DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2021, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `4.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 NIA probes CLEARS DECKS FOR EMERGENCY USE, MANUFACTURE, FILL, FINISH encounter angle in passport found at Waze house Vaccines with Maharashtra: Maharashtra to shut down till May 1, only key services allowed MOHAMEDTHAVER Restrictions short of lockdown, Uddhav says meant to save lives Secondsurge:Centreclearswayfor foreignvaccines,fast-tracksapproval MUMBAI,APRIL13 A PASSPORT found by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) at the home of arrested MumbaipolicemanSachinWaze is one of the key pieces in the Antilia security scare puzzle that investigators are trying to solve. The Indian Express has learnt thatoneofthetheoriestheagency isworkingonisthatWaze,known as an “encounter specialist”, allegedlyintendedtoeliminatethe holder of that passport and another man. Theplan, theysuspect, wasto pin the SUV containing the gelatin sticks that was found on February 25 outside Mukesh Ambani's house on these two men, gun them down the same day,andclaimtohave“solved”the case.Thetwomenhadacriminal recordandwereknowntoWaze, officials familiar with the line of investigation said. The passport wasfoundduringaraidatWaze’s home on March 17. Investigators suspect that the original plan was to get the two mentodriveaMarutiEeco,which hadbeenstolenfromAurangabad, andparkitoutsideAntiliawithan Improvised Explosive Device inside. The NIA retrieved the vehicle's number plate from Mithi river,sourcessaid. CONTINUEDONPAGE2 ‘Minor morphed circular on Gujarat Board exams as April Fool prank’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, APRIL 13 THE GANDHINAGAR police has traced a morphed, fake press statement issued by the Gujarat SecondaryandHigherSecondary Education Board (GSHSEB) to a 14-year-oldboyMonday.Theminor, police said, had allegedly changed the dates for the board exams of class 10 and 12 and uploaded it on the social media which had later gone viral. According to the police, the GSHSEBhadissuedapressstatement on February 3 stating that the examinations for classes 10 and 12 will be conducted from May 10 to 25. The minor, a student of a private school in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD U.S. TROOPS TO STAY IN AFGHAN BEYOND MAY, 9/11 NEW GOAL U.S. CALLS FOR PAUSE ON J&J VACCINE AFTER CLOTTING CASES PAGE 12 emergency use nod of WHO, US, UK don’t need local trials double mutant found in 61% samples tested KAUNAIN SHERIFF M & PRABHA RAGHAVAN TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA IN A significant shift in its policy on regulatory approvals for foreign manufacturers to commerciallymarkettheir Covid-19vaccines in the country, the government Tuesday announced it would not enforce the pre-condition of conducting phase 2 and 3 clinical trials in Indiaforthosevaccinesthathave been granted emergency approvals by the US, EU, UK and Japanese regulators, including those listed by the WHO. Tuesday’sdecisioneffectively fast-tracks approval for foreign vaccines, which can apply for emergencyuseauthorisation.“It will also open up, eventually, doorforimportof bulkorimport of finished foreign vaccines in vials or import leading to fill and finish (of the vaccine) in the country,”UnionHealthSecretary Rajesh Bhushan said. TheUnionMinistryof Health and Family Welfare said the foreign manufactures have to THE NATIONAL Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has shared data with laboratories in Maharashtra showing that of 361 Covid-19 samples taken in Maharashtra from January to March and genome sequenced, 61%or220hadthedoublemutationE484QandL452R,nowclassified as B.1.617 lineage. On March 24, the Central government had announcedthe detection of a double mutant variant in “15-20% samples in Maharashtra” but did not link the variant with the second surge in the state. At a meeting on April 10, NIV officialsmadeapresentationtoall districtheadsof governmentlaboratories.ThemeetingwasorganisedbytheDirectorateofMedical EducationandResearchunderthe Medical Education and Drugs Department of Maharashtra. The genome sequencing results were shared in the presentation, but officials said the state NEW DELHI, APRIL 13 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, APRIL 13 Migrant workers wait to board outbound trains at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, in Mumbai on Tuesday. Pradip Das Door for global vaccines opens but pricing strategy could be key to entry No ‘at-risk’ investment by Govt as SII requests for help PRABHA RAGHAVAN & ANIL SASI NEW DELHI, APRIL 13 THE CENTRE may have opened the regulatory door to a set of vaccines from overseas but how it works its pricing and procurement strategy could be key to their entry and rollout. Formost nations, the vaccine THE EDITORIAL PAGE BOOSTER: EMERGING MARKETS MUST FOCUS ON VACCINES BY SAJJID Z CHINOY PAGE 6 rollout adheres to one simple maxim: countries that invested “at risk” before the products cleared regulatory scrutiny ended up extracting a better pricingdealfrommanufacturers in the end. So far, India, with the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturing base, seems to be the only exception. The NDA government is learnttohavenegotiatedthecost of Covishield — Serum Institute CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 VISHWAS WAGHMODE MUMBAI, APRIL 13 SCRAMBLING TO contain the Covid surge, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday announcedcurfew-like restrictions on the movement of people in the state from 8 pm on April 14 to May 1, but stopped short of calling it a lockdown. Ina38-minuteaddresstothe state, Thackeray announced stricter restrictions thanthosein place since April 6, exempting only essential services, and announced a Rs 5,476-crore relief packageforthosewhowillbeaffected across sectors and certain categories. Accordingtotheorderissued by the administration, prohibitory orders under Section 144 are to be imposed in the statefromWednesdaynightand will remain in force until May 1. No person is allowed to be in a public place without a valid reason. And all establishments, publicspaces,activitiesandservices will remain closed, except foressentialservicesthatwillremain open between 7 am and 8 pm on working days. Shooting for films, serials and advertisements will remain closed, and Most non-official members in new MSME Board have BJP links Uddhav Thackeray only 25 people will be allowed at marriages. However, public transport, includingtrainsandbusservices, and essential services like groceries,vegetableshops,fruitvendors, dairies, bakeries, confectioneries,alltypesof foodoutlets and public utilities, will be open. Forthemanufacturingsector, industries that require considerable time to stop and restart CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GUJARAT 60% COVID-19 CASES IN EIGHT CIVIC CORPORATIONS: CM RUPANI PAGE 4 IN AHMEDABAD, 8 OUT OF EVERY 100 PEOPLE TESTED IS COVID POSITIVE PAGE 3 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Many say they have businesses, are members of local industry bodies SANDEEP SINGH & SUNNY VERMA DECISION 2021 NEW DELHI, APRIL 13 THE NEWLY announced 46-member Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Board, tasked to play an important role in policy review, has 26 official members and 20 representing a range of industry voices. Politics seems to dominate the choice of the latter — the list includes several BJP office-bearers, ex-party MLAs and members of RSS affiliate Laghu Udyog Bharati. According to Section 3 of the MSME Development Act Act — under which the Board is constituted by the Centre — these 20 members are meant to “represent the associations of micro, small and medium enterprises, includingnotlessthanthreepersons representing associations of women's enterprises and not less than three persons representingassociationsof microenterprises, to be appointed by the Central Government.” A scrutiny of the list shows that it includes one BJP MLA; three ex-MLAs/candidates and one ex-MLA of AJSU (BJP ally in Jharkhand); six members of Sector key to growth in distress AS THE second surge hits the economy, the board will advise the government on MSME distress. The Government has announced several measures including a scheme for bank loans worth Rs 3 lakh crore to support MSMEs. This sector is key to revival in employment too. Laghu Udyog Bharati (LUB); six BJP functionaries; two former membersof FICCIandonemember from Gujarat. Those with political links include: Kundan Kumar, BJP MLA from Bihar; Penmetsa Vishnu Kumar Raju, ex-BJP MLA from Andhra Pradesh; Yashvir Dagar, BJP candidate from Haryana in 2014; Pravat Keshari Mishra, Odisha, BJP candidate from Cuttack in 2009 and director in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MAMATA’S STREET SIT-IN West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee protests against the 24-hour campaign ban on her, in Kolkata on Tuesday. Shashi Ghosh Lockdown hurting, border town says talk about Covid, not caste DIPANKAR GHOSE PETRAPOL, APRIL 13 A GREEN board runs right across the road that, a little further ahead, disappears into another country. The board reads, 'You are entering India Bangladesh borderarea.AlwaysBeCautious'. The party flags at this formal Indo-Bangladesh border crossing in Petrapol, North 24 Parganas,areasignthattheelection fever has also reached here. Since last Monday though, the talk has taken a turn. “That word of our nightmares is back again: lockdown,” says a taxi driver at INDIA BANGLADESH Dhaka Kolkata PETRAPOL, North 24Parganas the border. On April 5, Bangladesh announced a complete lockdown. That has dealt a fresh blow to Petrapol, 80 km from Kolkata, whose entire local economy is driven by businessfromthe border. There are establishments offering cargo services, travel agencies, private DECISION taxis and vans, 2021 and shops selling WEST refreshments to BENGAL weary travellers. Since March last year, they have been“finished”andmaynotsurvive now, say residents. A hundred metres from the border is a travel agency called DeshTravels.Ithasalargewaiting CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BID TO STOP ME FROM CAMPAIGNING, SAYS MAMATA PAGE 10 REMARKS ON CISF FIRING EC bars BJP leader from campaigning for 48 hrs EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 13 A DAY after the Election Commission (EC) imposed a 24hour campaigning ban on Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee,thepollbodydebarred BJP leader Rahul Sinha for 48 hours for his comment that the Central forces should have killed more in Cooch Behar's Sitalkuchi, but let his colleague Suvendu Adhikari off with a warning for insinuating that a vote for Banerjee was a vote for “mini Pakistan”. Rahul Sinha The action initiated against Sinha is possibly the first time the EC has banned a political leaderfromelectioneeringwithoutgivingthepersonachanceto present his defence. In its order, the poll body said Sinha's utteranceswereprovocative,mocked human life, could incite forces, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Wait for final rites get longer as crematoriums across Gujarat overwhelmed PAGE 1 ANCHOR KAMAAL SAIYED, ADITI RAJA, GOPAL KATESHIYA & RITU SHARMA SURAT, VADODARA, RAJKOT, AHMEDABAD, APRIL 13 CHIRAG PATEL waited in a PPE suit at the Vadaj crematorium in Ahmedabad for his turn to cremate his 55-year-old brother, who succumbed to the coronavirus disease Monday, three days after he showed symptoms for the viral infection even as his family waited for his RT-PCR report. Afraid of a 12-hour wait at Chandkheda crematorium, which had eight to 10 bodies waiting to becremated, he came to Vadaj, some 7 kilometres away, which is open round-theclock. “Today (Monday), morning after his death, we checked with the doctors and they told usover the telephone that it is Covid19,” Chirag said, who had reached the Vadaj facility over two hours back. For the relatives of deceased patients, queues begin from the wait at hospitals for their dear one’s body, for hearse vans to take them to the resting place, to findingafurnacefreeatacrematorium -- the time for each disposal/cremation has increased because of the Covid-19 protocol. Across Gujarat, the fatalities due toCovid-19have beenrising steadily since the last week of March. So far, the state has seen 4,919 Covid-19 deaths, 67 of which were reported on Vadodara civic corporation has upped the number of traditional wood pyres to manage the rush of bodies. Bhupendra Rana Tuesday. In April last year, the state government by an order had decided to classify only those where primary reason of death was determined to be Covid-19, as “Covid-19 deaths”. However, the sheer number of those dying due to the virus or itsimpacthasaddedtothestress on the crematoriums. At Surat’s largest Ashwani Kumar (AK) crematorium, a chimney had turned red hot Mondayeveningbecauseof over working and had to be shut for a day. Subhash Thayi working in the AK crematorium said, “Of 10 gas fired furnaces, at present nine are working. There was a probleminonefurnaceasdueto overload a pipe had started to turn red (hot) yesterday. We have got it repaired and now it is functional. This problem occurs because of a heavy rush of dead bodies for Covid. The Paal crematorium in Surat city, which was closed since 2006, has been also reopened since Monday in view of the surge in fatalities, BJP councillorof theareaNileshPatelsaid. In Umra area of Surat, the Ramnath Ghela crematorium, which disposed of 105 bodies Monday, had asked a volunteer who had poured kerosene on bodies to burn them quickly to leave a day ago, trustee Harishbhai Umrigar said. For Parin Shah (27), whose fatherrunsateastallatOlpadvillage on Surat’s outskirts, carrying his 60-year-old mother Bhadra’s body for two kilometres on a hand cart to a crematorium because the village panchayat had refused him an ambulance or access to the crematorium, was like a nightmare. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 Ahmedabad
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