return of over 400 migrant workers detained at the Maharashtra border to Tamil Nadu, a division bench of the Madras High Court put 12 questions to the state and the Centre on how it was dealing with the migrant crisis set off by the lockdown. “One cannot control his/her tears after seeing the pathetic condition of migrant labourers Nyay scheme: Chhattisgarh transfers Rs 1,500 cr to a/cs of 19 lakh farmers RAIPUR, NEW DELHI, MAY 21 KEYSTATES TOWATCH sured all help. I would also request the Prime Minister to visit and carry out a surveillance of Sunderbansandadjoiningareas.” Saying the cyclone hit the state when it was already dealing with the twin challenges of Covid-19 and the return of stranded migrants, the chief minister said, “We need money forrelief andweneeditnow,not later. I had set up a Rs 200-crore Covid-19 fund, but we have already spent Rs 1,000 crore. APURVA VISHWANATH LAUNCHING A direct cash transferschemeforfarmersunderthe Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna, the Chhattisgarh government said on Thursday that it had transferredthefirsttrancheof Rs 1,500 crore in the accounts of Rs13,000per acreforcane farmers,says CM Baghel about 19 lakh farmers. Under the scheme, Rs 5,750 crorewillbedisbursedinfourinstalmentstofarmersof 14differ- NEW DELHI, CHANDIGARH, MAY 21 AN AL-QAEDA operative from Hyderabad, who has been convicted in the United States for financing activities of the slain Yemeni preacher and al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, has been deported to India. Mohammed Ibrahim Zubair, 41, a resident of Toledo in Ohio, US, was deported to India on a special flight that landed in Amritsar on May 19. He was escorted by Indian agents. Zubair is “Sharjah born”, but is an “Indian national”, with his parents tracing their roots to Hyderabad, a top Punjab Police officer said. He was among 167 JUSTICE MORE COMPASSIONATE BY FALI NARIMAN PAGE 10 shown in the media for the past one month. It is nothing but a human tragedy,” the court noted. The questions ranged from seeking data on just how many migrants were stranded or walking on highways to what steps are being taken to ferry them home. The same day, a division bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court hearing a public interest litigation seeking its CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY ent crops in the state. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said sugarcane farmers will get a grant of Rs 13,000 per acre, while paddy farmers will get Rs 10,000 per acre. A senior government official said they were still collating the data for other crops, including maize. CONTINUED ON PAGE 9 US deports Qaeda man al-Awlaki’s aide to India DEEPTIMAN TIWARY & NAVJEEVAN GOPAL THE EDITORIAL PAGE deportees by arrived in Amritsar from the US, the officer said. Sources in New Delhi said Zubair was interrogated by central intelligence agencies about his links with al-Qaeda and his networks across the world and in India, if any. He has now been sent to 14 days’ quarantine in Amritsar as the agencies decide on their next step. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 INSIDE GLOBAL CASE COUNT CROSSES 5 MILLION CHINA: WUHAN-STYLE CURBS AFTER NEW OUTBREAKS PAGE 12 WhatsApp in Nagaur to YouTube in Delhi, govts nudge schools to log in UMA VISHNU NEW DELHI, MAY 21 AROUND 9 am, two WhatsApp groups in Hudeel, a gram panchayat in Nagaur district of Rajasthan, come alive. One is of parents, the other of teachers and education officials. Messages range from an NCERT video on “body movements” for Class 6 to a YouTube link on remainder theorem for Class 9. Last year, Rajasthan topped national rankings for Class 8 math and language outcomes in NITI Aayog’s School Education Quality Index, with Nagaur district scoring the highest. Today, as a Covid red zone with 221 cases, five deaths and 126 recoveries, it’s an illustrative example of how lockeddown government schools, hamstrung by inadequate digital resources and infrastructure, are keeping learning going amid the pandemic. One of the foot soldiers is Sushma, principal of Nagaur’s HudeelSeniorSecondarySchool. She ensures that WhatsApp messages, sent directly from the education department in Jaipur, land in the two groups. Of course, it is a one-way push unlike the interactive video ses- LOCKDOWN LESSONS AN EXPRESS SERIES PART 2 sions of private schools in metros, but at least it’s some way to reach out to students, she says. “Our teachers have been assigned five families each, whom theycallandfindoutif theyhave trouble with the assignments and the links,” says Sushma, who, as Panchayat Elementary Education Officer (PEEO), is in charge of eight schools in the gram panchayat. As part of Rajasthan’s SMILE programme, 13 lakh families across the state get learning material on WhatsApp. Express At the end of the day, she compiles feedback from teachers and students and sends it to block-level officers from where itgoestothedistrictandthenthe state capital. Among the parents in the Hudeel WhatsApp group is Sarita Kumawat, 32, a mother of three,whohasaB.EdandanMA. She helps her daughter with the links on her Samsung phone. “Earlier, I didn’t give her the phone much, but now she has free access. Anyway, this is at least better than doing nothing and watching TV,” says Kumawat, whose husband is a technician with the Rajasthan Roadways in Sikar. The Nagaur programme is part of the Rajasthan government’sSocialMediaInterfacefor Learning Engagement or SMILE, an e-learning plan launched on April 13. School Education Secretary Manju Rajpal says at least 13 lakh families across the state are connected through these WhatsApp groups. Rajpal admits there are limitations. Of the 13 lakh who get the messages, barely 2 lakh use them. Many don’t have smartphones. “And even among families with devices, it’s usually the man who has the smartphone CONTINUEDONPAGE9
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