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 SATURDAY, APRIL 17, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 3 PUBLIC SECTOR COMPANIES WILL STEP IN TO RAMP UP PRODUCTION; SECOND DAY, OVER 2 LAKH CASES ` 95 per kilo ` 123 per kilo ` 152 per kilo ` 68 per Dozen SECURITY SCARE 62 bullets in Waze house likely meant for duo who were to drive vehicle: NIA MOHAMED THAVER & SADAF MODAK MUMBAI, APRIL 16 NIA officials investigating the Ambani terror scare case say they are now getting a clearer pictureof aninitialplanallegedly hatched by arrested cop Sachin WazebeforeaScorpiofilledwith gelatinstickswasplacedoutside the residence of industrialist MukeshAmbanionFebruary25. The NIA has learnt that 62 unaccounted bullets, which they found during a search of Waze's residence, were likely meanttobe Sachin Waze given to two history sheeters who were to drive a vehicle with explosives to the Ambani residence as per this original plan. The agency had also found the passport of one of the two people they believe were meant to drive a stolen Maruti Eeco vehicle to the Ambani residence. As per the original plan, the duo were to be gunned down by Waze, after which he would claim the case was solved. An officer said, "We are verifying if the 62 unaccounted bullets that were found at Waze's Thaneresidenceweretobegiven CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY WorrystatesUP,Chhattisgarhinfocus; Covaxinsuppliestobedoubledsoon PM: Ensure free movement of oxygen tankers; MHA writes to Chief Secys ANURADHA MASCARENHAS & PRABHA RAGHAVAN PUNE, NEW DELHI, APRIL 16 NEW DELHI, APRIL 16 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Passengers in queues at Pune railway station on Friday. Ashish Kale ICSE, ISC exams put off, Class X students can opt not to take board exam EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 16 THE COUNCIL for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) said on Friday that the board exams for Classes X and XII,scheduledtobeginonMay4, would be deferred for now, and a“finaldecision”wouldbetaken “by the first week of June” after reviewingtheCovid-19situation. “In the light of the nationwidesurgeinCovid-19cases,the CISCE has decided to defer the 5TH PHASE TODAY 12,263 Seats 45 of No. of polling 294 booths 319 No. of candidates THE EDITORIAL PAGE EXPLAINED SIMPLY PUT OXYGEN CRISIS: EXTENT, SOLUTIONS PAGE 12 THE SECOND SURGE NEEDTORETHINK EDUCATIONSYSTEM CREMATORIUMS, BY AMEETA MULLA WATTAL PAGE 10 ICSE (Class X) and ISC (Class XII) board examinations scheduled to be held from May 4, 2021,” CISCE Chief Executive and SecretaryGerryArathoonsaidin a press statement. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GRAVEYARDS SPILL OVER, BEDS FALL SHORT IN LUCKNOW STATE GOVT MUST DECLARE ACCURATE DATA ON COVID-19: GUJARAT HC PAGE 6 health situation". The order came after the NEW DELHI, KOLKATA, APRIL 16 state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) held an all-party AMID RISING Covid meeting, where parties cases, the Election were urged to abide by Commissionbannedall Covid guidelines, informs of campaigning, cluding mandatory including rallies, street masks for candidates plays and nukkad saband campaigners, and DECISION advised to hold smaller has, between 7 pm and 2021 10 am in West Bengal meetings instead of big WEST starting Friday. It also rallies. BENGAL extended the silence The ECalsowroteto period for campaigning all parties asking them to from48hoursto72hoursbefore advise their leaders and candivoting day for the phases on datestoadheretothecampaignApril 22, 26 and 29 in view of ing guidelines and directed the "the unprecedented public CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, APRIL 16 THE UK government on Friday approved the extradition of fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi to India. Unless the decision is overturned by the High Court in that country, he should be brought back to India soon, sources said. Nirav Modi is wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank loan fraud case by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. “The (UK) government has approved it. It is now up to the court,” a CBI officer told The Was arrested in London in March 2019 Indian Express. On February 25, a District Judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London had ordered Nirav Modi's extradition, following which the case wassenttotheSecretaryof State fortheUKHomeDepartmentfor approval. Modi now has 14 days to appeal in the High Court. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IMD predicts third straight year of normal monsoon; no El Nino conditions foreseen PAGE 1 ANCHOR ANJALI MARAR PUNE, APRIL 16 THE MONSOON will be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its first stage Long Range Forecast (LRF) on Friday. If the forecast is accurate, this willbethethirdconsecutiveyear of normal monsoon in the country. The four-month southwest monsoon season brings India about 70 per cent of its annual rainfall. The IMD releases its LRF twiceeveryyear,inAprilandJune. Quantitative rainfall during June to September would be 98 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA), which is in the ‘normal rainfall’ category, IMD Director General Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said in an online briefing. The LPA for the southwest monsoon season, calculated over the 50-year period from 1961 to 2010, is 880 mm of rain. While the forecast is normal forthecountryasawhole,rainfall is expected to be below normal overJammuandKashmir,Ladakh, Delhi, east Uttar Pradesh and adjoiningBihar,Jharkhand,northareas of Odisha and Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal, the IMD said. “There is good news that the monsoon this year will be normal. It will be good for our agri- The four-month southwest monsoon season brings India about 70 per cent of its annual rainfall. Express file culture,” M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said. Neutral ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) conditions are currently prevailing over the Pacific Ocean, the LRF said. “During the 2021 monsoon season, we foresee no development of El Niño conditions,” Rajeevan said. ENSO is one of many largescalefeaturesthatinfluence the Indian summer monsoon. El Niño refers to the abnormal warmingof surfacewatersof the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean. It has been observed that southwest monsoon rainfall remains subduedinIndiainElNiñoyears. A condition opposite to El Niño is La Niña, which sees unusuallycoldoceantemperatures in the equatorial Pacific, and has been seen to favour the Indian summer monsoon. Closer home occurs a phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole,whichissimilarto CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Whythisiscritical THEMATERIALSflaggedby Poonawalla—plasticbags, filtersandcellculturemedia —arerelevanttomostvaccinesbeingmadetobattle Covid-19.Therestrictions,a resultof theUSDefence ProductionAct,maynot onlycauseafightforlimited resources,butmayalsodelayregulatoryclearancesof someof theseproducts,accordingtoexperts. they have not responded.” “We are hoping that the Biden administration takes a moreglobalperspectivethanthe previous administration which was lookingatonly America and America first – that is our hope, our umeed,” he said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 First batch of Covaxin to be produced by early 2022: Haffkine TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA No clubbing of phases, UK approves Nirav EC cuts campaigning Modi’s extradition; he hours, days in Bengal can make final appeal EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE WEST BENGAL SERUM INSTITUTE of India CEO Adar Poonawalla Friday urged US President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on export of rawmaterials needed to ramp up production of Covishield and Covovax, the Covid-19 vaccines it is making in India. In a Twitter post, tagging the US President, Poonawalla said: “Respected @POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up. Your administration has the details.” He later told The Indian Express: “The vaccine industry, outside the United States, needs plasticbags,filtersandmediasolutions which are critical in the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine. For a month, we have been asking the US authorities, but KAUNAIN SHERIFF M & DEEPTIMAN TIWARY WITH THE demand for vaccines increasing, the Centre Friday announced a plan to double by May-June the Covaxin production capacity of Hyderabadbased Bharat Biotech, including a grant of Rs 65 crore for building a new production facility in Bengaluru. OnFriday,asthecountryregistered a record 2,17,353 new cases and 1,185 deaths, several states reported shortage of oxygen supply due to the surge. Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting on the current situation of oxygen supply and projected use over the next 15 days in 12 high-incidence states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The Prime Minister was informed that 4,880 metric tonne (MT), 5,619 MT, and 6,593 MT have been allocated to these 12 statestomeettheirprojecteddemandasonApril20,April25and April 30; and of the decision Thursday to import medicalgrade oxygen. The Prime Minister directed the authorities to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country. After the meeting, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued specific directions to Chief Secretaries of the states: ensure that no restrictions are imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states, that transport authorities be Shortage of vaccine raw materials, SII CEO to Biden: End export embargo MUMBAI, APRIL 16 THE FIRST batch of Covaxin will only be manufactured by early 2022, officials from Mumbai's Haffkine PharmaceuticalPvt Ltd havesaid,adayaftertheygotapproval from the central government to manufacture the Covid19 vaccine. Haffkine can manufacture 228.8 million doses annually, starting with 20 million per month in the initial phase. The 1899-established biomedical institute is best known for its oral polio vaccine that it exports to 40 countries apart from anti-snake venom that it supplies to most states in India. In January the institute had approached the central government under Mission Covid Suraksha to manufacture vaccines. While giving a nod for the production, the Centre on Friday asked the Parelinstitute to finish construction of the new facility within six months and immediately begin production. The new facility will require Bio Safety Level-3 compliance andwillspanover20,000square feet area within Haffkine's Parel campus. Officials said they will need two months for project conceptualisationandtofloatrequired tenders, another eight months for construction of facility, and will be able to produce the first batch of vaccines by March or April 2022. "The process can be sped up if weusepre-fabricatedmaterial for the new facility. But six months is not possible. It takes 3-4 years to set up a BSL-3 facility. We do not want to compromise on quality levels. We need to procure equipment, transfer technology to manufacture vaccine and train our staff. Once the vaccine is produced, it requires CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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