DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES OVER 37 LAKH ACTIVE CASES Dismiss plea against Vista project with ‘exemplary costs’: Centre to Delhi HC Massive Covid spread: 533 districts reporting over 10% positivity SOFI AHSAN Centre relaxes RT-PCR norms, tells states to set up 24x7 antigen test booths NEW DELHI, MAY 11 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 11 A DAUGHTER MOURNS, ON BAIL Pinjara Tod activist Natasha Narwal at the cremation of her father in Rohtak on Tuesday. A day after her father Mahavir Narwal died of Covid, the Delhi High Court on Monday released Natasha on interim bail. Manoj Dhaka BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Allahabad HC: EC, higher courts, govt failed to see risks from holding polls ASAD REHMAN LUCKNOW, MAY 11 THE EDITORIAL PAGE LIMITSOFPMJAY, OTHERSIN COVID By HARISH DAMODARAN PAGE 10 THEALLAHABADHighCourthas observed that “the Election Commission, the Higher Courts and the Government failed to fathom the disastrous consequences of permitting the elections in few States and the Panchayat elections in the State of Uttar Pradesh”. While the Covid-19 infection “hadnotreachedthevillagepopulationinitsfirstwave...last year, [it] has now spread to the villages”, the court said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 26 deaths in Goa hospital, Health Minister says CM ‘misguided’ MAYURA JANWALKAR PANAJI, MAY 11 At Rajpath in New Delhi on Tuesday. Abhinav Saha According to the court, the state government “is having tough time in controlling the spread of novel coronavirus in urban areas”, and it would be very difficult to carry out tests, detect infections, and treat the population in the villages. “The State lacks preparation and resources for the same at present,” a single judge Bench of Justice Siddharth said in an order allowing an application for anticipatory bail on Monday. The court observed that on account of the recent panchayat electionsinUttarPradesh,alarge ON A day that Goa reported 75 Covid deaths, its highest singleday coronavirus fatalities, the Health Minister and Chief Minister of the BJP government appearedtodifferover thecause of deathof 26patientsovernight atthestate’slargestCovidfacility andwhetheritwasduetoshortage of oxygen. Health Minister Vishwajit Rane called for a High Court probe into the deaths at Goa Medical College and Hospital Goa CM visiting GMC Hospital on Tuesday. Express (GMCH), between 2 am and 6 am on the night of MondayTuesday, saying these could be dueto oxygen shortage, and that CM Pramod Sawant might be “misguided”. Sawant, who visited Covid19 wards at GMCH in a PPE kit Tuesday morning, held a meeting in the evening with hospital officials,afterwhichhesaidadelay in oxygen supply may have led to a drop in pressure in the central supply at the hospital, adding that it could not be said if the deaths were due to it. Asked about the deaths CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In UP district now reporting highest cases, families cart their own folding cots to ward AMIL BHATNAGAR MEERUT, MAY 11 A FOLDING cot that a family claimstohavegotitself,fansthat don’t work, a roof that is leaking at several places, and a ward overpowered by the stench of a toilet. As Meerut district climbs tothetopof CovidchartsinUttar Pradesh, with 1,368 new cases taking its total active number to COVID IN THE COUNTRYSIDE UTTAR PRADESH AN EXPRESS SERIES PART-5 MEERUT Lucknow ACTIVE CASES 3,745 13,941 APRIL17 MAY11 13,941, its largest government coronavirus facility, Lala Lajpat Rai MemorialMedicalCollege,is struggling to keep up. Vashisht Sharma, a Delhi University student, says the cot on which his father is lying, in a corridor between two rooms in the Emergency Ward, was brought by them. “We were lucky we got our own bed. Things are so bad here, patients CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pappu Yadav in Patna on Tuesday. PTI Days after he ‘raided’ Rudy premises, Pappu held in 1989 case EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE PATNA, MAY 11 FORMER MADHEPURA MP Rajesh Ranjan a.k.a Pappu Yadav was Tuesday arrested by the Patna police on charges of violating Covid protocols, and then handed over to the Madhepura police in connection with an old case. The arrest came three days after Yadav “raided” a place where over two dozen ambulances purchased from the MPLADS funds of BJP Saran Lok Sabha member Rajiv Pratap Rudy were parked, questioning why these were not being used in the Covid crisis. The Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) president,whohasbeenverycritical of the handling of the pandemic by the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar, has been very active amid the coronavirus CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 INSIDE 10 CHILDREN AMONG 28 DEAD AS ISRAEL STRIKES GAZA PAGE 14 KERALA WOMAN KILLED IN ROCKET STRIKE IN ISRAEL PAGE 12 Lifetime of firsts for Kerala’s Communist icon PAGE 1 ANCHOR SHAJU PHILIP THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MAY 11 SHE WAS the woman in Kerala’s Communist pantheon. The first woman law graduatefrom the Ezhavacommunity. A minister in the first democratically elected Communist government of 1957 led by E M S Namboodiripad. The force behind the Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill, which paved the way for historic land reforms by fixing a ceiling for ownership. The rebel, still, at the age of 76 whobrokeawaytostartherown party. K R Gouri, who passed away TuesdayinThiruvananthapuram at the age of 102, was all of this. And yet, she was so much more. She was one of Kerala’s longest serving politicians in a career arching over eight decades, starting with the freedom struggle. She was the wife whose sense of ideology led her to the newly formed CPI(M) after the split of 1964, leaving her husbandandformerCabinetcolleagueTVThomas,behind—politicallyfirst andthen personally. Gouri, or Gouri Amma as she K. R. GOURI 1919-2021 was popularly known, was the woman who suffered unspeakable cruelty at the hands of the police in the early days of the Communist movement in the state. It was an experience that she once summed up in a sentence that still echoes in Kerala’s campuses: “If their lathis had the power to impregnate, I would have conceived several times.’’ But then, her legacy is also that of a temperamental politician who appeared to have lost her political moorings in the final decades. ShesteeredtheJanathipathya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS), the outfitshehadformedin1994af- terherousterfromCPI(M),tothe Congress-led UDF government in2001whenshebecameaminister. But after having won all assembly elections except one from1957to2001,whenshelost in 2006 and 2011 as an UDF ally, Gouri took JSS back to the LDF and reached a reconciliation of sorts with the CPI(M). Gouri was born in 1919 to an aristocraticfamilyatPattanakkad villageof Alappuzhadistrict.She entered politics while in college inKochi,inspiredbyJosephStalin and the Soviet Union — and her elder brother K R Sukumaran, a trade union leader. Later, she obtained a law degree in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AS MANYas533of the country’s 700-plus districts are now reporting a test positivity rate of more than 10 per cent, the governmentsaidonTuesday,underlining the massive spread of the coronavirus infection in rural India in the second wave. A total 13 states have more than 1 lakh active cases; six states have 50,000 to 1 lakh active cases; and 17 states have fewer than 50,000 active cases, the Centre said. The total active case count across the country is now more than 37 lakh. “Since the second wave is raging”, it is time to dilute the Health Ministry’s earlier recommendationthatnomorethan30 per cent of all Covid-19 tests should be Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT), Dr Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A Covid facility with 500 ICU beds is set to open Wednesday at Ramlila Maidan, opposite Delhi’s GTB Hospital. Prem Nath Pandey Virus spread in rural areas may hit recovery further AANCHAL MAGAZINE NEW DELHI, MAY 11 THE DEEPENING of fear in the countrysidewiththerapidspread of Covid-19 in rural areas is likely to further delay the recovery of theservicessectors.Someeconomists hence worry that the impact of the unfolding second wave, with stringent lockdowns in several states, will likely be higherthanthelasttimearound. The fear is expected to impact the rural economy in two CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D THE CENTRE on Tuesday sought dismissalof apetitionseekingan interim stayontheongoingconstructionatCentralVistaAvenue amid the Covid-19 pandemic, telling the Delhi High Court that the petition was “one more attempt” to stall the project. The courtonTuesdaysaiditwillhear the case on Wednesday. “Such attempts are going on since the inception of the project under one pretext or the other and in one name or the other,” said the Union government, adding the petition deserves to be dismissed with “exemplary costs” on the ground “that it is an abuse of the process of law”. The petition filed by Anya Malhotra,atranslator,andSohail Hashmi, historian and documentary filmmaker, states that they are concerned overthe “super spreading potential and threat” posed by the continuing construction at the project site and the plight of the workers whoarebeingexposedtotheinfection on a daily basis. Thegovernment,inawritten reply, said that 400 workers for redevelopment of the Central Vista Avenue were engaged “well before” the imposition of curfew in Delhi and the workers are staying at the site in compliance of the Delhi government’s Covid-19 guidelines. The Centre argued that according to Para 8 of the April 19 order of the Delhi DisasterManagementAuthority, construction activities during curfew are permitted where labourers are residing on-site. “While the arrangements for the stay of the workers were being made at the site, permission was sought for transportation of materials and labour from Sarai KaleKhancampto thework site, `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Second wave ● versusfirst WHAT DISTINGUISHES the second Covid-19 wave from the first is its rapid rural spread. This is likely to disrupt supply chains at the village level. MGNREGA may not be as effective since high case load may prompt a pause in work orders. US eyes joint production of J&J vaccine in India, in touch with SII EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 11 THE US is looking at joint production of Johnson and Johnson’s Covid vaccine in India and ways to help manufacturers like Serum Institute of India (SII) to boost production, Daniel B Smith, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy, said Tuesday. Smith also said that the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, manufactured at a production facility in Baltimore, is not clear and the US Food and Drug Administration has not yet certified those doses. Lastmonth,theWhiteHouse saidtheUSplanstoshare60million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine globally as soon as they CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TRIALS ON CHILDREN AdayafterUSauthorised Pfizervaccinefor12-15yearolds,BharatBiotech’s Covaxinwasrecommendedbyanexpertpanel forphaseII/IIIclinicaltrials on2-18-year-olds,official sourcestoldPTI. PAGE6
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