friDAY WPI inflation shoots up to 8-year high of 7.39% in March 16 april, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard ipl goes on delhi lose to rajasthan Low base contributes to spike Despite looking like winning, Rishabh Pant’s team suffers defeat in close match A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS Page 11 l New Delhi l J8.00 l WPI inflation was 4.17% in February 2021 and 0.42% in March 2020. The low base of March last year, when the data was computed with a low response rate due to the Covid lockdown, contributed to the spike in March 2021. This is the third straight month of increase in the WPI. The last time WPI showed such a high level was in October 2012, when inflation was 7.4% | P10 PAGES 12 Rising crude oil and metal prices pushed up the wholesale price index (WPI)based inflation in March, government data showed on Thursday 32.1% Inflation of crude petroleum and natural gas in March 2021 Oxygen scarcity continues in maharashtra & madhya pradesh; kumbh mela may end soon, akhada parishad to take final call Didi wants rest of phases clubbed, but EC unwilling New Delhi Weekend curfew to halt march of relentless virus chennai E x p ress N ews ser v i c e @ New Delhi Rejecting rumours that the remaining phases of elections in West Bengal would be clubbed in view of the rising Covid cases, the Election Commission said on Thursday that there is no such plan. Later in the day, Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee urged the Election Commission to consider conducting the remain polls at one go. “Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed @ECISVEEP’s decision to conduct WB polls in 8 phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in #COVID19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the remaining phases in ONE go,” she tweeted. Ex-chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi said the law doesn’t allow shortening the campaign period from the prescribed 14 days but postponing or extending by a few days is possible. “Clubbing with the last phase is doable,” he said. siddhan ta m ishra @ New Delhi Mumbai The Delhi government on Thursday announced a weekend curfew and closure of shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools and auditoriums till April 30 in a bid to get a grip on the Covid-19 situation in the capital which is fast spiralling out of control. The curfew will remain in force from 10 pm this Friday to 5 am on Monday Chief Minister , Arvind Kejriwal announced after a review meeting with Lieutenant -Governor Anil Baijal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain. The CM said it was unanimously decided that people need to travel during weekdays for work and other essential activities, but weekends are usually reserved for leisure and entertainment activities which in the current situation can and must be curtailed. A decision to extend the weekend curfew will be taken after reviewing the situation next week, official said. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority, which issued the order, stated that only one weekly market per day per zone in areas falling under all three municipal corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Containment Board shall be allowed, subject to strict compliance of guidelines. The government will monitor crowds at the weekly markets. Stricter implementation of Covid norms at markets and public places will be ensured. While home delivery of food will be permitted, restaurants will not be allowed to offer dine-in facilities. Public transport such as Delhi Metro, buses, autorickshaws and taxis will operate only for the transportation of those engaged in essential services. The CM also sought to reassure Delhiites saying there was no to panic as enough beds were available in the city However, he request. ed people not to insist on a specific facility and get admitted to whichever hospital a bed is available — government or private. With wedding season on, Kejriwal said the curfew won’t impact such functions since arrangements are made months in advance. Special curfew passes will be issued for wedding functions. “These restrictions are being put in place for you, your families, your health, your lives. We understand these might be of inconvenience for you, but also hope that you understand the need for these in the present conditions and support the government,” he said. Lucknow Clockwise from above: Gateway of India wears a deserted look; New Delhi’s Ambience Mall, too, hardly saw any footfall; A health worker takes swab samples at a railway yard in Chennai; The Bhaisakund crematorium in Lucknow being covered with blue tin sheets after videos showing many dead bodies burning went viral; A Covid-19 patient is given an oxygen mask inside an ambulance, outside the Government Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad; People without masks at the Heritage Street, Amritsar | shekhar yadav/pTI Ahmedabad Cremation grounds bear the brunt as casualties rise na m i ta b a j pai , ra j esh k u m ar t ha k ur , anuraa g sin g h @ Lucknow/Patna/Bhopal BODIES of Covid patients piling up at cremation grounds have become a nightmare for the authorities to handle. While Bihar is getting defunct electric crematoriums restarted in state capital Patna, in Uttar Pradesh the authorities in Lucknow came up with another solution: to cover up the cremation ground at Bhainsakund with tin sheets. The cover (see pic) was built a day after videos showing a large number of burning pyres went viral amid allega- tions of the fatality count being under-reported. The Lucknow municipal authorities on Thursday got the tin sheets put up around the cremation g round’s boundary to block its view from outside. The step was taken keeping in mind people’s safety since it’s a Covidaffected area, they claimed. Given the huge rush of bodies, people are forced to wait for hours to cremate their dear ones. The Lucknow municipal corporation has decided to open more electric crematoriums and also to keep about 50 pyres ready daily to handle the next day’s rush. HC pulls up Gujarat govt for not maintaining data S U D H I R S U YAWA N S H i @ Mumbai The Gujarat High Court on Thursday pulled up the state government for not maintaining the data of Covid-19 dedicated hospitals, vacant beds and testing. A bench headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath said the portal of the state does not provide real-time figures. “It may show there is availability, but when you go to a hospital you will find otherwise,” said Chief Justice Nath. The state said the portal showing is being maintained by an association of hospitals. The court then asked the gov- ernment to take the data under its control and provide accurate information. “You cannot leave it to the association. I fail to understand why people even at this time are looking to make a fast buck,” CJ Nath said. “A lot of families live in a small accommodation. If two test positive, what happens to the others? If parents test positive, who will take care of children? Is there any arrangement for family members?” asked Justice Nath. The court asked ASG Devang Vyas, appearing for the Centrestate, to ensure more oxygen cylinders to the state. It also said testing is very important. In Patna, too, there is a big queue every day, with exhausted cremation ground workers saying they are not even getting time to have food. The Bihar government has instructed that corona patients must be cremated in electric furnaces alone. At Bansghat, where the city’s only electric crematorium was operational, Alok Kumar, a worker, said: “About 20-25 bodies are brought a day.” One body takes 45-60 mins to burn in the furnace. “25-plus bodies means we hardly get a break,” said Niru, 35, another Bansghat worker. Amritsar Continued on Page 7 NATIONWIDE April 14 April 15 1,84,372 82,339 1,027 2,00,739 1,04,507 1,038 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Delhi Covid watch April 15 17,282 9,952 50,736 104 7,598 1,08,534 15.92% 16,699 13,014 54,309 112 8,661 82,569 20.22% congress candidate dies in west bengal Kolkata: Congress candidate Rezaul Haque, who was undergoing treatment in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, died on Thursday. He was the party’s nominee from Samsherganj in Murshidabad district in the West Bengal Assembly elections | P8 E x p ress N ews S er v i c e The daily fresh Covid case count in the country shot past the 2-lakh mark on Thursday morning for the first time, amid reports of acute oxygen scarcity from various states. To get a sense of the public health emergency staring India in the face, the country took just 10 days to double its active cases from 1 lakh to 2 lakh. The US had taken more than 20 days in doubling to 2 lakh. And daily fatalities have crossed 1,000 since the last two days. Many experts fear the current trend may push daily infections up for many days to come and the country may even surpass the highest daily infec- CBI to probe cops who framed Nambi E x p ress N ews ser v i c e @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday accepted Justice D K Jain Committee’s report on the lapses of Kerala Police officers in the ISRO spying case and asked the Centre to hand it over to the CBI for further probe. A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar asked the CBI to submit its report within three months and made it clear that the panel’s report can’t be made public or shared with anyone, including former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan. The court also clarified that the copies of the report can’t be given even to officials named Nambi Narayanan ‘Expose conspiracy’ Welcoming the verdict, Nambi Narayanan said all those who were part of the conspiracy should be brought to light. He said the ISRO spy case was fabricated and that he spent 50 days in custody / jail in it or in the petition. The bench directed the CBI to treat the Jain panel report as a preliminary inquiry report and proceed further. Two-and-a-half-years after it was asked to look into the lapses on the part of the Kerala Police officers in wrongfully arresting Nambi Narayanan in 1994, the Jain Committee recently submitted its report to the SC in a sealed cover. The panel probed the roles of police officers Siby Mathews, K K Joshua and S Vijayan in framing Narayanan. The Supreme Court had on September 14, 2018, ordered the Kerala government to pay a compensation of `50 Lakh to E-passes will be given to those involved in permitted activities Cinema halls will operate at 30% capacity Only one weekly market allowed per day per civic zone Food delivery Public transport such as metro, buses, autorickshaws and taxis (for transportation of only those who are exempted from weekend curfew) Curfew passes will be issued to those whose marriages are scheduled during the weekend curfew timings Person coming from/ going to airports/ railway stations/ISBTs can travel on production of valid ticket Marriage gatherings up to 50 people; up to 20 for cremation Not allowed Malls, Gyms, Swimming pools and Spas, Bars Auditoriums Dine-in facilities in restaurants Entertainment parks Assembly halls Dining at restaurants Daily cases cross 2 lakh, double in 10 days @ New Delhi April 14 Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate ALLOWED All essential services the former ISRO scientist. “There can be no scintilla of doubt that the appellant, a successful scientist having national reputation, has been compelled to undergo immense humiliation. The lackadaisical attitude of the state police to arrest anyone and put him in police custody has made the appellant suffer the ignominy,” the court had observed. “The dignity of a person gets shocked when psycho-pathological treatment is meted out to him. A human being cries for justice when he feels the insensible act has crucified his self-respect. That warrants grant of compensation under the public law remedy .” tions of over 3 lakh registered in the US in early January . Amid all the anxiety about the ongoing Maha Kumbh in Uttarakhand becoming a super spreader, there was some selfregulation as the Shri Panchayati Niranjani Akhada, one of the 13 participating akhadas, announced the conclusion of the mega event on April 17 instead of the scheduled May 8 in view of the pandemic. A final call will be taken by the apex Tika Utsav 1.28 crore vax doses administered during 4-day Tika Utsav. But four days prior to that, 1.45 crore vaccine doses were administered body of 13 akhadas, the Akhada Parishad. As many as 2,269 positive cases have been detected so far in the mela area. Maharashtra stayed on top of the chart with 61,695 cases and 349 fatalities. As many as 36 lakh patients are in home quarantine while 27,273 are under institutional quarantine. With UP recording 22,439 cases and staying at second highest on the national list, the government decided to increase NEET PG exam National Eligibility-CumEntrance Test for PG courses scheduled to be held on April 18 postponed Train services up The Railways has pushed its train operations to 70% of pre-Covid level to handle the rush of migrant workers trying to return home the time of night curfew across the state. Also, to handle the migrant rush, the UP government has directed all district magistrates to open quarantine centres and kitchens for thom. With the demand for oxygen shooting in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the Centre will import 50,000 metric tonnes of oxygen, while its production capacity has been mapped to match the requirement. In view of the alarming scenario, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will hold a virtual meeting with all presiding officers of legislative bodies on Monday to discuss the situation and the role of public representatives, while Union Home Ministry has introduced staggered timings in its offices. Decide on Collegium’s recommendations in a ‘reasonable timeframe’, SC tells govt E x p ress N ews ser v i c e @ New Delhi Expressing concern over the Centre’s inordinate delay in responding to the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendations for appointment of judges, the apex court on Thursday sought a ‘reasonable time frame’ from the government for a decision. It pointed out that 10 names recommended by the Collegium were pending with the government for a year-and-half. Attorney General K K Venugopal said the government will take a decision within three months. While reserving the order on a plea filed by NGO Lok Prahari seeking appointment of additional judges in high courts under Article 224A of the Constitution to reduce the pendency of cases, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde also flagged the rise in false complaints against judges. The bench said judg es should not be made to feel insecure because of that and there should be clarity about their tenure. The bench favoured fixing the tenure of two or more years for ad-hoc judges if they are appointed in high courts. “The position of judge has to be made secure. We have seen allegations against judges which are shockingly false. You can easily knock out a judge if there is no security. There has to be security of tenure for ad-hoc judges,” the CJI said. Meanwhile, while hearing another plea filed by SC Women Lawyers Association seeking appointment of meritorious women advocates as judges in high courts, the CJI said many women lawyers have declined judgeship citing domestic responsibilities.
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