bhubaneswar l thursday l january 07, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION Fuel price nears all-time high as oil cos hike rates Petrol price was hiked by 26 paise a litre and diesel by 25 paise, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies Increase in tandem with crude oil prices Impact on India’s Import bill The price change was effected by state-owned fuel retailers after a rise in crude prices. Brent crude rose to $53.94 a barrel on Wednesday on the back of Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut daily production by 1 million barrels. The highest petrol price in India was recorded on October 4, 2018 when one litre cost `91.34 in Mumbai. At that time, Brent was trading at $85.45 ■ ■ ■ To cool prices, the government had in 2018 cut excise duty According to reports, every dollar per barrel increase in crude prices will raise India’s oil import bill by `10,700 crore Industry data show that US crude stockpiles fell last week, which further aided the surge in crude prices in the international market `84.61 The price of one litre of petrol in bhubaneswar on Wednesday 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 Toxic gas leak claims lives of four workers at RSP B y P r a s a n j ee t S a r k a r @ Rourkela In a tragic industrial mishap, four contractual workers of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) of SAIL died from gas poisoning after being exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) gas at the Coal Chemical Department (CCD) on Wednesday morning. The workers were engaged in maintenance operations. The deceased workers have been identified as Ganesh Chandra Pahil (55) and Rabindra Sahoo (59) of Construction Colony here along with Abhimanyu Sahu (33) of Lathikata block and Brahmananda Panda (51) of Sector-1. RSP management said they were No bird flu cases in Odisha: CS E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra on Wednesday said no case of bird flu has been detected in the State so far. Taking a review of the possible bird flu scenario in the State, Mahapatra said around 11,000 samples from different areas have been tested and no case has been found positive. The Chief Secretary directed departments concerned to intensify surveillance activities and form Rapid Response Teams at State and district level for mitigating any possible outbreak. Stating that the State administration is ready to counter and control any possible outbreak, Mahapatra said steps should be taken to inform the people not be apprehensive about it. express read ‘TV ads promoting superstition illegal’ Mumbai: The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has ruled that television advertisements to promote certain articles claiming they have miraculous or supernatural properties is illegal | P8 Family members break down on receiving news of the workers’ death at IGH | Express rushed to the RSP-run Ispat General Hospital (IGH), where they succumbed. Sources said the incident occurred about 9.15 am when the four workers engaged by Star Construction, a contract firm, were opening flange bolts of a CO gas pipeline attached to the gas mixing tank of the CCD. Entrapped gas in the pipeline gushed out causing them severe asphyxi- ation. They were evacuated, given first-aid inside the RSP and rushed to the intensive care unit of IGH, but to no avail. The incident evoked sharp reactions from different trade unions. The BMS-affiliated Rourkela Ispat Karkhana Karmachari Sangh (RIKKS), the recognized trade union of RSP, led by its president HS Bal gheroaed the office of the Chief General Manager (CGM) of CCD demanding exemplary action against officials concerned for safety lapses along with compassionate employment and compensation to the bereaved families. The RSP management formed a three-member technical inquiry Another u.p. horror as woman raped, killed in temple tured as it was apparently hit with a heavy object. A rod THE badlands of western Ut- was inserted into her private tar Pradesh saw yet another parts causing fatal damage to gangrape and murder, this her internal organs. The autime of a 50-year-old angan- topsy said the woman died wadi worker in Badaun dis- due to excessive bleeding. trict, with horrific brutalities The villagers and the vicperpetrated on her tim’s family alleged in a reminder of the S H O R av i n d r a Nirbhaya case. Pratap Singh did not The woman was reach the spot even allegedly raped and after a complaint The 50-year-old brutalised within a woman, who had was lodged. Initial temple premises by gone to a temple investigation reon Sunday, was three men, includvealed the victim’s ing the priest, and found dead under body was sent for mysterious left to die outside post-mortem on circumstances. her house on Sun- Family members Monday afternoon, day While the priest, have accused the 18 hours after the . Baba Satyanarayan temple priest and incident. Das, is on the run, his accomplices of UP Chief Ministhe other two perperaping and ter Yogi Adityanath murdering her trators — Ved Ram has ordered an inand Yashpal — have SSP Sankalp Sharma quiry into the incibeen arrested. The dent by the Special incident was reportTask Force of UP ed from a village in the Police and directed the ADG Ughaiti police station area in of Bareilly zone to submit a Badaun. The victim’s post- detailed report. SHO Singh mortem examination re- has been suspended. vealed grievous injuries in Four teams have been her private parts. Her left formed to nab the priest and ribs and a leg were also bro- a bounty of `50,000 has been ken while one lung had rup- announced on his arrest. N a m i ta B a j pa i @ Lucknow committee comprising CGM (materials management) CR Mohapatra, CGM (projects) SK Behera a n d C G M ( m e c h a n i c a l ) AV Rajasekhar. Based on prima facie evidence, the deputy general manager of energy management department Gopabandhu Barik and DGM of CCD(mechanical) N Das were placed under suspension. The RSP also announced compassionate employment for the bereaved families, while the contract firm announced compensation of `2.5 lakh to each family . DSP Aseem Panda said a case has been registered at the Tangarpali police station in this connecP4 tion. 49 DEMOCRAT Warnock Ossoff Warnock wins, Ossoff leads in runoff race; with House of Representatives already in his grip, Biden can push challenging legislative agenda easily Dems set to control Senate too Express News service The Democratic Party is on course to taking control of the Senate, which is crucial for United States President-elect Joe Biden to push his legislative agenda, with the Georgia elections tipping the balance in the party’s favour. Major US media outlets have already declared Pastor Raphael Warnock as the winner, while fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff is comfortably leading in the second seat over Republican Senator David Perdue. Warnock beat Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler to become the first African-American to represent Georgia — a slavery state in the US Civil War — in the US Senate. He is also the first Democrat to win the Senate race from Georgia in over 20 years. The election in Georgia is being rerun thanks to the state’s rule that a candidate must take Key questions Why the runoff? Georgia rules mandate that the winning candidate gets at least 50% of the votes polled, which did not happen in the November polls What is the situation now? Democrats are coursing towards creating a 50-50 tie with Republicans in the Senate, picking up one seat and leading in another Which party stands to gain? Democrats of course, since Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would hold the tie-breaking vote in the Senate 50% of the vote to win. In the November 2020 general election, none of the candidates could meet that threshold. As things stand now, Democrats would need to take both the seats in Georgia to gain full control of Congress, while the Republicans need to win just No stay on anti-love jihad law, but SC to examine it E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay new laws introduced in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to punish interfaith marriages based on religious conversion but agreed to examine them. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde issued notices to both state governments on petitions challenging the love jihad ordinance in Uttar Pradesh and the Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 in Uttarakhand. The court also issued notice to the Centre on two petitions filed by advocate Vishal Thakre and Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace. Thakre’s PIL said, “The Ordinance passed by the State of Uttar Pradesh and law passed by Uttarakhand are against the public policy and society at large and violates basic structure of the Constitution.” Senior advocate C U Singh, who appeared for Setalvad’s NGO, sought a stay on the UP ordinance, saying “Rampaging mobs are moving around lifting people from marriage ceremonies. This ordinance requires prior reporting of marriages and the burden of proof is on the individual.” @ Bhubaneswar Odisha is among 19 states and UTs which will receive the Covid-19 vaccine from the supplier/manufacturer in the first phase. The vaccine is expected to arrive in the State next week. In the first phase, Odisha requires around seven lakh doses of vaccine to be administered to 3,28,560 lakh healthcare workers (HCWs) and ICDS functionaries. As per the cold chain management guideline, once the vaccine is airlifted from the manufacturer to the State Capital, the vials will be taken to the State vaccine store and then transported to regional vaccine stores at Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Ganjam, Balasore, Balangir, Kandhamal, Koraput, Sambalpur and Sundargarh through special vans. Since when will the Senate be in Democrats’ control? The Senate will be in Democrats’ control for the first time since 2014 What does it mean for Presidentelect Joe Biden? The Senate win will help him carry out his early legislative agenda since the House of Representatives is already in Democrats’ pocket What does it mean for Trump? He is already being blamed by Republicans for mess up, as he kept peddling baseless claims that Georgia’s electoral systems were rigged, turning off the voters one to retain the Senate. Ossoff has declared victory but no major news outlet has projected him as the winner. With the result of the Perdue versus Ossoff is yet to be called in, the 100-member Senate now has 50 seats for the Republican Party and 49 to the Democrats. At the time of going to press, Ossoff had secured 22,13,099 votes, over 17,500 more than Perdue. If elected, 33-year-old Ossoff will be the youngest member in the US Senate. If both Republicans and the Democrats end up having 50 seats each in the Senate, then Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in her capacity as the Vice Chairman who presides over the Senate meetings can cast the crucial vote in favour of the Democrats. Gaining control of the Senate will help Biden in what he intends to do as President with his party being in a comfortable position to set the legislative agenda. They will be able to have their say in Senate committees, call hearings, and decide which items get top priority . It will also help them push through the ambitious proposals addressing climate change P9 and health care. origin tracing WHO rebukes China over blocking virus probe team E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e The colour of Dawn Tourists enjoy a boat ride as the water of Chilika lake assumes a golden hue at sunrise on Wednesday | Biswanath Swain Odisha to receive Covid-19 vaccine directly from supplier E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e 50 REPUBLICAN 51 NEEDED FOR CONTROL The vaccine will be dispatched to 32 district vaccine stores from the re gional stores. The vials will be taken to session sites in the icelined refrigerators (ILRs). All arrangements have been done as per the cold chain protocol, said Director (Family Welfare) Dr Bijay Panigrahi. The State government made We can start vaccination within two days of vaccine arrival. The protocol for conducting session and adverse event following immunisation management were followed during dry run. All district activities and processes were monitored in CO-WIN portal PK Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary of Health department it clear that the HCWs enrolled in the Co-WIN portal will be vaccinated in the first phase. The State and Central pol i c e fo rc e s, h o m e guards and civil defence personnel, disaster management volunteers, prison staff and municipal workers will be administered vaccine in the second phase. While the State has received 21 lakh syringes and 24 ILRs, the Centre would supply 315 ILRs, 41 deep freeze r s, s i x w a l k - i n coolers, two walk-in freezers by March 31. The Odisha State Medical Cor poration has procured 1006 ILRs, 30 deep free zers and 7331 needle destroyers. Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra said Collectors have been asked to finalise the selection of session sites by January 10 for this phase vaccination. Months after grandstanding at the World Health Organization, saying it was ready to allow an expert team to probe the origins of the deadly coronavirus, China denied them entry, drawing a rare rebuke from WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Better known as China’s poodle, Tedros said, “Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China. I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute, but had been in contact with senior Chinese officials.” In what was seen as sharp line, given his pro-China leaning, Tedros said he had ‘made it clear’ that the mission was a priority for the WHO. Tedros had last year failed to take China to task for delayed reporting of the outbreak and kept dragging his feet on declaring it a pandemic, d r aw i n g i n t e r n a t i o n a l ridicule. The virus has since infected over 85 million people worldwide and killed close to 2 million. A 10-member team of experts from Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, the UK and the US was to travel to Wuhan, the epicentre of Covid-19. Since origin-tracing is complicated business, a crack team was put together for the task. Later in the day, an apparently embarrassed China acknowledged that there could be some misunderstanding over granting timely permission to WHO’s experts, but gave no indication about when it will allow them in. CM appeals people to be careful for 2 months AS a devastating second wave of coronavirus is tormenting England and Europe forcing them to clamp lockdowns, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday appealed to the people to be careful for the next two months | P2
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