MANGALURU MONDAY OCTOBER 19, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 28 CITY EDITION COMMUNITY SPREAD OF COVID IN SOME STATES, ADMITS GOVT The Centre for the ﬁrst time admitted on Sunday that the dreaded community spread has occurred in some states LIMITED TO CERTAIN DISTRICTS: HARSH VARDHAN ‘KERALA PAYING PRICE FOR NEGLIGENCE’ Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said, “Community transmission is limited to certain districts, occurring in a limited number of states.” In pockets of various states, including West Bengal, community transmission is “expected to occur”, especially in dense areas, the minister said. On virus mutation, Vardhan said it has not been detected in India as yet | P7 The minister criticised Kerala for its spike in virus cases, saying the state is paying “the price for gross negligence” during Onam He said Kerala’s experience ought to serve as “a good lesson” for all the state govts, especially in view of the looming festival season. He urged people to follow Covid-19 guidelines religiously ■ ■ 61,871 FRESH CORONAVIRUS CASES REPORTED IN INDIA ON SUNDAY CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI N-K’TAKA STILL IN FLOOD GRIP EXPRESS READ Govt unlikely to extend credit plan for MSMEs The flood situation remained grim on Sunday in four districts of Karnataka with the Krishna and Bhima rivers in spate. A total of 111 villages in Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Raichur and Vijayapura districts have been affected by the floods, caused by heavy rain and water released from dams in Maharashtra. CM B S Yediyurappa will undertake an aerial survey of the affected districts on Wednesday | P4 New Delhi: The government is unlikely to extend the Rs 3 lakh crore-Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the MSME sector beyond October even though the sanctioned amount so far is only nearly 65 per cent of the target, according to sources. CRPF man, civilian hurt in grenade attack in J&K K’TAKA COVID-19 BATTLE 7,012 10,478 Positive cases on Sunday TOTAL DEATHS 1,09,264 6,45,825 Active cases so far FULL COVERAGE P3 7,65,586 TOTAL CASES TOTAL RECOVERIES OXYGEN manufacturers are asking hospitals to cough up higher prices for medical oxygen, and are threatening to stop supply if they do not pay the increased rates, according to the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA). The association has written to the Drugs Controller of the state Drugs Control Department on October 14 complaining about abnormal and exorbitant increase in prices of oxygen supplied to hospitals by manufacturers, during the Covid-19 pandemic. While there is no shortage of oxygen supply now, as was the case in August, the issue now is with the pricing. The letter also stated that the prices quoted by the manufacturers is higher than that fixed by the National Pharmaceuti- cal Pricing Authority “This is . to bring to your notice that M/s Praxair/Linde have increased the prices for supply of liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders to hospitals. The existing price is Rs 16 per cubic metre plus Rs 5 freight charges and 12 per cent taxes, which adds up to Rs 23.52.The revised price is Rs 16 plus Rs 5 plus, an extra Rs 15, and 12 per cent tax, which adds up to Rs 40.32,” the letter signed by Dr R Ravindra, president of PHANA, reads. The letter cites a gazette notification by the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, dated September 25, which has capped the price of liquid medical oxygen at Rs 15.22 per cubic metre and that of oxygen inhalation medicinal gas in cylinder at Rs 25.71 per cubic metre. CONTINUED ON: P5 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 almost come to a halt as state goes to polls amid the pandemic. Yet, guess who is happy? The LED TV and screen shop owners, as virtual rallies have made a smart entry into the scene. In the 2015 Assembly polls, 32 helicopters were booked by political parties, including 16 by the BJP This time around, only 11 have been hired . — six by BJP and the rest by the JD(U) and others. “Party rallies are limited for the three-phase polls. The focus is on virtual rallies through digital platforms,” says a senior BJP leader. Money thus saved is being used for renting big LED screens and other platforms, he adds. A single-engine helicopter is available for hire anywhere between `80,000 and 1.5 lakh per hour depending on its seating capacity. Hiring a twin-engine chopper can cost around `4 lakh. At present, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJP chief J P Nadda are the only ones travelling by helicopters to address rallies. Uday Kumar Singh, president of Bihar Motor Transporters Federation, says virtual rallies have reduced the bus renting business to almost 2% compared with the 2015 and 2019 elections. Compared to around 35,000 big passenger buses hired in 2015 polls and 40,000 in the 2019 elections, this time just100 buses have been booked so far. “This year, hardly any party has approached us for buses,” says Singh. P8 DASARA DAMPENER Flowers? Out of reach this festive season K S H I V A K U M A R @Mysuru Buyers crowd around a jasmine vendor at a market in Mysuru on Sunday. The price of the flower has hit a high in recent days | UDAYSHANKAR S THIS festival season, the flowers, which are essential for puja and decorations, seem to be out of the reach of consumers. The price of the fragrant Mysuru Mallige (jasmine) and other flowers have gone up four to five times. The skyrocketing prices are worrying both the consumers and the vendors. Jasmine which was sold at Rs 250 per kg is now a prohibitive Rs 1,500. The price of Kanakambara has jumped four times -- from Rs 200 per kg last week to Rs 800 on Sunday. Rose too which was sold at Rs 20 per kg is now Rs 240. And the gloomy news is that the prices are expected to further shoot up on Ayudha Puja and Vijayadashami when the de- mand will outstrip supply . Marigold and chrysanthemum are in great demand too on Ayudha Puja. These flowers, grown extensively in Panadavapura, KR Pet, Nagamanagala and Malvalli, are also destroyed by heavy rains and the resultant waterlogging in the fields. The farmers are not benefiting either. In fact, during April and May every day , , desperate flower far mers plucked around 60 lakh flowers and threw them away This was because they had no tak. ers due to the strict nationwide containment measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. Today, the farmers are in a similar situation as the rains have destroyed CONTINUED ON: P3 the crop. 20,203 TOTAL 15,560 6,401 9,159 Constable (Civil) Constable (Other) 1007 Head Constable (Other) 518 69 Assistant SI (KSRP) Head Constable (Civil) 347 199 Asst RSI (CAR/DAR) TOTAL 1,525 Assistant SI (KSISF) 409 128 Assistant SI (Civil) 100 PSI (KSISF) TOTAL 1,024 Reserve SI (KSRP) 300 06 Few takers for buses & choppers, LED TVs a rage R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna Firms fleecing us on oxygen, say pvt hospitals R A N J A N I M A D H A V A N @ Bengaluru BIHAR ELECTIONS Reserve SI (CAR/DAR) 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) TOTAL 2,094 DSI CID YOUR LIFE COACH GRAND TOTAL Lacking In Strength SI State Intel WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST THE Karnataka State Police force has been stretched beyond its capacities with a huge shortage of over 20,000 personnel in various ranks, the bulk of vacancies being at the crucial constabulary level. The Covid-19 situation has only made matters worse with no recruitment happening. The police force, at present, has a total of 20,203 unfilled vacancies, with 15,560 of them in the constabulary, which can hamper anti-terror operations, intelligence gathering, antiNaxal and other sensitive op- erations. The police force has been traditionally about 1.08 lakh-strong, and posts falling vacant due to retirement of personnel were filled up with regular recruitment drives. Recruitment is usually conducted for four levels — Constable, Sub-Inspector, Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent of Police — but this has been frozen for now, leaving the force with a huge shortage of personnel for many months now. Retired officers and experts pointed out that, given the current situation, the personnel are overworked and overburCONTINUED ON: P5 dened. 1,553 Bengaluru: A man, suspected to be mentally unstable, went on a stabbing spree on the streets of West Bengaluru on Sunday, killing one and injuring five others. M Ganesh, aged about 35 years, and a daily-wage worker has been arrested. The deceased Maari (30) was also a labourer. P5 B A N S Y K A L A P PA @ Bengaluru 07 Man kills one, injures 5 in stabbing spree in B’luru 20,000 vacancies cripple K’taka police Sub -inspector (Civil) Srinagar: A CRPF assistant subinspector and a civilian were injured as militants hurled a grenade at security forces in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday. ASI Asim Ali and a civilian, Mehraj-ud-Din Sheikh, sustained minor injuries. Anxious villagers watch as the water level in the Bhima river rises at the Devalgaon bridge in Azfalpur taluk in Kalaburagi district on Sunday | KPN Difficult time for democracy: Cong Sonia assails the Centre, says it is bartering away people’s interests to crony capitalists campaign against the farm reform laws, Sonia said: “The current BJP government has LAUNCHING a broadside attacked the very foundation against the Centre, Congress of our resilient agrarian econpresident Sonia Ganomy by bringing in dhi on Sunday said it three anti-agriculture was systematically black laws. A conspirbartering away the inacy has been hatched terests of citizens at to defeat the gains of the altar of profiteer‘Green Revolution’.” ing by a handful of Claiming Prime crony capitalists, hurtMinister Narendra ing the Constitution Modi had no strategic and India’s democratic thinking on tackling traditions. Covid-19, she said the In her first address stark truth is that a to party general secre- Nearly 14 crore PM who promised to taries, in-charges as jobs have been defeat corona within also members and in- lost. SMEs, small 21 days, has abdicated vitees of the reconsti- shopkeepers and responsibility towards other small tuted Congress Workthe citizens. ing Committee, she enterprises are The government has urged the cadre to de- shutting, yet the simultaneously demolgovernment feat the autocratic deished the economy she , remains a mute signs of the ruling alleged. “Today, the spectator BJP. “Your responsiyoung have no jobs. Sonia Gandhi bility is even more onNearly 14 crore jobs erous as our democrahave been lost. SMEs, cy is passing through its most small shopkeepers and other tumultuous times,” she small enterprises are shutemphasised. ting, yet the government reReferring to the party’s mains a mute spectator.” EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi
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19 October 2020 of The New Indian Express-Mangaluru