DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ` 142 per kilo ` 68 per Dozen BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY INSIDE IN RURAL UP, VACCINE HESITANCY, WASTAGE FEAR PAGE 8 `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Maharashtra govt, BMC receive 8 bids each for vaccine supply, none from manufacturers Facilitator firms claiming to have tie-ups with manufacturers show interest Pfizer says can give 5 cr doses in July-Oct; Moderna next year TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA & LAXMAN SINGH PAYAL BANERJEE & PRASHANT RANGNEKAR MUMBAI, MAY 25 A MAHARASHTRA government global tender has received eight responses from companies claiming they can supply Sputnik V, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The government closed the tender late Tuesday. Mumbai has similarly received bids from one company for Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZenecavaccines,andseven forSputnikVandSputnikVLight. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which floated an expression of interest (EOI) earlier this month, on Tuesday extended its deadline for the second time until June 1. Maharahstra and BMC officials said they directly wrote to all manufacturers but have not received any responses from them. They have received responses only from facilitator firms who claim to have tie-ups with manufacturers with an assured supply. NEW DELHI, MAY 25 At B L Kapur vaccine centre in Delhi Tuesday. Tashi Tobgyal On May 17, the state had floated a tender for 5crore doses withtheconditionthatthecompanies should have US FDA and WHO approvals and also get Uniongovernment’s nodtosupply to Maharashtra. “Most bids received were for Sputnik vaccine, and some for Moderna and Pfizer,” said N Ramaswamy, Directorof MaharashtraNational Health Mission. The rate shared byeightbiddersrangesbetween $ 10 to $ 38 dollars (Rs 728 to Rs 2,767) for each jab. Ramaswamy added that some bidders have offered one crore doses, and one even up to five crore jabs. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that while the bidders have provided rate and quantity, they have not given a timeline CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Wockhardt offers to make 2 billion Covid vaccine doses a year PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, MAY 25 INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL company Wockhardt has told the government it can produce as many as two billion doses a year of most Covid-19 vaccines, starting with a capacity of 500 million doses by February 2022. In a formal submission to the Centre earlier this month, Mumbai-based Wockhardt has CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D ` 116 per kilo REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES ` 88 per kilo ● A quick plan to ● ramp up THE GOVERNMENT has an opportunity to not only diversify its short-term supply of vaccines by using capacities of companies like Wockhardt, but also secure access to vaccines in the long term. MODERNA IS expecting to launch a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine in India next year and is in talks with Cipla among other Indian firms. Another US giant, Pfizer, is ready to offer 5 crore doses in 2021 itself but wants significant regulatory relaxations, including indemnification, sources said Tuesday. With a shortage of vaccines in India, and the need to inoculateabillion-pluspopulation,the Cabinet Secretary held two rounds of meetings last week to assesstheavailabilityof vaccines in the global as well as domestic markets. The meetings were attended by officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, NITI Aayog, Department of Biotechnology,LawMinistryand Health Ministry. In the meetings, it was discussed that Moderna did not ‘Concerned’ as edible oil prices soar to 11-yr high, govt takes stock HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, MAY 25 THE MONTHLY average retail prices of packed edible oils – groundnut, mustard, vanaspati, soya, sunflower and palm oils – have soared this month to their highest levels in over a decade, according to official data. The increase in prices of cooking oils comes in a midst of a pandemic and lockdowns in differentstatesthathavehiteconomic activities. OnMonday, theDepartment ofFood&PublicDistributionheld a meeting with all stakeholders and asked states and businesses to take all possible steps to bring down prices of edible oils. “The need to hold the meeting was also felt because Centre got concerned about more than proportionate rise in the prices of edibleoilinIndiaascompared with the rise in international pricesof edibleoilduringthelast fewmonths,”thestatementsaid. Domestic edible oil prices usually mirror international pricessince60percentof India's demandismetthroughimports. The price of crude palm oil at CONTINUEDONPAGE2 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 PREPARING FOR THE STORM Ahead of Cyclone Yaas, a fisherman secures his boat at Digha in Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal. The cyclone is likely to make landfall near Dhamra Port in Odisha’s Bhadrak district early Wednesday, the IMD said. Partha Paul REPORTPAGE7 Class 12 boards: Centre leans towards exam, at schools RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, MAY 25 WHILE THE Union government is waiting for feedback from states on whether to hold the Class 12 board examination this year,EducationMinisterRamesh Pokhriyal is learned to have underlined the importance of the school-leaving examination at the national consultation held onSunday,whichwasechoedby senior officers of the ministry. PAGE 1 ANCHOR NEW DELHI, MAY 25 SUBODH KUMAR Jaiswal, Director General of the CISF and an IPS officer from the 1985 batch Maharashtra cadre, was named CBI Director Tuesday. A day earlier, when the high-powered selection committee met, at least two frontrunners were knockedoutof contentionwhen Chief Justiceof IndiaNVRamana, one of its three members, drew the attention of the panel to SupremeCourtguidelinesonappointment of police chiefs. It is learnt that CJI Ramana pointed out that the March 2019 guidelinesof theSupremeCourt, on an application by retired IPS officer Prakash Singh, made it clear that no officer with less MUMBAI, MAY 25 Tejpal was accused of sexual assault in 2013 belies” the prosecution's case. In her 527-page judgment made available Tuesday, Additional Sessions Judge KshamaJoshiwrote:“Uponconsidering evidence on record…benefitof doubtisgiven to the accused because there is no corroborative evidence supporting the allegations made by the complainant girl.” For the trial court, the woman’s “behaviour” was a key DEEPTIMAN TIWARY & MANOJ CG CJI is one of three members of selection committee than six months to retirement should be appointed a state police chief. By invoking this direction in the appointment of a CBI chief, the CJI may have set a precedent thatcouldalsoapplytoselection of chiefs for the IB and R&AW. The CJI was firm on this principle and Opposition leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury backed him. Prime Minister CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JAISWAL’S RUN IN MAHARASHTRA P7 KHUSHBOO NARAYAN ‘No medical evidence... messages show she wasn’t terrified’ ACQUITTING Tarun Tejpal, formereditor-in-chief of Tehelka,of the charges of sexually assaulting his then colleague in a Goa hotel in 2013, the District and Sessions judge held that the complainant “did not demonstrate any kind of normative behaviour” that a victim of sexual assault “might plausibly show”. Ruling there was no medical evidence and there were “facts” that“createdoubton(her)truthfulness,” the court said the woman’s messages to the accused“clearlyestablish”thatshe was neither “traumatised nor terrified” and this “completely CJI Ramana sets precedent: Less than 6 months for retirement not eligible PNB-accused Choksi goes missing in Antigua, family claims no clue Acquitting Tejpal, court: Woman did not behave like sexual assault victim PANAJI, MAY 25 CBIgetsachief: Asthana,NIA’s Modioutafter CJIdrewtheline CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘BENEFIT OF DOUBT TO ACCUSED’ MAYURA JANWALKAR S K JAISWAL NEW DIRECTOR Pokhriyal, in his address, said the outcome of the examination impacts every student's life and decidestheirfutureinacademics. While the minister insisted thatstudents'safetywasthegovernment'stoppriority,healsoemphasisedthepitfallsofpromoting studentswithout"reliableassessment". The latter, he added, risks affecting students' career and their prospects in the job market. Pokhriyal, in his concluding remarks, is learned to have also told states that in recent consul- tations with schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had got the stakeholders' "approval" to conduct the Class 12 examination. The National Council of CBSE Schools, too, is in favour of holding the examination, Pohkriyal said. School Education Secretary AnitaKarwaldescribedtheClass 12 exam as "cutting-edge". She issaidto have toldstatesthatthe Union government was keen on going ahead with the exam and CONTINUEDONPAGE2 THE WORLD Last seen on May 23, say police police have conducted numeroussearches,buttonoavail,”the police said in the notice issued on May 24. The police have sought the assistance of the local public to find Choksi. Choksi left India on January 7, 2018, several days before the PNBscamcametolight,andtook theoathof citizenshipof Antigua and Barbuda on January 15. He had applied for citizenship in November2017undertheisland nation's Citizenship by Investment programme. Vijay Aggarwal, Choksi's lawyer in India, said his client's family was not aware of his whereabouts. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Narada arrests: CBI withdraws plea as SC says let HC decide EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 25 BLINKEN: U.S. WILL AID GAZA WITHOUT HELPING HAMAS PRESIDENTIAL VOTE: IRAN BARS ROUHANI ALLIES PAGE 12 FUGITIVE DIAMOND merchant MehulChoksiismissingfromhis homeinAntiguaandBarbuda,the Caribbeannationofwhichhehas been a citizen since early 2018. The 62-year-old Choksi is accused of defrauding the publicsector Punjab National Bank (PNB) of almost Rs 13,600 crore. Choksi'snephewNiravModi,also an accusedin the case,is fighting to ward off extradition from the UK, where he is in prison. Accordingtoanoticeissuedby the Royal Police Force of Antigua andBarbuda,Choksiwasreported missing on May 23 at Antigua's Johnson Point Police Station. “He was last seen at about 5.15 pm on the above-mentioned date before leaving home in a motorcar which has since been recovered. Based on additional information received the WITH THE Supreme Court observing that the matter was pendingbeforetheCalcuttaHigh Court, and it should take a call first, the CBI Tuesday withdrew an appeal over the Narada sting case. The agency had approached the apex court over the High Court sending the four TMC leaders arrested in the case to house arrest. A vacation Bench of Justices VineetSaranandBRGavaiof the Supreme Court pointed out that a five-judge Bench of the Calcutta High Court was seized of the matter. All parties could raise their contentions before the Bench, it said, adding that the High Court was also a constitutional court. “After the five-judge Bench decides, we (can) peruse the opinion of the Calcutta High Court," the Court said. Thetopcourtadded,“Wehave notexpressedanyopiniononthe merits of the case and our observationsdonotreflectourviewson (the) merits of the matter." ThoughtheCBIsoughttolink the High Court order on the four TMC leaders, including two CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 POST-POLL CLASHES: SC NOTICE TO CENTRE, BENGAL P 7 577 children orphaned in second wave of pandemic ESHAROY NEWDELHI,MAY25 OF ALL the Covid numbers swirling in the air, this one doesn’t amount to much. And yet, it will make you pause. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Women and Child Development said that 577 children across the country have been orphaned in the past 55 days by the second wave. According to senior officials, the Ministry began investigating the issue of Covid orphans after messages for adopting them startedfloodingsocialmedia.“We have been in touch with all states and asked them to identify Covid orphans from their districts. We have ascertained, from the data received, that there are currently 577 of them... Delhi, for instance, has one Covid orphan in this period,’’ an official said. The officials did not reveal a state-wise breakupbutsaidthatseveraldidnotreport even one case. Taking to Twitter, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani wrote thattheGovernmentis“committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to Covid-19”. “From 1st April 2021 till 2:00 PMtoday,theStateGovernments &UTsacrossthecountryhavereported 577 children whose parents succumbed to Covid-19,” Irani posted. “We have allotted Rs 10 lakh per district for the non-institutional care of these orphans, which will be distributed by District Magistrates under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. Our aim is that not even onechildslipsthroughthecracks. Our priority, however, is that the childrenberetainedintheirfamilyandcommunitystructuresand notpluckedfromtheseset-ups,”a senior official said. TheMinistry'scountcomesat Inside the classroom of a school turned into a Covid care centre in Mumbai. Reuters a time when several states have announcedwelfaremeasuresfor children orphaned by the pandemic.Delhi,PunjabandMadhya Pradesh are among those that have promised free education apart from financial assistance, while others like Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have announced various welfare schemes.Officialssaidthatanumber of measures have been taken totrackthesechildren–fromwelfare committees in districts to Samvad, an integrated programme for child and adolescent psychosocialcareincollaboration with NIMHANS. OnMay17,theMinistryissued a public notice warning against messages being circulated on social media for the adoption of these children. “There were con- cerns that this could lead to child trafficking.Wehavecarriedoutinvestigations into a large number ofthesemessagesandhavefound allofthem,sofar,tobefake.These have been handed over to the statepolicewhowillcontinuethis investigationalongwiththecyber cells,’’ said an official. TheMinistryhadearlierwrittentostatesaskingthemtomonitor such activity and ensure that thesechildrenbeproducedbefore District Child Welfare Committees. For cases that the CWC sees fit for adoption, the process is to take place through the Central Adoption Resource Agency.
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