MONDAY COMMUNITY SPREAD OF COVID IN SOME STATES, GOVT ADMITS 19 ‘PAYING THE PRICE OF NEGLIGENCE’ OCTOBER, 2020 epaper.morningstandard.in ■ Health minister Harsh Vardhan said community spread is limited to only certain districts facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard MALNUTRITION UNDER-5 CHILDREN STUNTED, WASTED NFHS-4 showed number of ‘severely wasted’ kids in India in 2015-16 rose in a decade PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Most difficult time for democracy: Sonia Congress prez assails the Centre, says it has failed people and is bartering away their interests to crony capitalists EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi LAUNCHING a broadside against the Centre, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said it was systematically bartering away the interests of citizens at the altar of profiteering by a handful of crony capitalists, hurting the Constitution and India’s democratic traditions. In her first address to party general secretaries, in-charges as also members and invitees of the reconstituted Congress Working Committee, she urged the cadre to defeat the autocratic designs of the ruling BJP. “Your responsibility is even more onerous as our democracy is passing through its most t u m u l t u o u s t i m e s, ” s h e emphasised. Referring to the party’s campaign against the farm reform laws, Sonia said: “The current BJP government has attacked the very foundation of our resilient agrarian economy by bringing in three anti-agricul- ture black laws. A conspiracy has been hatched to defeat the gains of Green Revolution.” Claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no strategic thinking on tackling Covid-19, she said the stark truth was that a PM who promised to defeat corona within 21 days has abdicated responsibility towards the citizens. “The country was pushed into the abyss of corona pandemic by sheer ineptitude and mismanagement of Modi Government. All this happened as we witnessed the biggest unplanned, unmanaged migration of crores of migrant labourers.” The government has demolished the economy she alleged. “Near, ly 14 crore jobs have been lost. SMEs, small shopkeepers and other enterprises are shutting, yet the government remains a mute spectator.” On the states seeking GST TESTING STATUS 14,506 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted 39,90,438 Total tests done so far 2,10,023 Tests per million DELHI COVID WATCH Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s followers wave as he arrives in a helicopter during an election rally | PTI Bihar polls: Few takers for choppers, LED TVs a rage THIS election season, Bihar is missing its VIP choppers as well as hordes of buses used for ferrying crowds to political rallies. The traditional ‘business’ of elections has come to a grinding halt, almost, thanks to Covid-19 in a state first to face the polls in a pandemic situation. Yet, guess who is happy? The LED TV and screen shop owners as virtual rallies have made a smart entry into the election campaigns. In the 2015 assembly polls, 32 choppers were hired by political parties, including 16 by the BJP This time round, only . 11 choppers have been hired, including six by BJP and the rest by JD-U and other parties. “Strict safety norms of the Union Home Ministry are in force. Party rallies are limited for the three-phase polls. The focus is on virtual rallies through digital platforms,” says a senior BJP leader. He says money thus saved is being used for renting big LED Transporters’ biz hurt, less buses hired There are around 65,000 big passenger buses in Bihar but this time only 100 buses have been hired so far even after the start of physical rallies. In 2015 polls, 25,000 to 35000 buses were hired. screens and other platforms. According to aviation company sources, a singleengine chopper is available for hiring for anywhere between `80,000 and `1.5 lakh depending on the seat capacity and on hourly basis. Hiring a twinengine chopper can cost around `4 lakh. A chopper fetches between `5 lakh and `8 lakh depending on flying hours or when the leaders do more than three rallies in a day This time, CM Ni. tish Kumar and BJP chief JP Nadda are the only ones who have travelled by choppers to address rallies. Ditto for the transporters and the tent suppliers. Shuakat Ali of Patna’s Bharat tent house says his business is almost nil. Uday Kumar Singh, president of Bihar Motor Transporters Federation, says virtual rallies have reduced the bus renting business to almost 2 per cent compared with the 2015 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. There are around 65,000 big passenger buses in Bihar, but this time, only 100 buses have been hired so far. In the 2015 polls, around 35,000 buses were hired by political parties. That count reached more than 40,000 in the 2019 LS polls. “This year, hardly any party has approached us for buses,” says Singh. But many electronic shop owners are a happy lot. A trader who doesn’t want to be named says more than 1.5 lakh pieces of LED screens and TV sets of bigger sizes were sold in the last three months while around 50,000 pieces were rented to political parties. dues, the Congress president said, “How will the state governments help our people, if Government of India was to renege on its constitutional obligations? This must be a first example of economic anarchy being spread by the central government.” She also talked about atrocities on Dalits reported from several states. “The voice of oppressed families is being suppressed by the agencies of the State. Is this the new raj dharma?” Sonia asked. STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 2,863 3,01,716 DEATH 28 6,009 ACTIVE CASES -23,292 TOTAL +VE CASES 3,299 3,31,017 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 15,704 5,034 10,670 CARE CENTRE 8,137 910 6343* HEALTH CENTRE 527 307 220 13,742 HOME ISOLATION *884 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights Source: Delhi health bulletin | October 18 GRIM R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna 61,871 ‘INDIA HIT PEAK IN MID-SEPT, LAXITY MAY SEE A SPIKE’ Fresh coronavirus cases reported in India on Sunday A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS DEADLY VIRUS IN TOXIC DELHI AIR In the season of farm fires, Delhi again faces alarming levels of pollution. This could make Covid-19 problems worse. Experts say govt’s recent steps not enough | P5 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE (March 25) saved large number of lives and the mass migration of workers THE Covid-19 pandemic in May-June did not cause peaked in India in mid-Sep- any sharp rise in cases. tember and active cases “There could have been sigcould fall below 40,000 by nificant adverse impact had February 2021 if sufficient migration been permitted protective measures contin- before lockdown,” accordue, said a committee of ex- ing to the experts. perts constituted by the cenThe panel favoured retral government. sumption of all activities The panel on Sunday with proper safety protowarned the upcoming festi- cols. “If all of us follow val season and onset of win- these protocols, the panter may increase demic can be conthe susceptibility POLLUTION trolled by early LINK to infection and renext year with fewlaxation in protecer active symptoAir pollution tive measures can matic infections may increase lead to about 26 than 40,000 by Febtransmissibility lakh infections ruary end.” of coronavirus, within a month. The scientific experts have Citing the exammembers of the said, warning ple of Kerala, it committee include that those who said there is some Professor M Vidhave had the evidence that large yasagar, FRS (IITinfection in the gatherings cause Hyderabad, chairpast may also rapid spread. “Ker- have to face new man), Professor M ala celebrated Agrawal (IIT-Kanchallenges Onam between Aupur), Professor B gust 22 and SepBagchi (IISc-Bantember 2 and the numbers galore), Professor A Bose have risen from September (ISI-Kolkata), Dr G Kang, 8 by 32%. The effectiveness FRS (CMC Vellore), Lt Gen of medical response dropped M Kanitkar (Deputy Chief, by 22% for Kerala,” it Integrated Defence Staffadded. Medical) and Professor S K The committee was con- Pal (ISI-Kolkata). The panel stituted by the Department used actual migration figof Science and Technology ures from Bihar and Uttar (DST) to evolve a national Pradesh, that saw maximum supermodel for Covid-19 people returning home, to progression on June 1. onclude that actual figures According to the commit- were below the projected CONTINUED ON P7 tee, the initial lockdown ones. @ New Delhi Elderly farmer dies at Scindia’s poll rally Telangana hit by fresh flood; Army deployed in Karnataka HYDERABAD/BENGALURU: At least three people lost their lives in Hyderabad over the past 24 hours as a fresh spell of overnight incessant rain caused flooding on Sunday in parts of the city while , the Army was pressed into service in four affected districts in Karnataka. Over 50 people had died across Telangana, including in Hyderabad, as heavy showers wreaked havoc last week. The situation in Karnataka was equally a matter of concern in four districts with Krishna and Bhima rivers in spate as the Army the , national and state disaster response forces undertook rescue work, evacuating hundreds of marooned people, officials said. Since Saturday evening, lakes and other water bodies are overflowing in Hyderabad. The city had witnessed one of the worst deluges in recent times, with about 20 cm of rains being recorded in the city and its surrounding areas last week. ENS ■ He said Kerala, which has seen big spike in cases, is paying the price of negligence during Onam and other states should learn from its experience An elderly farmer died of heart attack at an election rally in MP’s Khandwa district on Sunday. The farmer, Jeevan Singh of Utawad villagd, died before BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia arrived to address the rally in Mandhata constituency. Before his speech, Scindia asked people to observe two minutes’ silence to mourn his death. Former CM Kamal Nath addresses an election rally in Gwalior| PTI Kamal Nath calls woman minister ‘item’ at rally, invites flak from BJP EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhopal FORMER Madhya Pradesh chief minister and state Congress chief Kamal Nath kicked up a political storm by referring to cabinet minister Imarti Devi, a Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist, as an “item” at al election rally on Sunday . Imarti Devi, the women and child development minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan gover nment and three-time former Congress MLA from Dabra (SC) seat, is seeking reelection as a BJP candidate from the same seat in Gwalior district. Devi held the same portfolio in Nath-led Congress government, which fell seven months back. Addressing a public meeting in support of Congress candidate Suresh Raje, Nath said, “Suresh Raje, our candidate here, is a simple man and not like her. What’s her name, you all know her better than me, you all should have warned me…what an item she is!” The remarks made in Hindi, which came amid the heat of campaigning for the ‘make or break’ bypolls for 28 assembly seats, invited flak from several quarters. “It’s shocking. How can a veteran politician like Kamal Nath make such disrespectful reference about one of our ministers, who was also a cabinet minister in his government. This is shameful and amounts to disrespect to both women as well as Dalits?” said CM Chouhan. A BJP delegation also submitted a complaint to the chief electoral officerin Bhopal, demanding action against Nath for the “sexist” remark. Congress leader Vibha Patel said neither Nath nor any other Congress leader intended to insult women and that the BJP leaders had a habit of raking up unnecessary issues. EXPRESS READ BAD DAYS Assam-Mizo border tense National karate champion forced to sell liquor in Jharkhand Guwahati: Simmering tension prevailed on the Assam-Mizoram border after a violent clash took place between the people of the two states, injuring several, officials said on Sunday. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla will chair a meeting between the two states on Monday. P8 FATF: Pakistan defaults New Delhi:Pakistan’s failure to fulfil six key obligations of the FATF, including action against two of India’s most wanted terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed, and the disappearance of over 4,000 terrorists from its list will most likely lead to its continuation in the FATF ‘grey list’. P7 M U K E S H R A N J A N @Ranchi BIMLA Munda, a national karate champion who has fetched dozens of medals for the state, including a silver in the 34th National Games, is forced to sell ‘handia’ (rice bear) to earn a living. “Due to poor financial conditions of my family I was forced , to start this business during lockdown to earn a living for my family and bear the expenses to continue my karate practice,” said Munda, 26. “In this game, one has to pay the fees from own pockets and bear travelling costs for every tournament, which requires a lot of money she added. ,” The Jharkhand girl says she has so many medals that she does not have proper space at home to keep them safe and most of them are getting broken or discoloure. Munda’s mother used to work as a daily wage labourer but stopped going for work due to old age and poor health. Munda, a graduate in Accounts, started learning karate when she was in Class 5. She played her first tournament in 2008 and bagged her fist medal in a district level tournament. “I bagged silver medal in the 34th National Games organised in Jharkhand in 2011. I also bagged two gold medals during Akshay Kumar International Karate Championship in 2014,” she said. She had hoped to get some scholarship or job from the state government, but no such thing happened. Having no other option, she started selling ‘handia’ along with her moth- er. She lives with her parents and maternal grandfather. Looking at haul of medals and certificates, Munda says she earlier she used to feel proud of her achievements but CM Soren takes note of her plight, orders action Taking note of a tweet by a local journalist on Sunday, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren directed Ranchi Deputy Commissioner through his twitter handle to “provide immediate relief to sister Bimla Munda with the coordination of Sports Secretary”. Bimla Munda with her medals | EXPRESS time has made her face the hard reality . Munda says she won’t seek any financial help from the state government, but wants it to expedite the process of recruitment under which 33 out of 264 sportspersons, who had won medals for the state, were selected for direct recruitment in government jobs in 2019. “We were hopeful after the previous gover nment announced direct recruitment of sportspersons who fetched medals. But it got diminished as time passed on as not efforts were made in this regard by this government,” she said.
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.