DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, MAY 10, 2021, LUCKNOW, LATE CITY, 12 PAGES Himanta Sarma, who powered BJP rise in Northeast, to be new Assam CM AFFIDAVIT IN TOP COURT Askedtorethinkvaccinepolicy,Centreto SC:trustus,noneedforcourttointerfere Defending pricing, Govt says policy just and equitable; allocation to private sector may change in future EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 9 Sarma with Sonowal, after the former was elected leader of the BJP legislature party, in Guwahati Sunday. Dasarath Deka ABHISHEK SAHA GUWAHATI, MAY 9 ENDING a week of speculation following the BJP’s victory in Assam, the party on Sunday chose its most influential leader and its face in the Northeast, Himanta Biswa Sarma, as the 15th Chief Minister of the state. He will take the oath at noon on Monday. Sarma, 52, who held key portfoliosintheoutgoingAssam government, including finance, health and education — succeeds Sarbananda Sonowal as the Chief Minister, garnering an overwhelmingsupportfromthe 75 MLAs of the BJP-led alliance. “As the National Democratic Alliance had a clear majority in the Assam Legislative Assembly, he also staked claim to form the government. The Governor accepted his claim and asked him to form the government,” an official statement from Governor Jagdish Mukhi’s office said. Offeringgratitudetothepeople of Assam, Sarma tweeted, “I would not have been what I am had it not been for your pious faith in me. On this Day, I vow to work with & for each one of you with greater passion Assam.” In another tweet, the chief minister designate thanked Significanceof Sarmaas CM SARMA, WHO was in the Congress for 20 years till 2015, has seen a meteoric rise in the BJP. He played a crucial role in the BJP and its allies sweeping the seven states of the Northeast — 17 out of 24 Lok Sabha seats — in the 2019 elections. He helped the party recover lost ground after it faced stiff opposition following the implementation of the contentious CAA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “How enormously blessed I feel Hon PM Sri @narendramodi for your faith in me. This is the biggest day in my life, and I so fondly cherish your generous affection. I assure you we shall leave no stone unturned to carry forward your vision of taking Assam, & NE to greater heights.” THE CENTRE on Sunday told the Supreme Court that its vaccination policy had been framed to ensure equitable distribution, with the limited availability of vaccines, vulnerability, and the fact that vaccinating the entire country was not possible in one go due to the suddenness of the pandemic,“as theprime consideration”. The policy was “just, equitable, non-discriminatory and basedupon anintelligible differentiatingfactorbetweenthetwo age groups (45 plus and those below)”, it said. The“policythus,conformsto mandateof Article14andArticle 21 of the Constitution of India and is made after several rounds of consultation and discussion with experts, State Government and vaccine manufacturers...”, the Centre said in its affidavit filed before the top court. Thepolicyrequires“nointerference by this Hon’ble Court as while dealing with a pandemic of this magnitude, the Executive does have a room for free play in the joints, in larger public interest”, it said. On April 30, the Supreme CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 U.P. LOCKDOWN TILL MAY 17 PAGE 3 ‘If Mumbai has 6-7% positivity rate, why should we suffer a national lockdown? Decision should be left to states ’ IQBAL SINGH CHAHAL COMMISSIONER, BRIHANMUMBAI MUNICIPAL CORPOATION PAGE 9 ‘Politicians should be among us, but never descend from photographs’ BJP to SP to Cong, little political presence on ground despite rising Covid curve; focus instead on panchayat election DIPANKAR GHOSE KASGANJ, MAY 9 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR Gangwar red flags poor Covid care in Bareilly ASAD REHMAN LUCKNOW, MAY 9 There are few people at the BJP office in Kasganj. Dipankar Ghose COVID IN THE COUNTRYSIDE UTTAR PRADESH AN EXPRESS SERIES PART-3 KASGANJ Lucknow ACTIVE CASES 99 723 APRIL17 MAY8 NEW DELHI, MAY 9 BY UNNY Court, while hearing a suo motu matter with regard to Covid-19 management issues, had called for “revisiting” the Centre’s “revised”Covid-19vaccineprocurement “policy”, saying “the manner in which the current policy has been framed would prima facie result in a detriment to the right to public health, which is an integral element of Article 21 of the Constitution.” Under the Liberalized and Accelerated National Covid-19 UNION MINISTER OF State for Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar had on Thursday,May6,writtentoUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath complaining about delays in admission of Covid patientsinhospitals,blackmarketing of medical equipment such as ventilators, and key health officials in his Lok Sabha constituency Bareilly, not responding to phone calls. On Saturday, Adityanath accompanied Gangwar to Bareilly and took stock of the Covid facilities in the district. The next day, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Vaccines: Should help others but put citizens first, says Sisodia EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE BUSINESS AS USUAL DISTRICT KASGANJ ACROSS CITIES, towns, and even large villages of Uttar Pradesh, the entrances largely follow a pattern. A welcome arch announces the entry, followed by a riot of political posters fighting for space. In front of his halfshuttered shop, under two such posters,onefromtheBJPandthe other from the Samajwadi Party, mechanic Sultan Ahmed says these now evoke anger. “There is a lockdown that is burning a hole in our pockets. And a virus that is killing people and making everyone ill. At a time when these politicians should be among us, they are nowhere to be seen. They never descend from these photographs down to where we live,” Ahmed says. Kasganj is one of Uttar `5.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 People queue up for Covid-19 vaccination at Tagore Hall in Ahmedabad Sunday. Nirmal Harindran How splitting vaccines 50-50 has created new supply bottlenecks PRANAV MUKUL & PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, MAY 9 THE DISTRIBUTION of Covid-19 vaccines across the length and breadth of the country had achieved a degree of cohesion and was more or less seamless despite supply constraints. But the Union government’s decision to decentralise vaccine procurement from May 1, has now presented fresh bottlenecks along the supply chain. The two specific obstacles, THE WORLD according to company and government sources involved in planning the supply chain brass tacks, are: i) absence of scale now, compared with the earlier integrated hub-and-spoke model, and ii) logistical impediments faced by procurers such as individual hospitals or chains and different states. Thisassumessignificancebecause the private healthcare providersorcorporatesandstate governmentsarenowpractically on their own in organising the logistics, in addition to managing procurement of vaccines, NEW DELHI, MAY 9 PAGE 10 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The Express report on May 9 From oxygen plants to transport glitches, govt group identifies issues, sets deadlines HARIKISHAN SHARMA U.S. STATES TURN DOWN VACCINE DOSES AS DEMAND PLUMMETS which is a rationed product today.Newoffshootsarebeingcreated in the journey of Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturing unitstotherecipient,translating into potential delays and higher costs for end-consumers. The logistics prior to May 1 leveraged the state-owned universal immunisation programme (UIP) infrastructure, which had a solid network of around 29,000 cold chain points across the country to store the vaccines at recommended temperatures. DELHI DEPUTY Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday hit out at the Centre for having exported Covid-19 vaccines at a time when they were desperately needed in the country. Referring to a report in The Indian Express, which said that undertheCentre’sVaccineMaitri programme,morethan6.6crore dosesof Covidvaccines—almost all Covishield — were sent to 93 countries, Sisodia said that India needed to learn from the international community and first think about its own citizens. “Despite people falling sick, running around to get hospital beds and oxygen, and dying, we are not being able to save our own people. This has been brought forth by a report in The Indian Express today. The report says that when people in the country were struggling to find beds, falling sick and dying, the Centre was exporting vaccines,” Sisodia said. “When I read this report, I checked the Government of India website and went through these figures. There is a list of 93 countries that we sold vaccines to in the last three months. 6.5 crore doses were sent to citizens WITH THE delivery of medical oxygenhavingalmostdoubledto 8,900metrictonnes(MT)onMay 8fromaround4,800MTonApril 15, the government's Empowered Group has set tight internal deadlines for a range of tasks — from training oxygen tanker drivers to setting up ded- icatedPSAoxygenplants,andacquiring technical and logistic equipment including oxygen concentrators, cylinders, cryogenic tankers, and zeolites. “The government will spare noeffortinreachingoxygentoall patients who need it,” Transport Secretary Giridhar Aramane, who heads the Empowered Group-2, said. “We will work withstategovernments,experts, doctors, and manufacturers to ensure that all available oxygen is supplied to hospitals. We are trying to maximise supply to hospitals,” he said. Aramaneidentifiedthreebig challenges in ensuring oxygen supply. “All the plants are functioningatpeakcapacity.Wehaveput together a separate electricity team. Director/joint secretarylevelofficersandPowerMinistry CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 With Bengaluru crematoriums running out of space, pyres burn at granite quarry outside city DARSHAN DEVAIAH BP BENGALURU, MAY 9 WITHTHEsevendesignatedcrematoriums in Bengaluru for the victims of Covid-19 no longer abletotaketheloadof bodies,an isolated granite quarry has been identified on the outskirts of the city to carry out cremations. Also, a long-unused burial ground in Tavarekere has been designated for Covid-19 burials, Bengaluru Urban District Commissioner Manjunath said. “The granite quarry in Geddanahalli was recently convertedintoacrematoriumtoensure thatthedeadget a dignified cremation. The quarry has been flattened, and we have set up about 15 iron platforms for the pyres,” Manjunath told The Indian Express. Both Geddanahalli and Tavarekere are located to the west of Bengaluru, about 6 km apart.Thenewcremationfacility CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The quarry was flattened to set up the pyres. Express Diaspora doctors dial in with help for patients from Bihar, Jharkhand ANKITA DWIVEDI JOHRI NEW DELHI, MAY 9 “My 70-year-old father has tested positive for Covid-19, his D-Dimer level has increased. What should we do?” “My oxygen level is fluctuating between 90 and 95%. I am trying to find an oxygen cylinder. Is there something that I can do at home? “I am three months pregnant and have tested positive. What impactwillthevirushaveonmychild? When can I take the vaccine?” Between 7 and 8 am on a Thursday morning, these were among the questions that a group of Indian-American doctors fielded on a Zoom session for Covid-19 patients and their family members. As India’s Covid curve rises sharply,stretchinghealthcareresources and often leaving patients with no one to turn to as they grapple with fears and anxieties, a group of around 400 doctors in the US and UK, mostly part of the diaspora from Bihar and Jharkhand, have taken it upon themselves to hear out Covid patients from back home. Led by the Bihar and Jharkhand Association of North America(BJANA),thedoctorsare available on ‘Pran Covid-19 THE SAVIOURS FIGHTING THE SECOND COVID WAVE AN EXPRESS SERIES Helpline’, an initiative started nearly a month ago, when 15 Indian-American doctors grew concerned about the “panic regarding availability of hospital beds, medicines and oxygen” in The helpline was started nearly a month ago, led by doctors from the Bihar and Jharkhand Association of North America the two states. Every day, between 7 and 8 am(Indiatime),thedoctorshold a live Zoom session to provide “general information” regarding Covid-19,apart from specialwebinars on weekends. In case of an emergency, the doctors can also conduct one-on-one online consultancy or call the patient directly, all free of cost. During Thursday’s session, patient after patient asked questions about clotting, use of steroids, recurring fever, immunity boosters, vaccination for children. Some among them, with specific questions, were directed by moderator Alok Kumar, executive member of BJANA and former president of the Federation of Indian Associations, into a separate 'breakout room’ with a doctor. “We are far away from our motherland, and we want to help people with our expertise and experience. There is a lot of confusion and people want to know if they are getting the right treatment. Many people who have reached out to us don’t have access to doctors and we have been advising them on how to handle home treatment. Then there are family members of patients who are in the ICU, who want to understand the di- agnosis and future management,” Kumar told The Indian Express. While the initiative began as an outreach to those from Bihar and Jharkhand, as word spread, patients from neighbouring states too have been logging in. In Thursday's session, as a panel of around 10 doctors fieldedqueriesfrompatients,including many from Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha,Dr AnilSingh,a nephrology specialist from Edison, New Jersey,tried to assurepatients by telling them how the United States was in a similar situation CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Lucknow
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.