DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, MAY 6, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY SINCE 1932 ‘LOCKDOWN PART OF DISCUSSIONS’ Third Covid wave inevitable, didn’t foresee current ferocity: Scientific Advisor to PM Can’t predict timeframe of the next wave, were ready for a smaller surge, little parameters added up: VijayRaghavan KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 5 INSIDE BLAST IN OXYGEN CYLINDER FILLING STATION, 3 DEAD P6 FORMER HEAD OF MAR THOMA CHURCH DIES AT 104 P10 `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM THE PRINCIPAL Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister Wednesday said a third wave of Covid-19 was inevitable given the high levels of the circulating virus and that they couldn’t predict a time frame for it. Dr K V VijayRaghavan also admitted that experts had not anticipated the“ferocity”of thesecondwave currently sweeping the country. The PSA said the new variants now affecting people are “fitter”, had adopted a “hit and runlifestyle”,andrequiredanew approach. Addressing a briefing of the Union Health Ministry, VijayRaghavan said, “Phase 3 is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus. But it is not clear on what timescale this Phase 3 will occur. Hopefully, incrementally, but we should prepare for new waves." He also said previous infections and vaccines could cause the coronavirus to further mutate in order to survive. “Therefore, we should be prepared scientifically to take care of that.’ Aboutthereasonsbehindthe second surge, the PSA said both CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Finally, Centre flags surge link to double mutant KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 5 OVER a month after the Centre said that the “double mutant variant” of the Coronavirus (B.1.617) hasn’t been detected in numbers “sufficient” to link it to the current surge, it admitted otherwise Wednesday. Itsaidthatthe“surgeincases seen over the last one and a half month in some states” shows a “correlation with the rise in (presence) B.1.617.” However, the Centre added a key caveat: the epidemiological and clinical correlation of B.1.617 and the surge is not “fully established”. Significantly, the Centre includedB.1.617,underthecategory CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 HC CENSURE ON COVID POLLS Dissenting EC was keen to put views in affidavit, denied Always have appropriate deliberations before any decision, says poll panel NEW DELHI, MAY 5 NEW DELHI, MAY 5 THE SUPREME Court on Wednesday stayed the contempt notice issued by the Delhi High Court against the Centre in the matter of supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to Delhi, stating that “the aim is not to haul up officers for contempt” and that such action will not bring oxygen. While granting the stay, a Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah madeitclearthatitwasnotstopping the High Court from monitoring Covid-19 managementrelated issues, and directed a meeting between officials of the CentreandDelhigovernmentby Wednesday evening to discuss issues related to oxygen supply. TheBenchwashearingaplea PAGE 1 ANCHOR ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, MAY 5 THE SUPREME Court on Wednesday struck down the provisions of a Maharashtra law providing reservation to the Maratha community, which took the total quota in the state above the 50 per cent ceiling set by the court in its 1992 Indra Sawhney (Mandal) judgment. “The 50% rule...is to fulfill the objective of equality as engrafted in Article 14 of which Articles 15 and 16 are facets... To change the 50% limit is to have a society which is not founded on equality but based on caste rule,” a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan ruled in EXPLAINED SIMPLY PUT READINGMARATHA QUOTAVERDICT PAGE 11 four separate decisions. “The democracy is an essential feature of our Constitution and part of our basic structure. If the reservation goes above 50% limit...it will be slippery slope, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Suggest new study on backwardness of Marathas, say appeal may not help CEC Sushil Chandra (left) and EC Rajiv Kumar. Express of judges and its SLP in the top court were not unanimously approved by the Commission. One of the commissioners, it is learned, did not entirely agree with the affidavit’s contents in Madras HC and the SLP inthe SC. Reacting to the report on Wednesday, the EC issued a statement that the "Commission always has appropriate deliberations before any decisions are taken.” AfterSunilArora’sretirement as Chief Election Commissioner CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SC stays HC notice against Centre, but wants plan on oxygen EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ‘To change 50% limit is to have society based not on equality but caste rule’ Plan panel, not a plea: top officials advise CM RITIKA CHOPRA SO SHARP was the difference in opinionbetweenthetwoElection Commissionersovertheresponse tothecensurebytheMadrasHigh Court that the dissenting EC wantedtoputhisviewsonrecord in a separate affidavit, The Indian Express has learned. However, the Election Commissionrejectedhissuggestion and didn’t file his affidavit withtheMadrasHighCourt.The dissenting EC’s subsequent request to attach his separate affidavittotheSpecialLeavePetition (SLP) filed in the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s “murder-charges” remark was also ignored. The Indian Express had first reported Wednesday that the poll panel’s plea in the Madras High Court to gag the media fromreportingoralobservations SC throws out Maratha quota law, cites 50% reservation cap by the Centre against the High Court’s direction asking it to show cause as to why contempt should not be initiated against it for failing to comply with orders for supply of LMO to Delhi. The Bench headed by Justice Chandrachud said that “exercising powers under contempt jurisdictionwillnotsolvetheproblem facing Delhi. When the countryis facing ahumanitarian crisis, the court must aim at problem solving”. Takinga nuanced view of the oxygenproduction,demandand supply question vis a vis Delhi and the rest of India, the Bench asked the Centre to inform by Thursday how it planned to meetDelhi’sdemandfor700MT (metric tonnes) oxygen, in compliancewiththeCourt’sorderon April 30 directing it to meet any shortage in Delhi “on or before CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 YOGESH NAIK MUMBAI, MAY 5 THE WAIT At a vaccination centre in Mumbai on Wednesday. The Union Health Ministry said the cumulative number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 16 crore. Ganesh Shirsekar TOP BUREAUCRATS in the Maharashtra government have advised the state’spolitical leadershiptoundertakeafreshstudy which shows the Maratha community to be a socially and economically backward group. This can then be submitted to the Rs 50,000-cr boost for health, Centre turns up heat loan recast for small borrowers on violence, Mamata shunts top officials GEORGE MATHEW MUMBAI, MAY 5 WITH THE SECOND wave of Covid-19 putting fresh stress on the economy, the Reserve Bank of India Wednesday unveiled a host of measures to boost fund flowtothehealthcaresectorand pump more liquidity into the system,apartfromprovidinganother window to individual borrowers and small units for loan restructuring. The central bank has opened an on-tap liquidity window of Rs50,000crorewithtenorsof up to three years at the repo rate – 4 per cent — till March 31, 2022, to boost provision of immediate liquidity for ramping up Covidrelatedhealthcareinfrastructure and services in the country. Underthescheme,bankscan provide fresh lending support to a wide range of entities including vaccine manufacturers, importersandsuppliersof vaccines and priority medical devices, hospitals and dispensaries, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Focusing on stress segments SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 5 IN LONDON to attend a G7 foreignministers'meeting,External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and threemembersof hisdelegation went into isolation on Wednesday after he said they had been exposed to “possible Covid-19 positive cases”. Virtual meeting with Canadian counterpart. PTI While Jaishankar attended the G7 meeting through virtual mode on Wednesday, he had met British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Tuesday and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday night. This is the first in-person Summit of the G7 since the pandemic began. Whilethe British local media CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 POLITICAL FIRESTORM IN MAHARASHTRA PAGE 5 Sushil Kumar Police raids to trace wrestler Sushil Kumar in murder case THE segments worst hit by the second wave have got some relief. These include a liquidity boost to ramp up healthcare infrastructure, and more time till September 30 to small borrowers for restructuring their loans. Jaishankar, India team in isolation in London after Covid exposure National Commission for BackwardClasses,abodythatreceived constitutional status in August 2018. The Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and MAHENDER SINGH MANRAL Banerjee at swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. Partha Paul EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, NEW DELHI, MAY 5 AS THE Centre shot off another letter to West Bengal on Wednesday warning that any delay in sending a report on the post-election violence in the state would be viewed “seriously”, Mamata Banerjee transferred 30 top officers, including DGP P Nirajnayan, in her first action after being sworn in again as Chief Minister, warning that violence of any kind will not be tolerated. Followingameetingwithtop officials, Banerjee said “inefficiencies” had crept into the administrationduringthelongpoll process when the Election Commission held control, and saidviolencewasbeingreported from areas where the BJP had won in the Assembly elections. In the letter to West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay,theUnionHome CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, MAY 5 DELHI POLICE have launched raids to locate top wrestler and two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar for questioning over his alleged role in the murder of a 23-year-old former junior national champion, who was beatentodeathinaclashinvolvingtwogroupsontheChhatrasal stadiumpremisesinNorth-West Delhi late Tuesday night. “We are probing the role of SushilKumarasallegationshave been made againsthim.Wesent ourteamtohishousebuthewas found to be missing. We are CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 World chips in: French O2 plant at Apollo, US oximeters in Safdarjung SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 5 WHITE HOUSE'S Covid-19 testing kits in New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital; an Italian oxygen plant in the ITBP hospital in Greater Noida; a French oxygen plant at Indraprastha Apollo hospital in New Delhi; and Irish oxygen concentrators in PGI, Chandigarh. Amid a rising Covid curve, as help pours in from the global community and asIndiadeparts fromits16-year-oldpolicyof not acceptingforeignaid,oxygen-related equipment and life-saving medicines from abroad have started reaching hospitals in Delhi and beyond. At least 14 countries have already started sending their material in aircraft and ships, and they are being sent out, mostly to government hospitals. According to sources, the suppliesare being sent asper requirement spelt out by the Health Ministry. FromtheUStoRussia,Italyto Thailand, Germany to Ireland and France — countries have beensendingoxygenconcentrators, some have been building oxygenplants,somearesending ventilators, while others are sending rapid testing kits, and essential medicines. Among the supplies that went out: ■ Pulse oximeters from the US have gone to Safdarjung Hospital. About 7 lakh rapid detection kits from the US — the kind that is used by the White House — have gone to Safdarjung, AIIMS Jhajjar, ICMR and Lady Hardinge Medical College. One large oxygen plant from the US has arrived from California. ■20largeoxygenconcentrators, 75 lung ventilation equipment and 150 bedside monitors from Russia have gone to Lady INS Talwar arrives in Mangaluru on Wednesday from Bahrain with two liquid oxygen cryogenic containers. ANI Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi. Out of 2 lakh flavipiravir (an oral antiviral drug) from Russia, 25,000 have been sent to Safdarjung Hospital, 2,000 to LHMC, 30,000 to AIIMS Rishikesh, 40,000 to AIIMS Jodhpur, 10,000 to AIIMS Rai Bareilly, 30,000 to RML Hospital, 38,000 to AIIMS Delhi and 25,000 to AIIMS Jhajjar. ■ Oxygen generation plants from France have gone to Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi,AmbedkarNagar Hospital in Delhi, and Telangana Institute of MedicalSciences.Sourcessaid one oxygen plant can sustain a 250-bed hospital, and has a lifecycle of 12 years. ■ 30 oxygen concentrators from Thailand have gone to CGHS hospitals (15) and Safdarjang Hospital (15). ■ 700 oxygen concentrators from Ireland have gone to AIIMS in various states and PGI, Chandigarh. ■ Oxygen plant from Italy is being set up at the ITBP hospital in Greater Noida. ■ 120 ventilators from Germany have been sent to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and AIIMS in New Delhi. Sources said these are just someof thematerialwhichwere received from foreign governments since May 26. German ambassador Walter JLindnersaid the120ventilators sent to India are from the German government to the Government of India, but there are many more that are coming in through the private sector. “The Tatas are importing 20 mobile oxygen tankers, and FICCI and German companies are bringing in 1,500 oxygen concentrators,” Lindner told CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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