NEW DELHI 26 JULY 2020 SUNDAY `9 PAGES 24 facebook/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard instagram.com/themorningstandard The Sweetest String ASK PRABHU Power the Protein Push PLUS: 12 PAGES MAGAZINE An Artistic Ode to Africa EXCLUSIVE VOICES Prabhu Chawla TJS George Shankkar Aiyar Pushpesh Pant 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (Figures in rupees crore) SHIVRAJ +VE VIRUS STRIKES FIRST CM Madhya Pradesh CM has become the first CM of any state to have tested Covid-19 positive. “I have tested corona positive and appeal to all those who came in contact with me to get selves tested,” he tweeted | P7 GRAPHIC: PUSHPA JULKA 150 562 428 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Funds released (` crore) 11,441 TILL NOV 2019 288 2019-20 2017-18 8,375 4,722 8,375 9,383 10,000 9,658 14,108 10,429 TOTAL 40,271 37,845 AS ASSAM REELS UNDER FLOODS, DATA SHOWS HAVOC INCREASING ANNUALLY K U M A R V I K R A M @ New Delhi OVER 100 persons have died in the floods in Assam so far while another 147 were killed in lightning strikes in Bihar last month. But with the monsoon season less than half way through, more loss of lives and property are expected if the trend in the past five years is anything to go by . Take for instance human lives lost. In 2015, a little less than 1,000 persons died of flood and rain-related incidents, but in 2019, nearly 2,500 persons had lost their lives, according to government data. The loss of cattle also increased. While in 2015, less than 30,000 cattle died, in 2019, it was nearly 72,000. (See graphic 1) To sum up the flood and its impact in the past five years, over 8,700 people were killed, over 2 lakh cattle died and more than 36 lakh houses were destroyed in floods. The cost of damage to property has also shot up in these five years. While in 2015, the d a m a g e s u f f e re d t o t a l e d `33,257 cr, in 2018, the last year for which data is available, it went up to `95,736 cr. The cost F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar Jameel Ahmad (yellow mask) says his family stands by his work | EXPRESS tine. Her grave was half dug and we had to dig it further. After the grave was dug, I called up a cleric of the area to lead the funeral prayers. He switched off the phone. So, no funeral prayers were offered,” says Jameel. But the situation has improved a lot now, he says. “Earlier, I would lower a coffin with the help of ropes as relatives would not come forward. People are now attending to Covid-19 patients and also participating in their final rites.” Some Create God’s Image to Relate to it Centre’s share under SDRF 2016-17 FUNDS RELEASED UNDER FMP Ambulance driver ensures dignity to coronavirus victims in Srinagar The fear peaked when people started shutting their windows at the sight of the ambulance. “They wouldn’t touch the coffin of a Covid-19 victim. Funeral prayers of some Covid-19 victims could not be offered as none was present to lead the prayers,” he said. He recalls a haunting case, when only two neighbours and he attended the last rites of a woman in Srinagar. “Her sons had tested positive and were admitted in hospital while others were in quaran- CATTLE LOST (Figures in rupees crore) YEOMAN SERVICE JAMEEL Ahmad has an invidious job of ferrying the Covid-19 dead to the burial ground. In some cases, he has himself dug up the ground for the dead to rest because their relatives had tested positive or were too scared to come over for fear of infection. He has so far driven 70 of the 85 corona death victims to the graveyard in Srinagar. Of the 302 deaths in Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar accounts for 85 fatalities. “I have also ferried positive cases in Srinagar to hospitals. My ambulance has now been allocated for Covid-19 casualties only and I ferry only the pandemic victims.” “Initially whenever the am, bulance siren blared, the grave diggers would run away from the graveyard, leaving behind their tools. They told us not to bring the Covid-19 casualty till they are through with the digging,” says Jameel, an ambulance driver working with Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Srinagar. NDRF 2018-19 COST OF DAMAGE HOUSES DAMAGED HUMAN LIVES LOST GRAPHIC 4 Bollywood 2.0 RECIPE FOR DISASTER: MONSOON & PACKED CITIES 2019-20 RAJESH ASNANI & RICHA S H A R M A @ Jaipur/New Delhi Gehlot, meanwhile, held a string of meetings with his MLAs and cabinet colleagues. THE political crisis in Ra- In his meeting with the MLAs, jasthan that began as a feud Gehlot said if needed he was between rebel Congress lead- ready to go to the President to er Sachin Pilot and Chief ensure that the “BJP conspirMinister Ashok Gehlot is now acy” to delay a test of strength turning into a tussle between does not succeed. the Chief Minister and Gov“The BJP conspiracy will ernor Kalraj Mishra. not be allowed to succeed. I While Gehlot and his loyal- will go to Rashtrapati Bhavan ist MLAs continue to mount if needed. If we have to picket pressure on the Governor for Rashtrapati Bhavan or even an assembly sesthe Prime Minission, Mishra has so ter’s residence we far not given any inwill do so,” Gehlot dication that he will told the MLAs, who yield to the raised their hands The BJP conspiracy pressure. in support. will not be allowed Angered by an to succeed. I will go Later, the Raunresponsive Govjasthan Cabinet met to Rashtrapati ernor, the Congress Bhavan if needed. If at Gehlot’s residence announced that it where a fresh prowe have to picket would hold protests Rashtrapati Bhavan posal for an Assemor even the Prime outside all Raj bly session was Bhavans across the Minister’s residence drafted. The rewe will do so country on Monday . worked proposal was “PCCs will hold sent to Raj Bhavan, Ashok Gehlot, protests in front of which said the focus Rajasthan CM Raj Bhavans across of the session would the country against be the coronavirus this naked murder of democ- pandemic and the economic racy and subverting institu- crisis. Gehlot was expected to tions on Monday, the 27th of meet Mishra in the evening. July, 2020. Join this mass The BJP, on its part, said movement to save our democ- the state was heading for a racy & Constitution,” Con- “constitutional crisis.” A gress organisational secre- 12-member team met Mishra tary K C Venugopal tweeted. and accused the CM of preThe party will hold an on- venting the Governor from line campaign, ‘Speak up for carrying out his constitutiondemocracy on Sunday against al duties. “We have asked the ,’ what it called the BJP’s con- Governor that the governstant attempts to topple elect- ment’s focus should be on cored governments and misusing onavirus,” said party chief constitutional bodies. Satish Poonia. SADHGURU SPEAKS GRAPHIC 2 29,327 22,367 23,820 53,867 71,755 9,39,787 33,257 5,675 26,396 95,736 NA Party will hold protests outside Governor houses across the country on Monday Fast Track to Rentals GRAPHIC 1 7,50,000 Assam Shinie Antony Rajat Chaudhuri Sheila Kumar Amar Bhushan 977 1,420 2,060 1,808 2,422 Gehlot & Cong take fight to all Raj Bhavans 12,21,214 The Kinder India 4,63,988 Post your questions on website www.newindianexpress.com, and Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, will answer them. www.thesundaystandard.com/www.morningstandard.in 2,78,240 of damage is likely to be more in 2019 as over a dozen states, i n cl u d i n g B i h a r, A s s a m , Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra, witnessed largescale devastation. Besides the rising damages, the cost to the exchequer towards relief work has also increased. In 2016-17, the Centre released `11,441 cr under the National Disaster Relief Fund while its share under the State Disaster Relief Fund was `8,375 cr. This increased to `14,108 cr and `10,429 cr respectively in 2019-20. (See graphic 2) The flood’s increasing loss of lives and property appears to make a mockery of all the expert committees, task forces and commissions the government has formed. In 1972, the Ganga Flood Control Commission was set up in Patna to address the flood problem and erosion in the Ganga basin states. In 1980, the Brahmaputra Board came into existence to address the flood ero- sion problem in the northeastern states and Sikkim. (See graphic 3) T he gover nment also launched a Flood Management Programme in the Eleventh Plan (2007-12) for providing financial assistance to state governments to undertake work related to river management, flood control, anti-erosion, drainage development, flood proofing, among others. The FMP was continued for three years under the Twelfth Plan from 2017-18 to 2019-20. It has subsequently been included as a component of the Flood Management and Border Areas Programme in the Ministry of Jal Shakti. But all these appear to have come to a naught as the government’s approach is more reactive than proactive, according to experts. Instead of focusing on the real problem, it was only concerned about relief measures, they said. They pointed out that the area The flood-affected area in 1950 was 25 million hectare, now it has doubled to nearly 50 million hectare. But, what is surprising is that nobody looks concerned about the real issues Dinesh Kumar Mishra, a former IIT professor ISIS terrorists in Karnataka and Kerala, says UN NEW YORK: A UN report on terrorism has warned that there are ‘significant numbers’ of ISIS terrorists in Kerala and Karnataka, noting that the alQaida in the Indian Subcontinent terror group, which reportedly has between 150 and 200 militants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, is planning attacks in the region. The 26th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning ISIS, al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities said that the al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operates under the Taliban umbrella from Nimruz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan. “The group reportedly has between 150 and 200 members from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan. The current leader of AQIS is Osama Mahmood’, who succeeded Asim Umar’ AQIS is reportedly planning retaliation operations in the region to avenge the death of its former leader,” it said. PTI affected by floods has doubled since 1950. “The flood-affected area in 1950 was 25 million hectare, now it has doubled to nearly 50 million hectare. But, what is surprising is that nobody looks concerned about the real issues,” said Dinesh Kumar Mishra, a former IIT professor. “Earlier, only villages used to be affected but now cities are also getting flooded. Chennai and Patna are just examples. I had written to the government in 2015, highlighting the poor drainage system in cities.” Himanshu Thakkar, the coordinator of the South Asia Network of Dams, Rivers and People, said effective management of dams could bring down the damage caused by floods. “We have over 5,000 dams. Every dam can help moderate floods in the downstream area but only if it is operated properly .” Thakkar raised questions on embankments, saying hardly any cost benefit analysis has been done on this. “We are just mechanically going forward. We are encroaching upon flood plains and river beds and we are doing sand mining. All these add to the floods,” he said. GRAPHIC 3 Committees & commissions GANGA FLOOD CONTROL COMMISSION Aim: Flood, erosion in Ganga basin states Work: Prepared 23 comprehensive master plans RASHTRIYA BARH AYOG Aim: To evolve coordinated, integrated approach for flood control Work: Submitted report in 1980 recommending measures BRAHMAPUTRA BOARD Aim: Flood, erosion problems in northeastern states, Work: Prepared 57 master plans for implementation TASK FORCE-2004 Aim: Flood management and erosion control Work: Submitted report in December 2004, recommending short, long term measures FLOOD MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME Aim: To provide financial assistance for river management, flood control, erosion Work: Other than allocating financial aid, it is involved in flood forecasting Fever as Covid symptom could be misleading, warns AIIMS study S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi OVEREMPHASIS on fever as a predominant symptom of coronavirus could lead to several cases being missed, a study of Covid-19 patients admitted in two centres of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences has revealed. The study based on the clinical profile of 144 patients admitted at the AIIMS trauma centre in Delhi and its Jhajjar centre in March-April, published in the ICMR’s Indian Journal of Medical Research, noted that fever was present in only 17% of these patients. It was far less compared to other reports across the globe, including the Chinese cohort in whom 44% had fever at the time of presentation and 88% developed fever during the hospital stay, the paper said. “Thus, overemphasis on fever as a predominant symptom may lead to several cases being missed,” the researchers in the study titled ‘Clinico-demographic profile & hospital outcomes of Covid-19 patients admitted at a tertiary care centre in north India’ noted. The government in the beginning used to publicise clinical signs like fever, cough, fatigue and breathlessness as symptoms of the infectious disease. It was only in June that the Union health ministry recognized loss of smell and taste, diarrhea and muscle pain as signs of Covid-19. But the study said more than 44% of the hospitalised patients were asymptomatic at the time of admission and remained so throughout. “This may be a cause of concern as these asymptomatic patients are potential carriers or transmitters of infection in the community .” Also, most symptomatic patients had mild respiratory symptoms such as nasal symptoms, throat irritation and cough, which was different from the reported symptoms in other studies. “...the char- acteristic findings included younger age, high proportion of asymptomatic patients, long time to PCR negativity and low need for intensive care unit care,” noted the authors, which included AIIMS director Randeep Guleria. While a majority of the patients were treated with supportive care and required only symptomatic treatment such as antihistamines (48.6%), Vitamin C (47.2%), paracetamol (20.8%) and antibiotic azithromycin (20.1%), HCQ was administered to 27 (18.7%) patients and both HCQ and azithromycin were given to 11 (7.6%) patients. Only five patients required oxygen supplementation, four patients had severe disease requiring intensive care, one required mechanical ventilation and mortality occurred in only two patients. More than 44% of the patients were asymptomatic at the time of admission and remained so throughout. This may be a cause of concern as such patients are potential carriers of infection AIIMS study
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