DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 DON'T LOSE HEART, WE SHALL WIN THIS FIGHT: MODI Need to do our best to avert lockdown, states should use it only as last resort: PM to nation Covaxin capacity to be boosted to 700 mn annual doses; J&J applies for bridging trial ‘Crisis in HCs’, SC sets timeline for Govt to clear judges’ names HARIKISHAN SHARMA & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 CALLING THE second Covid wave a “toofan” (storm) that has swept the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation Tuesday evening, called on citizens not to lose heart in this adversity and underlined that all steps need to be taken to avoid a lockdown. In his seventh such address since the first Covid outbreak early last year, and the first after the second wave that has escalated to unprecedented levels both in daily case and death counts, Modi said that the "right decisions in the right direction" would help secure victory against the virus. Saying that the situation today was different from the first time around -- there are vaccines, more medical insight into the virus and better infrastructure -- the Prime Minister said that along with saving lives, the Government's effort is to save economic activity and ensure that there is only a minimum impact on the livelihood of people. The Government is working with “speed and sensitivity” to meet the increasing demand of oxygen in various parts of the country, he said. He prefaced his 19-minute address saying he felt the pain of those who had lost their loved onesandwasgratefultothedoctors, nurses, frontline Corona CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 AMID A spurt in Covid cases, the country’s leading two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp, on Tuesday announced a halt to its operations at all its manufacturing facilities for four days, in a staggered manner between April 22 and May 1, 2021. The company is the first major manufacturer to announce a temporary suspension of production as a precautionary measure, even as the government has maintained that there won’t be a nationwide lockdown. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the company said, “In keepingwithits commitmentto the safety and welfare of its people, Hero MotoCorp has decided to proactively halt operations temporarilyatallof itsmanufacturing facilities across the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Before ramp-up, vaccine Don’t wash hands of vaccine, what planning on the fly with about the poor: Opp states to Centre only 2 options in basket MANOJ C G & PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 A DAY after the Centre opened upCovidvaccinationtoallabove 18 from May 1, Opposition Chief Ministers and some experts raised questions on stocks and pricing given that 50% has been earmarked for the “open market.”Arguingthatnoothercountry had done this so far, they said this places a financial burden on the states. While BJP state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Assam both announced free vaccines for all, other states said the Centre was washing its hands of the responsibility. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reminded the Prime Minister that she had, in a letter to him in February, requestedhisinterventiontoallow West Bengal to purchase vac- FORMER MAHARASHTRA Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is caught at the centre of a controversy after a photograph of his nephew,TanmayFadnavis,inhis early 20s, taking his second Covid-19 vaccine shot, was widely circulated on social media on Monday. Fadnavis, in a statement, identified Tanmay as a “distant relative”. A close family source said Tanmay is the grandson of former MLA Shobhatai Fadnavis, who is the ex-chief minister's aunt. The photograph, which surfaced on Monday, was shared by Tanmay on Instagram, and showed him getting vaccinated at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Nagpur. He has since deleted the post. STORM AFTER THE CALM TACKLING THE SECOND COVID WAVE AN EXPRESS SERIES PART THREE Migrants crowd buses at a Ludhiana station. Gurmeet Singh cines directly with state resourcesandgivefreevaccination to people of the state. “No response was received from your end. Now when the number of cases in the second wave is spiralling like anything, the Centre has chosen to tactically indulge in empty rhetoric and shy away from its responsibility for making available CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BENGALURU, APRIL 20 A RED initiative appears in today’s edition of The Indian Express. This page is an initiative of the marketing solutions team of The Indian Express Group and contain content paid for by advertisers. This page should be read as an advertisement INSIDE UP, ASSAM WILL VACCINATE ALL ABOVE 18 FOR FREE MORE STATES ANNOUNCE CURBS, CURFEWS PAGE 6 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY THE BIG-BANG — and muchawaited — announcement Monday to expand vaccinations to those above 18 gives the already strained machinery, fighting the rising Covid wave, all of 10 days to gear up for the logistical challenge. Of course, the 600 million now eligible are expected to be staggered by states dependingon profileandstocks, but the short lead time is reflec- SC stays HC lockdown call as UP says infringes domain, will trigger fear PAK GOVT YIELDS TO PRESSURE, NOTICE IN HOUSE TO EXPEL FRENCH ENVOY PAGE 12 THESUPREMECourtonTuesday put on hold the Allahabad High Court order imposing “almost complete lockdown/curfew in five major cities of Uttar Pradesh”. Issuing notice on an urgent pleabythestate,aBenchheaded by Chief Justice S A Bobde said that “until further orders, there shall be an ad interim stay of the impugned order passed by the High Court”. On Monday, saying that the rising Covid cases had “virtually incapacitated”themedicalinfrastructure in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court Monday orderedaweeklonglockdownin Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur districts, till April 26. The state government, how- Change inMoP IN SETTING a fixed timeline, the Supreme Court has essentially altered the Memorandum of Procedure through a judicial order. The ruling comes in the backdrop of the SC repeatedly underlining that several names are pending with the government. REPORT, PAGE 7 Supreme Court within 8 to 12 weeksfromthedateof receiptof CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Bus had more than 100 people, bound for Tikamgarh. PTI Overcrowded bus with migrants from Delhi turns over in MP, three killed NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 A file photo of Devendra Fadnavis, Tanmay. Instagram CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE WORLD NCI Director Shailesh Joglekar confirmed that the youth had received the vaccine. “Tanmay Fadnavis took his second dose at the NCI. He had taken his first dose at the Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai; under which provision he got his first dose is not known to us. He showed us the certificate of the PRABHA RAGHAVAN & ANIL SASI tive of most milestones in the Centre’s vaccine policy. Beginning with January 11 this year, when it placed its first setof ordersforvaccines,justfive days before the campaign was rolled out. This is in sharp contrast to othercountrieswhichstockpiled their vaccines before launching the inoculation blitz. As early as May 2020, countries like the US began stockpiling through “at risk” investments in multiple manufacturers. Throughout last year, the UK ended up taking such at-risk options in all seven vaccines developed across the world. With an order for 400 million vaccine doses, it has evidently been “one of the world’s highest per-capita buyers” of vaccines. It is now on track to have more than 100 million surplus doses in due course. Israel followed another model: EMPHASISING THE need to “facilitate timely appointment” of judges to resolve the “crisis situation” in High Courts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday laid down a timeline for the Centre toclearnamesrecommendedby the High Court Collegiums. The Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, also said that if the Supreme Court Collegium reiterates a recommendation sent back by the government, the “appointment should be made within 3 to 4 weeks”. According to the timeline fixed by the Bench, which included Justices S K Kaul and Surya Kant: ■ “The Intelligence Bureau (IB) should submit its report/ inputs within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of recommendation of the High Court Collegium, to the Central Government.” ■“It would be desirable that the CentralGovernmentforwardthe file(s)/ recommendations to the Bench led by CJI wants 18-week limit for action on names A line to fill oxygen cylinders in Lucknow Tuesday. PTI ever, had said a complete lockdown in the five districts was not an option, with Additional Chief Secretary (Information) Navneet Sahgal saying the government would impose further restrictions, but that, apart from saving lives, it had to also think of livelihoods. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court Bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, however, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IRAM SIDDIQUE BHOPAL, APRIL 20 THREE MIGRANT workers were killed and at least seven injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior district after the heavily overcrowded bus they were travelling in overturned on an accident-prone stretch at Jourasi Ghati around 8.30 am Tuesday. Local police said the bus was carrying around 100 migrant workers who were returning to their homes in villages across TikamgarhfromDelhiwherethe government had imposed a weeklong lockdown the previ- ous day. A passenger told reporters that the bus was carrying around 350 people. Policesaidtheyareascertainingtheallegationlevelledbyseveral passengers that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, and that the bus had hit a truck earlier. The driver is absconding, they said. The dead have been identified as Mukesh Dimer (26), Matadin Ahirwar (37) and Jitendra Ahirwar (22). Officials said the injured were rushed to J A Hospital in Gwalior, and that two buses were arranged for passengers stranded at the spot CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pyres till 2 am at Bengaluru crematoriums, token for queues JOHNSON T A CIVIL SERVICES DAY NEW DELHI, APRIL 20 BENGAL, KERALA CMs WRITE TO PM Hero shuts Young kin gets vaccine, plants amid Fadnavis says ‘distant’ surge, first link, must follow rules such action VIVEK DESHPANDE by big firm NAGPUR, APRIL 20 ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU ANANTHAKRISHNAN G (Left) Prime Minister Modi addressing the nation; (above) a queue for vaccination at a hospital in Thane on Tuesday. PTI/Deepak Joshi LATE MONDAY evening, as a prison ambulance with a body inside rolled up ahead of a line of six waiting ambulances, at the Hosapalya crematorium in south Bengaluru, a group of waiting drivers heckled the prison ambulance driver for jumping the queue. The crematorium had already carried out 14 cremations by its scheduled closing time of 5.30 pm on Monday and there were still six bodies waiting in ambulances lined up at the entrance of the crematorium. “We are following a firstcome-first-serve system for use of the two incinerators. Yesterday there were 31 bodies thathadtobecremated.Thecrematorium was working till 2 am this morning and reopened again at 5 am. Since October 2020, one or two Covid bodies were being brought in for cremation every day, but now the numbers are in two digits,'' said Chandra Kumar, a worker at the crematorium. A Covid-19 surge in Bengaluru is starting to exert pressure on healthcare and allied systems like it did at the peak of the first wave in AugustSeptember 2020. While Bengaluru reported 261 deaths per million population in September 2020 at the peakof thefirstwaveof thecoronavirus, it is now reporting 521 deaths per million population, compared to 188 per million for the state. On Monday, 97 deaths were reported in Bengaluru, the highest since the second wave began around March 23 this year; until then, daily deaths were in the range of 10 to 20. Family members and relatives wait for the funeral of a Covid victim at a crematorium in Bengaluru on April 16. PTI However, the case fatality rate (CFR or deaths as percentage of confirmed cases) in the city is down from the peak of 2 per cent last year to 1 per cent as on April 19. TheHosapalyaelectriccrematoriumof theBengalurucitycorporation is among seven in the citythatthestategovernmenthas set aside exclusively for free-ofcost Covid-19 cremations. “We have to wait seven to eight hours before the bodies that we bring in are cremated,'' said Rudresh S, an ambulance driver waiting in line at the Hosapalya crematorium. Withtheriseindemand,crematoriums have begun using a tokensystemtoensurethatbodies are cremated in the order of their arrival. Hospitals in Bengaluru are also reporting intense pressure due to a steep rise in Covid-19 casessincelateMarch.AsonApril 19,Bengaluruhad1,03,178active cases, around 72 per cent of the 1,42,084 active cases in the state. “We opened a new wing to accommodateCovid-19patients this week. Within two hours, all 100 beds were taken. Today we decided to stop taking CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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