saturDAY advocate on EC’s panel quits Citing conflict of values 08 Mohit D Ram resigned stating that his values were not in consonance with the current functioning of the poll watchdog may, 2021 resigns day after sc rejects ec plaint epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard change in stand Third wave can be avoided Two days after saying it’s inevitable, Centre’s scientific advisor says it’s not A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS Page 7 l New Delhi l J8.00 l PAGES 12 Prioritise beneficiaries, Centre tells states Fresh directive says 70:30 ratio should be maintained in second and first doses while using Central vaccine quota Over 64K healthcare workers got 2nd dose s u m i s u k a n ya d u t ta @ New Delhi Amid a massive Covid-19 vaccine shortage that has slowed down the pace of immunisation against the virus across the country the Centre has now , asked the states to prioritise the beneficiaries of the second dose and ensure that the recommended vaccination schedule is maintained. The Union government has also asked state governments to utilise supplies of vaccines from the Central quota in a 70:30 ratio for second and first dose, respectively The directive . comes amid concerns in most states that the recommended vaccination schedule for a large number of beneficiaries is getting hampered due to inadequate supplies. As per government guidelines, the recommended gap between two doses of Covaxin is 4-6 weeks and for Covishield 4-8 weeks. So far, first dose of Covid-19 vaccines have been given to 95,19,788 healthcare workers. The number of healthcare workers to have got the second dose is 64,28,032. When it comes to frontline workers, 1,38,49,396 have taken the first dose, while 76,31,653 of them have got the second, said a statement from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday. A Covid-19 vaccination programme in progress in Ajmer on Friday | pti Under the liberalised and decentralised vaccination policy of the Centre since May 1, all the supplies sent out by the Union government can be used only for people above 45 years. Beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group can get jabs secured by states and private hospitals. There are anecdotal reports that many in the 45-plus age group, who have taken first shots, are struggling to secure vaccination slots on the gov- black market profiteering adds to patient stress Private hospitals demand huge sums up front for admission; ambulances make a killing and so do oxygen cylinder providers; pulse oximeters cost a bomb in most places Chandigarh Ambulance to Delhi with oxygen and ventilator Normal cost Now Hyderabad Five-litre imported oxygen concentrator Normal cost Maharashtra Tocilizumab to treat severe cases Now Normal cost Now Bihar Oximeters essential to check oxygen saturation Normal cost Now H 15,000 H 35,000 H 40k-60k H 95k-1.2L H 45,000 H1.2L H 1,800 H 3,500 eXPR E SS n E WS S E RVIC E I t is not just that the totally inept national healthcare management has made the second wave of Covid-19 more lethal than it ought to have been. It’s that pandemic profiteering by vultures in the system has amplified patient distress and even led to loss of lives. From oximeters to oxygen to ambulances to hospital beds and life saving medicines, the prices of all of them have jumped manifold. Even in states that imposed a price cap on those services, there is hardly any regulatory system to curb fleecing. Amid a surge in Covid cases, the demand for hand sanitisers, masks, pulse oximeters and thermal scanners has gone up. With no cap in the pricing or mechanism to ensure the quality, the market is flooded with low-quality products. For example, a pulse oximeter which used to cost around `300 a few months ago now costs upwards of `3,000 in many states. In Tamil Nadu, an oximeter was priced at `700 in March. But one has to shell out `3,000 to buy it now. The inflation in price is almost the same across the country — from around `900 before the pandemic to up to `3,500 now. According to sources, medical shops get branded oximeters priced between `900 and `5,000, for which MRP is charged. However, products from some Chinese companies will not have MRPs on them. “This is where overpricing occurs. Though the cost is only `700-1,200, medical shops charge up to three times that amount,” said a source. The demand, as well as price, of infrared thermal scanners has also shot up. “During the first wave, the price of infrared thermal scanners had gone up and later the demand declined. Till recently, the price was around `500. But now the price China said Friday the risk of damage from a rocket falling back to Earth was “extremely low”, after the United States warned it could crash down on to an inhabited area. Military experts in the US expect the body of the rocket to come down some time around Saturday or Sunday and warned it was difficult to predict where it will land and when. 12 saturday new delhi epaper.morningstandard in 08 05 2021 l l Despite challenges in these desperate times, many NGOs, organisations and volunteers are actively engaged in helping those in need by providing food, shelter, running errands, animal care...you name it. These selfless bunch of people are keeping the spirit of humanity alive. In the first of a series, here’s the list of a few KErala sahrudaya, charitable organisation Sahrudaya, a charitable organisation under Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro Malabar Church, caters to the needs of the destitute in the district under its project ‘Karunya Sparsham’. Food packets are distributed on all weekends. Ernakulam 0484-2344243 People For Animals (PFA) The organisation has been engaged in rescue, rehabilitation, feeding and taking care of animals. PFA provides shelter for pets when all family members are Covid positive. Thiruvanathapuram 9061607700 Fr Davis chiramel’s hunger hunt Fr Davis Chiramel, Founder of Kidney Federation of India, is engaged in feeding those requiring food anywhere in Kerala. This priest has started another humanitarian effort to provide food for those in his locality — Thrissur — in coordination with a group of people. Thrissur 9447883378 Rakshak Accident and Rescue service Alapuzha TElangana 9400778362 Angamaly (Ernakulam) 9847048674 Annapoorna charitable foundation The NGO distributes food kits to the poor in society. Providing food and essential items to those who are in need during the pandemic. They are also helping in blood donation. Kannur 94477 35845 The volunteers have stepped into social service like, giving food to the beggars, protecting animals, taking care of around 200 palliative patients and providing ambulance services. Mattannur, Kannur 0490 2473512 pet care sehion Preshita sangam She takes care of pets especially dogs and has been offering her service to people who have been quarantined or hospitalised. She will visit the pets and feed them. 9847727088 Kochi For speech and hearing impaired National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) has launched a 24*7 helpline exclusively for speech and hearing-impaired persons. The helpline offers counselling services to stressrelated issues in addition to answering queries and concerns relating to Covid-19. Sign language interpreters are available to attend WhatsApp video calls. 9061080017 hachiko Hachiko is a dedicated pet boarding, grooming and pet clinic in Vennala. Since March, Hachiko provides facilities for pets whose owners are in isolation or quarantine. Have clinic facilities, pet supplies and other facilities at the center. Kochi With illegal online sale of remdesivir injections and other Covid-related resources, cyber crime is increasing. They help in filing such complaints. Hyderabad 9133266399 https://twitter.com/cyberjagrithi Feed the needy The group is helping people to coordinate with patients and donors for plasma donation. They are also helping with ambulance service. Hyderabad 7995404040 No food waste Providing free ambulance, food and medicine kit to patients isolated at home. They renting out oxygen cylinders (two) and concentrators (two) without fee. Hyderabad 9866006269 @nfw_hyderabad shakina Foundation The foundation is providing free food, oxygen cylinder, isolation centres, medicine, oxygen on wheels. Hyderabad 8008008012 Rikit shahi sachithra soman The organisation has been providing food for those in quarantine and also those suffering due to the lockdown, besides the poor. The central kitchen provides food for over 1,000 people and this sometimes goes above 2,000. TaMIl nadU cyber Jagrithi Malappurram email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Mini sports and Arts club The service is providing help by getting medicines and other facilities for Covid care. The NGO helps people get medicines that are unavailable in their area. Those in need can contact Rakshak 24/7 Edakochi hand of good lockdown. Oncologists will attend to cases through video calls. Rajiv Youth Foundation The Malappuram-based NGO provides home delivery of food kits and medicines to people during lockdown. 9746061123 Delivery of commodities or run errand for any one in home isolation in Khairatabad area Khairatabad, Hyderabad 9963033832 Relief riders They are delivering medicines at the doorsteps of elderly people, epsecially to those who cannot venture out due to the the pandemic. Hyderabad 9566170334 seva Bharthi The organisation is providing beds in Covid isolation centre at RVK School, Annojiguda, for mild and asymptomatic cases. Everything is free. Hyderabad ambulance help 040-48212529 Rajasthan Youth Association cosmo Elite Foundation The foundation is providing free lunch to Covid patients in home quarantine. They have provided food to more than 2,800 patients around the city since launched last week. Chennai 99405 63528 Relief Riders They help in buying groceries, essentials and overthe-counter medicines for Covid patients in home quarantine and senior citizens. The group has two doctors among them to verify the medicines. They plan to start food delivery too. Chennai 9884089770 karunai Ullangal The group runs free emergency rescue vehicles to transfer patients from one hospital to another, get CT and other scans or pick up and drop services to and from government hospitals. They have two vehicles with oxygen, one normal rescue van and an auto-rickshaw. Chennai 9841776685 Pasi illa thamilaham The NGO is performing last rites of Covid victims along with a free hearse service. They bury or cremate the corpse and conduct rituals according to the victim’s religion. They also distribute food for the homeless on Sundays. Tenkasi 88833 40888 community kitchen Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho, said that his company’s community kitchen has begun providing meals to people in Tenkasi. People who have been struggling for food can get a meal there. Tenkasi 97914 26564 R soya (self help group in coordination with Tirunelveli Corporation) andhra seven hills Arcade Residents of this society have set up provisions to distribute food to patients in home isolation. Report needed to avail free services. Vidyanagar (Tirupati) 7382013870/9100640979 YMJ trust Provides food to patients’ relatives who wait at government and private hospitals. The trust also offers financial help to those in need and provide an ambulance service Kanniyakumari 7010259901 Rajesh Udhavum karangal Ambulance service, hearse vans and last rites of Covid victims. Also distribution of food to those in need, especially during Sunday lockdowns. Aruppukottai (Virudhunagar) 98421 22046 / 7010763134 Virudhai Vizhudhugal Distribution of food to the homeless as well as other programmes like door delivery of items to patients in isolation. Virudhunagar 99941 81139 Anbaal inaivom ilaignargal sangam Distribution of food to the homeless as well as those in quarantine. Also supply of medicines and food if there is demand. Subsidisation of grocery items in villages and town area Sivakasi 73392 37879 Aram trust Last rites of Covid patients and, distribution of food and medicines to isolating patients. Rajapalayam 93453 96026 90807 70910 / Food on pushcart student organisation A team of students working in an organisation is supplying medicines and other essential commodities to Covid patients in home isolation Gudur, Nellore The forum is providing free food for Covid positive patients in home isolation. Visakhapatnam 9603648754, 7893656403, 8106407087 homemade goodness Providing free food to families in home isolation. Visakhapatnam Ashakiranam Their cancer care campaign under Caritas India has launched a telemedicine helpline for cancer patients who can’t travel to hospitals during the All Kerala Ambulance Owners and Drivers Association has been on the forefront of helping people reach hospitals on time. They help make available vehicles in areas which has a dearth of it anywhere in the state. 9895261141, 9846021141 Carbon emissions from energy dropped by 10% in EU last year pet care scoobies Pet service They pick up and take care of your pet incase you are Covid positive Hyderabad 9603733207/964255967 They distribute food to approximately 1500 people every day. They are also providing shelter at two homes for the homeless (at the Corporation as well as at a shelter near the high ground in the city) Tirunelveli 9976649066 6300667177 satish savitri sarella Sarella of Future-India Foundation is delivering food packets to people in home isolation. Vijayawada 8317553253 cooking food Padmaja, a cooking teacher (also part of Art of Living) and her team are providing food packets to those in home Isolation and unable to cook Vijayawada 9618000399 sanjeevini seva trust V Venkataramana Reddy of the trust is helping in transporting unclaimed bodies of Covid victims and performing their last rites. Anantapur 9440476651 To cater to the needs of daily-wage labourers, who have lost their source of income due to Covid, a financier has come up with a novel way to give them food. He places food parcels and bananas in a pushcart near Gobichettipalayam bus stand Uday Kumar of Life World Charitable Trust in Hindupur of Anantapur district, with the help of his friends, is performing last rites of victims. Sri Sathya Sai Seva May i help You Gobichettipalayam The organisation will be providing lunch to patients in isolation from Saturday. Salem 9994349579, 9487569702 Life World charitable trust Hindupur 9908052099 Arranging transportation to hospitals, taking care of aged and those orphaned. They are also performing last rites of Covid victims Prodattur, Kadapa the brighter side: P12 9446750983, 9496918178, Anywhere 9249505723. 9505908258 Nari sena global Women Forum pet care Urvanam The animal rescue group offers free pet care if families are down with Covid. They take care of dogs, cats, birds and fish. Madurai 9940832133 9494835378 the Bashas SK Mehaboob Basha and brother SK Jillani are providing free food and operating ambulances for free transportation of patients to hospitals and shifting bodies to burial grounds. Kadapa 9441030986 Everest open but get tested, keep distance Volcano erupts in Indonesia’s Sumatra island has gone up to `1500-2,000 again,” said All Kerala Chemist and Druggist Association Ernakulam district president P V Tomy . It is superb hearing in a small theropod suggest was a moonlight predator Night vision and the same storyitfor essential drugs. A pharmacist working in a private hospital in Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu said Covid patients are fleeced by private hospitals and pharmacies in several ways. “Ulinastatin, Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate, and Enoxaparin Sodium injections are currently sold three times their MRPs. A respiratory exerciser worth `250 is sold for `900 in the pharmacies attached to hospitals. A high concentration oxygen mask worth `300 is sold for `1,100,” he added. An official with the Tenkasi government hospital said priclimate change BRUSSeLS: Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion dropped 10 per cent in the european Union last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to estimates from the eU’s statistical office. eurostat said in a statement Friday that emissions fell in all of the eU’s 27 member nations compared to 2019 as governments imposed lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus. greece recorded the largest decrease (-18.7per cent), followed by estonia (-18.1per cent), Luxembourg (-17.9per cent), Spain (-16.2per cent) and Denmark (-14.8per cent). The countries with the smallest reductions were Malta (-1per cent), Hungary (-1.7per cent), Ireland (-2.6per cent) and Lithuania (-2.6per cent). eurostat said the sources of the cutbacks varied. ‘The largest decreases were seen for all types of coals. The consumption of oil and oil products also decreased in almost all member states, while natural gas consumption decreased only in 15 member states and increased or stayed at the same level in the 12 others,’ the office said. CO2 emissions from energy consumption account for about 75per cent of all man-made greenhouse gases in the eU. The amounts produced are influenced by many factors, including economic growth, transportation and industrial activities. As part of the ‘european green Deal,” the eU has committed itself to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Brussels is also aiming to become ‘climate-neutral’ by midcentury . Scientists say this goal needs to be achieved to keep average global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) by the year 2100. environment adventure MeDAn (InDOneSIA): Indon e s i a ’s r u m bl i n g M o u n t Sinabung erupted Friday spew, ing a thick column of volcanic ash 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles) into the sky . Villages near the volcano in north Sumatra province have been relocated after past eruptions, and there were no further evacuations or casualties from the new blast. People have been advised to stay 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the crater’s mouth and to be aware of ashfall and avalanches of volcanic debris. Activity at the volcano was increasing, with at least 15 smaller eruptions recorded in the past week, said Armen Putra, an official at the Sinabung monitoring post. ‘The potential for eruption is still high. There will be more eruption in the near future,’ Putra said. Sinabung is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, and some 30,000 people have been forced to leave nearby homes in the past few years. Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is located on the ‘Ring of Fire,’ an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Ocean. BeIjIng: China has opened Mount everest’s norther n slope to a few dozen mountaineers who will be tested for the coronavirus and must keep their distance while ascending the world’s highest peak. Both nepal and China closed the mountain to foreign climbers last year because of the pandemic. nepal has allowed in foreign climbers this season despite a surging COVID-19 outbreak, and at least one climber, a norwegian, confirmed last month he had contracted the virus. nepal mountaineering officials have denied any outbreak on the mountain, citing only altitude sickness and other ailments common in the cold, harsh, low-oxygen environment where climbers stay in close quarters. This week, the Himalayan nation halted all flights as part of a strict lockdown of its capital and major cities amid its recent surge. In contrast, China, where COVID-19 first emerged, has now largely contained domestic transmission of the virus, but it has maintained restric- tions such as health checks and is on guard against imported cases. The 38 people who were issued Chinese permits to climb the peak, known as Qomolongma in Tibetan, must come from parts of China that are at low risk for infection and must show a clean bill of health before attempting the summit, state media reported Friday . They must undergo temperature checks regularly use bot, tled oxygen and stay 4 meters (13 feet) from other climbers at the summit. They will be provided masks, thermometers and disinfectant. Climbing schedules from the south side of the mountain, which is in nepal, will be consulted so packs of climbers don’t meet, said nyima Tsering, head of the bureau overseeing Chinese climbing operations. People not registered to climb on the Chinese side are strictly barred from that side. Last year, China used the break in climbing to haul some 6 tons of garbage off the mountain that has attracted everlarger groups of climbers enabled by commercial mountaineering companies. Since the individual bony ossicles of these rings fell apart after these animals died more than 60 million years ago, our team made scans of the fossils and then digitally reconstructed the eyes. Of all the theropods we examined, H. sollers and S. deserti had some of the proportionally largest pupils. S. deserti‘s pupil made up more than half of its eye, very similar to night-vision specialists that live today like geckos and nightjars. In today’s nocturnal animals, hearing can be as important as keen eyesight. To figure out how well these extinct dinosaurs could hear, we scanned the skulls of 17 fossil theropods to decipher structure of their inner ears and then compared our scans to the ears of modern animals. All vertebrates have a tubelike canal called the cochlea in their inner ear. Studies of living mammals and birds show the longer this canal, the wider the range of frequencies an animal can hear and the better they can hear very faint sounds. Spewing fire Mount Sinabung erupted in North Sumatra on Friday I AP sight-kick paleontology Today, barn owls, bats, leopards and many other animals rely on their keen senses to live and hunt under the dim light of stars. These nighttime specialists avoid the competition of daylight hours, hunting their prey under the cloak of darkness, often using a combination of night vision and acute hearing. But was there nightlife 100 million years ago? In a world without owls or leopards, were dinosaurs working the night shift? If so, what senses did they use to find food and avoid predators in the darkness? To better understand the senses of dinosaur ancestors of birds, our team of paleontologists and paleobiolo gists scoured research papers and museum collections looking for fossils that preserved delicate eye and ear structures. And we found some. Using scans of fossilised dinosaur skulls, in a paper published in the journal Science on May 6, 2021, we describe the most convincing evidence to date for nocturnal dinosaurs. Two fossil species – Haplocheirus sollers and Shuvuuia deserti – likely had extremely good night vision. But our work also shows that S. deserti also had incredibly sensitive hearing similar to modern-day owls. This is the first time these two traits have been found in the same fossil, suggesting that this small, desertdwelling dinosaur that lived in ancient Mongolia was probably a specialised night-hunter of insects and small mammals. Looking to theropods By studying fossilised eye bones, one of us, Lars Schmitz, had previously found that some small predatory dinosaurs may have hunted at night. Most of these potentially nocturnal hunters were theropods, the group of three-toed dinosaurs that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and modern birds. But to date, fossils for only 12 theropod species included the eye structures that can tell paleontologists about night vision. Eye bones for night Scleral ossicles are thin, rectangular bone plates that form a ring-like structure surrounding the pupils of lizards as well as birds and their ancestors – dinosaurs. Scleral rings define the largest possible size of an animal’s pupil and can tell you how well that animal can see at night. The larger the pupil compared to the size of the eye, the better a dinosaur could see in the dark. vate hospitals were paying `10,000-13,000 bribe to health workers for referring Covid patients to them. “The amount spent on bribing does not matter to these hospitals as they collect `1.5-6 lakh from each Covid patient,” he added. Similarly private ambulance , charges have also risen multiple times. If the charge was `1,000 for a certain distance before the pandemic, it would be around `7,000 now. Sangeeta Mishra, a resident of Uppal in Hyderabd hired an ambulance to ferry a Covid-19 patient to a hospital in Secunderabad — a distance of 10 km. It cost her `15,000. There have been many cases of people shelling out more than `30,000 for ferrying patients within the city limits. Getting admission in hospit a l s h a s n eve r b e e n s o difficult. Many hospitals in Hyderabad demand an upfront payment of `5 lakh saying initial charges will be drawn from the same. And, people are willing pay this due to scarcity of beds in government hospitals. continued on: P8 First person account O2 supplier We were told cheated us to pay `5L when my oxygen saturation plummeted to 88%, I was recommended an oxygen concentrator, a device that separates and supplies oxygen from ambient air. We were told the selling price was`90,000 but rental would be only `22,000. As we could not afford the price, we chose to rent it. Later, through a doctor, we found that the actual rental was only `4,000 and the device’s price less than `45,000. We had to borrow money to get the concentrator on rent. Cheating people in times of distress is inhuman S Prabhakar, Tamil Nadu My brother tested positive and on April 15 was rushed to Abhaya Medical Care Centre at AV Road in Rajamahendravaram. They gave prescription for 10 days and suggested home isolation. However, during home isolation, he experienced breathing problems. We rushed him to hospital, where after tests, they asked us to pay `2.5 lakh for an oxygen bed but at the last minute said there were no beds. We hired an ambulance and took him to another hospital, where we were asked to pay `5 lakh Basheer Ahmed, Andhra ernment’s portal as there is no preference given to them over those who are to get the first shots. The fresh directive from the Centre asked states to carry out regular review of coverage of the vaccination drive to formulate and implement strategy for such prioritisation. An effective communication strategy must be implemented for full two-dose protection to all priority beneficiary groups, the states were instructed. As per figures shared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a total of 16.50 crore doses have been administered in the country so far, of which 13.21 crore are first doses and 3.29 crore are the second. Till Friday morning, 11.81 lakh persons in the 18-44-year age group had received their first jabs, but it is mostly through corporate hospitals or state quota. The Centre said that while the government has already provided more than 17.35 crore doses to the states for free so far, more than 90 lakh doses are still available in stock with them. In addition, around 10 lakh doses are set to reach states within three days. Many states have said that their vaccination programme is crawling owing to supply issues even though there is great rush for inoculations. Ram had been a panel counsel for the Election Commission in the Supreme Court since 2013. His resignation comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected a petition by the poll panel, seeking to expunge pungent remarks of the Madras High Court on holding elections during the pandemic, saying they were not part of the written order. Ram was not part of the case Court had refused to gag media The Supreme Court had also refused to bar media organisations from reporting the oral observations made by various courts “Media is powerful and communicates what happens in court... Not only judgments, but raising questions, answers and dialogues. It not reporting observations is farfetched,” the SC had said Panel counsel quits Election Commission E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi A lawyer, who has been representing the Election Commission (EC) before the Supreme Court, has resigned from its team of advocates, saying his values were not in consonance with the functioning of the poll panel. Advocate Mohit D Ram was a counsel for the EC in the Supreme Court since 2013. In his resignation letter addressed to the Director (Law of ECI), Ram said: “I have found that my values are not in consonance with the current functioning of the ECI and hence I withdraw myself from the responsibilities of its panel counsel before the Supreme Court of India.” Ram’s association with ECI started in 2013 when he was appointed standing counsel. He later became one of its panel counsel. “It was an honour to represent the ECI. I had a cherishing milestone of my career, in the journey which began with being part of the office of Standing Counsel of ECI and progressed as one of the panel counsels of ECI (since 2013),” Ram’s resignation letter said. The poll body has been countering one controversy after another in recent weeks. On Thursday the Su, preme Court rejected a plea by the Commission seeking a gag on media from reporting oral observations made by judges. Earlier, the EC had refused to listen to the demand of TMC of clubbing the last three phases of West Bengal Assembly polls together amidst the rising cases of Covid-19 in the state. It also faced criticism for handing Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee a 24-hour campaigning ban in the middle of poll proceedings in the state. Concentrators seized from Khan Chacha restaurant g ayat h r i m a n i @ New Delhi A day after busting a racket of oxygen concentrator blackmarketing, operating out of a restaurant in Lodhi Colony, Delhi Police conducted multple raids in eateries owned by Navneet Kalra in the Khan Market area and recovered 105 concentrators from Khan Chacha restaurant and Town Hall Restaurant and Bar. The police also arrested Gaurav Khanna, the CEO of Matrix Cellular, through which the oxygen concentrators had been imported to India. They recovered nine concentrators from the Town Hall restaurant SC asks Delhi HC to hear petition on Central Vista E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e Policemen conduct a raid at Khan Chacha restaurant on Friday | PTI and 96 more from the famed Khan Chacha restaurant. On Thursday, 419 concentrators were recovered from Nege Ju restaurant. Police believe the kingpin behind this is Navneet Kalra, who owns all three places. According to police, he is on the cused namely Hitesh disclosed about illegal storage of more oxygen concentrators at restaurants in the Khan Market area,”said the officer. Searches were conducted in Town Hall and Khan Chacha resaurants. With this, the total number of oxygen concentrators seized in the past two days has gone up to 524. Police also shared a video of Khan Chacha restaurant, with cartons stored inside its premises and people queuing up outside the restaurant. According to sources, the oxygen concentrators were imported from Europe by Kalra, with the help of his friends. Express read Vardhan talks to US counterpart New Delhi: Union Health Minister Vardhan on Friday interacted with US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, and addressed global challenges faced by the countries due to the pandemic. During the virtual interaction, Vardhan said they would work closely on bilateral cooperation and address challenges together. @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Friday requested the Delhi High Court to consider hearing urgently a plea seeking suspension of construction activity on some stretches of the Central Vista project due to the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in the capital. A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari requested the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to consider an urgent hearing. “Since the matter is pending before the high court and the appeal is against the order of adjournment, we are not inclined to enter into the merits of the case,” the bench said. The court was hearing a plea filed by Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi, who had approached the high court, questioning the urgency in carrying on with construction activity on three stretches of the Central Vista area during the peak phase of the pandemic in the capital, when oxygen is in short supply and the healthcare system has collapsed. On May 4, a Delhi High Court bench led by Chief Justice DN Patel adjourned the matter to May 17, saying he needed some time to read the Supreme Court judgment of January 5, giving a clearance to the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project. The long adjournment was challenged before the top court. The plea said that there is urgent need of stopping work, which entailed construction activity on Rajpath and the surrounding lawns from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan. run and hiding somewhere in Utttakhand. Police teams have been deployed to nab him. “An FIR was registered under various sections of IPC for cheating, fraud and violating Essential Commodities Act and Epidemic Diseases Act. Four men, including the manager of a restaurant were arrested in the case,”said DCP Atul Kumar Thakur. “During further investigation, the staff was directed to make efforts to recover more oxygen concentrators and nab the other co-accused in the black marketing of oxygen concentrators. On sustained interrogation, one of the ac- Sonowal, Sarma called to capital New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were on Friday called to New Delhi by BJP’s central leadership, apparently to discuss the leadership issue of the next government, five days after the saffron party-led alliance emerged victorious in Assembly polls. P8 helping hand Munger auto driver converts vehicle into ambulance with O2 r a j e s h k u m a r t h a k u r @ Patna At a time when family members of Covid patients are charged exorbitantly by ambulance operators for transporting the dead or critical patients, Mritunjay Kumar, 45, has pitched in with help. He has converted his autorickshaw into an ambulance with oxygen facility in Bihar’s Munger district. He says he has done it with the help of a social activist of Munger Manch to save families from falling prey to the greedy ambulance operators. Munger reported the first Covid death in Bihar last year. It has now 2,242 active Covid cases with 94 fatalities since March 2020. “My autorickshaw-ambulance serves the poor patients as I ferry them with the help of social activist Lokesh Jain of the Munger Manch organization”, says Mritunjay Kumar. “One may eat less but keep some money aside to save humanity from this pandemic.” “I may earn less, but I won’t allow a Covid patient to spend so much on an ambulance. Lokesh Jain has already arranged an oxygen cylinder in My autorickshaw-ambulance serves the poor patients as I ferry them with the help of social activist Lokesh Jain of the Munger Manch organisation —Mritunjay Kumar, autorickshaw driver the autorickshaw”, he said. He says he charges only Rs 200 from Covid patients for reaching a hospital within a 10 km radius in the city . His autorickshaw-ambulance also has a sanitizer, a first-aid kit and a mask with oxygen. He says more autor- ickshaw drivers should pitch in. He displays his cell phone number on the autorickshaw for the benefit of the people to call him whenever needed. He says he sanitizes his vehicle twice before taking patients to and from hospitals. It has become quite a hit.
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