Saturday 17 april, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard NCC cadets urge a biker to wear mask in Bikaner | pti Cheating in time of Covid fleeing junta scribes appeal for help Journalists from coup-hit Myanmar holed up in Manipur, fear deportation A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS Page 8 l New Delhi l J8.00 l PAGES 12 A doctor and 3 hospital ward boys were arrested for allegedly stealing Remdesivir injections from dead Covid-19 patients to sell them in the black market, Nagpur DCP V Neelotpal said The Navi Mumbai police have arrested two laboratory owners from Maharashtra's Thane district for allegedly fabricated the RT-PCR test reports of 133 employees of a company Crime Branch in Mumbai busted a fake Covid-19 report- issuing racket and arrested a 26-year-old from Kandivli. Accused was allegedly issuing fake negative reports without conducting tests PM takes stock, urges synergy to ease bottlenecks; Bharat Biotech gets aid to produce more Covaxin; other firms to manufacture Bid to ramp up oxygen, vax production and supply E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Faced with an acute shortage of medical grade oxygen and vaccines in the wake of the massive second Covid wave that is nowhere near its peak, the Centre on Friday sought to ease all bottlenecks as part of its crisis management and step up their production. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did a comprehensive review of the oxygen situation and urged Union ministries and state governments to build synergy to address gaps in the NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 15 April 16 2,00,739 93,528 1,038 2,17,353 1,18,302 1,185 Variants of concern Of about 14,000 Covid samples whose whole genomic sequencing has been carried out, 1,189 tested positive for variants of concern, the Centre said on Friday system. The meeting came a day after the government decided to import 50,000 metric tonnes of oxygen after first claiming that there is enough production capacity within India to meet the demand. To address vaccine shortage, the government sought to scale up production of the indigenous Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, by providing `65 crore aid to the company’s unit in Bengaluru. It has already allowed Mumbai-based Haffkine Institute to produce Covaxin on technology transfer basis. Covaxin’s share in the current vaccine pool in just about 15%, as the present capacity of Bharat Biotech is about 1 crore doses a month. The Centre plans to increase production to 2 crore doses by May-June and by 6-7 crore by July-August, for which talks are on with at least two more companies - Indian Immunologicals Ltd, Hyderabad and BIBCOL, Bulandshehar. The meeting convened by the PM specifically took stock of the oxygen availability in 12 high burden states, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. These states have already been allocated 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT for meeting their projected demand as on April 20, April 25 and April 30, respectively . Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday wrote to the state chief secretaries, advising free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles, saying no curb shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to impose geographical limits on supplies. Meanwhile, a section of the saints camping in Haridwar for the Maha Kumbh were agitated after an akhada claimed the mela would end on Saturday A . final decision will be taken by the Akhada Parishad, the apex body of 13 akhadas. At of now, at least 50 seers have tested positive for Covid 19. They include Mahant Ravindra Puri of the Niranjani Akhada who on Thursday announced that his akhada will consider closure of the mega event on April 17. P7 A deserted Connaught Place after the weekend curfew came into force in the national capital at 10 pm on Friday | parveeN Negi Deaths, cases at record high; CM calls to scale up facilities e x p r e ss ne ws s e r v i c e @ New Delhi Covid victims being cremated at Swarnrekha Ghat in Ranchi on Friday | PTI Maharashtra Aurangabad district administration has acquired the oxygen plant of R L Steel in Chitegaon of Paithan to produce nearly 500 medical grade oxygen cylinders per day New Delhi IndiGo to waive fee to change time or date on domestic tickets that are booked between April 17 and April 30 due to Covid. However, cancellation fee will be chargeable Uttar Pradesh Full lockdown across all UP districts this Sunday Andhra Pradesh Vaccine stock exhausted, just 4,300 doses could be administered on Friday; CM writes to Modi for 60 lakh more doses O2 status check Madhya Pradesh Daily supply up from 130 MT to 295 MT. In 34 districts. 1,273 O 2 concentrators installed till date. Air Concentrator Units are being installed in 8 districts BIHAR Govt claims oxygen availability is sufficient for the next 7-10 days. But private hospitals complain of oxygen scarcity JHARKHAND Govt claims there is no shortage, but patients are facing problems in getting oxygen support. A special task force has been formed to address it Delhi Covid watch Delhi on Friday reported 141 deaths within a span of 24 hours, the city’s highest fatality count since Covid-19 outbreak, while fresh cases surged to a new record high of 19,486. The previous highest death toll was recorded on November 18 when 131 people had succumbed to the infection. The positivity rate dropped marginally from 20.22% on Thursday to 19.69% while the number of tests conducted went up from 82,569 to 98,957. As hospitals struggle with the patient rush amid stretched resources and paucity of beds, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday directed officials to create more Covid facilities and increase the strength of oxygen beds across the Bara Hindu Rao hospital, the biggest health facility run by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, has been converted into a designated Covid-19 treatment centre starting from April 18 where 200 beds and 10 ICU beds will be Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate April 15 April 16 16,699 13,014 54,309 112 8,661 82,569 20.22% 19,486 12,649 61,005 141 9,929 98,957 19.69% available. From April 25 onwards 350 general beds and 10 ICU beds will be available. At a review meeting held by the CM with top officials, the problems being faced by the people regarding bed availability was discussed. As the exponential rise in cases is overwhelming hospital infrastructure, Kejriwal once again pushed for recovery at home and said people in home isolation should be provided with all possible assistance. “Delhi’s home isolation system is the best in the country, and we must continue to set an example. Our health teams should reach out to every patient who is under home isolation. The public should receive all help and assistance,” he Kejriwal. The CM directed the officials to ensure oxygen beds to every patient who is in need. Bed availability should be updated regularly on the Delhi Corona app, he said. “There should be multiple assistance numbers in the hospitals and nodal persons should be appointed at every helpline number. No urgent calls should be missed and turned down,” he said. In order to streamline the government’s response to the crisis, 10 senior officials will be deployed at Covid hospitals. These nodal officers will be overall in-charge of the hospital assigned to them and will take quick decisions for better patient management and public grievance redressal. The name and phone number of the nodal officer will be displayed at prominent places in the hospital. Earlier in the day Deputy CM , Manish Sisodia was appointed ‘Nodal Minister for Corona’ to manage the pandemic. P 4 & 5 Cheque bounce SC norms for fast disposal of cases ‘Night curfew’ on rallies in Bengal, TMC plea to club phases has no takers Ex press News Se rvice @ New Delhi PR a N A B M O N D A L @ Kolkata The Supreme Court on Friday issued a slew of directions for expeditious disposal of cheque bounce cases which have choked the justice delivery system. The court also recommended to the Centre to amend the law to allow one trial in multiple such cases, if transactions involved are the same. A Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, AS Bopanna and Ravindra Bhat asked the Centre to make suitable amendments in the Negotiable Instruments Act for provision of one trial against a person for multiple offences under Section 138 of the Act committed within 12 months. The top court had last year noted that cheque bounce cases constitute almost 30 per cent of total pendency of cases at trial courts and high courts. This pendency was causing a logjam at all levels, the court said. The SC in its order directed all high courts to issue guidelines for trial courts to ensure speedy disposal of cheque bounce cases. To make the process smoother, the court said the evidence in such cases can be tendered by filing affidavits, and there would not be any requirement to physically examine the witnesses.The trial courts have no inherent power to review or recall the issue of summons in the cheque bounce cases, the bench said. IN the all-party meeting called by the Election Commission on Friday there were no takers for , the Trinamool Congess’s suggestion to club the remaining phases of the polls. However, keeping in view the serious Covid situation, the EC asked parties to religiously follow protocols. The poll panel warned them of criminal action in case of violation of Covid guidelines. “Candidates and political parties shall ensure absolute, repeat absolute, adherence to Covid guidelines...” the poll panel said in its order. It asked star campaigners to tell their audience to wear masks in the beginning of the event itself and directed political parties to provide masks and sanitisers to all those who come to attend rallies. The EC cut short the time given for rallies and public meetings by banning them from 7 pm to 10 am. It also extended the silence period from 48 hours to 72 hours for the remaining three phases scheduled to be held on April 22, 26 and 29. Bengal reported 6,747 new cases in the past 24 hours. The Commission’s decision restricting poll campaigns came shortly after the all-party night in day The city witnessed a dust storm on Friday afternoon claiming the life of a 37-year-old woman after a tin sheet fell on her in South West Delhi | Shekhar Yadav | P5 Express read ‘First woman CJI not far off’ DRDO to build 2 Covid hospitals Charges framed against Hooda Supreme Court judge Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman on Friday expressed hope that the time for the first woman Chief Justice of India is not very far off. There have been only eight women judges appointed in the Supreme Court out of a total 247 judges appointed from 1950 till 2020. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has instructed the DRDO to construct two hospitals, with 250-300 beds each, for Covid-19 patients in Lucknow. These hospitals will be constructed on two different places in the city on a mission mode, sources said. A special CBI court in Panchkula on Friday framed charges against former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) plot re-allotment case. The charges were framed under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (party to criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. PNB scam: UK govt clears Nirav Modi’s extradition E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi The British government on Friday cleared the extradition of Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam accused fugitive businessman Nirav Modi to India with UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signing the order. Modi, however, has 28 days to appeal against the district court’s order in a high court. Sources say the process will be a prolonged one as seen in the case of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya who, too, is facing extradition proceedings in the UK. Modi is wanted in India for defrauding PNB and money laundering to the tune of `14,000 crore. The UK Westminster court had allowed the extradition plea and sent the case to the home secretary . A UK judge in February had dismissed M o d i ’s a r g u m e n t s against extra- dition on the grounds of worsening of mental health and poor condition of prisons in India. “I do not accept that Modi was involved in a legitimate business. I find no genuine transactions and believe there is a process of dishonesty. Many of these are a matter for trial in India. Prima facie, there is a case of money laundering,” the judge had said while allow- ing Modi’s extradition. The 50-year-old celebrity jeweller remains behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest over two years ago on March 19, 2019. He had been repeatedly denied bail as he was perceived to be a flight risk. In India, Modi faces a CBI case related to illegal letters of undertaking or loan agreements used to clear crores in loans and the Enforcement Directorate case relating to the laundering. net loss Top star pulls out of Indian Open meeting in which the ruling TMC demanded to conduct the last three phases in one go while Left Front-Congress-Indian Secular Force (ISF) alliance and the BJP requested to follow the existing poll schedule. In the all-party meeting, representatives of political parties barring the TMC requested the EC to issue Covid-19 protocol guideline to be maintained during poll campaigns. The poll panel directed the political parties to provide mask and sanitiser to all who will attend political rallies and meetings. The Commission in its order stated, “It shall be the responsibility of the organisers of public meetings, rallies etc. to provide mask and sanitiser to every person attending these meetings, rallies etc. at their cost which shall be added and counted within limits of prescribed expenditure. Organisers shall also ensure proper usage of masks, sanitisers and also be responsible for maintaining minimum social distance by everyone.” The Commission also warned the candidates and political parties that criminal action could be taken against them in case of violation of Covid guidelines. It further directed all the political parties to adhere to the Covid norms. P8 Olympic champion Carolina Marin and 12 others withdraw from Indian Open badminton scheduled in Delhi due to virus surge | P11
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