BHUBANESWAR l thursday l march 18, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION Koo becomes 100% desi as chinese investor exits Start-up A-listers buy out Shunwei stake Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, BookMyShow founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar and Zerodha founder Nikhil Kamat were the others who bought out Shunwei’s 9% stake in Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd, which runs Koo. The homegrown microblogging platform has not revealed the financial details of the latest deal | P12 A bunch of Indians, including ex-cricketer Javagal Srinath, buy out Shunwei Capital’s stake in Koo, India’s answer to Twitter Traction after govt-Twitter tussle ■ ■ ■ Koo has so far raised around $4.1 million from investors including 3one4 Capital, Kalaari Capital, and Blume Ventures Koo first caught public attention after Centre’s tussle with Twitter over the removal of inflammatory contents It is available in Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati & Marathi 4 million People have downloaded koo so far. one million of them are active users 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 Modi flags vax wastage, Police chief of Mumbai seeks corrective steps shunted to limit damage losing Precious drops secretary Rajesh Bhushan shared data on states where vaccine wastage is more than the national average (see graphic). They are J&K (6.6%), Karnataka (6.9%), UP (9.4%), Andhra Pradesh (11.6%) and Telangana (17.6%). On the flip side, Himachal Pradesh, at 1.4%, is the best performing state. “In the current scenario, Covid-19 vaccine doses are like elixir and should be used very judiciously said V K Paul, member ,” (health), Niti Aayog in the briefing. Talking to this newspaper, sources in the health ministry E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Himachal Pradesh Uttarakhand Tripura Tamil Nadu Bihar West Bengal Gujarat Ladakh Assam Rajasthan Jammu & Kashmir Karnataka Uttar Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Telangana 17.6 11.6 9.4 6.9 6.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.3 4.8 4.0 3.7 2.2 1.6 1.4 india average 6.5% (Vaccine wastage in %) Claims of short supply baseless Officials dismissed claims by some states of vaccines being in short supply. “Since the beginning of the drive, 7.54 crore doses have been sent to the states. Just half of it has been administered so far, so the charges are baseless,” said Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan The issue of humongous Covid-19 vaccine wastage by a few states figured prominently in a meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with chief ministers on Wednesday . While 6.5% of vaccine doses are getting wasted in the country on an average, peak wastage is at Telangana. Modi advised the states to immediately introduce correctives in planning and governance at the local level. “It should be reviewed in states as to why is the vaccine wastage happening. Monitoring must be done every evening and people should be contacted proactively (for correctives) so that there’s no wastage,” he stressed. Later in the day Union health , explained that the wastage is happening more in Covaxin, as compared to Covishield. “There are two reasons. One, Covaxin has more doses (20) per vial than Covishield (10). As all doses have to be administered within four hours of a vial being opened, it naturally means that doses that are not used within the time frame get wasted,” said an official. “Second, before the efficacy data for Covaxin was announced, fewer people turned up at centres for this vaccine, resulting in wastage,” the official pointed out. Vaccine wastage in Odisha only 1.4 per cent Bhubaneswar: Odisha has one of the lowest Covid-19 vaccine wastage in the country with only 1.4 per cent (pc) against the national average of 6.5 pc. The State has so far utilised 14,71,308 doses and around 20,598 doses have been wasted. However, Odisha is among states that have recorded the highest average beneficiaries vaccinated per session | P3 The coronavirus spurt is likely to be in smaller towns this time; PM urges states to take proactive measures It’s official, second peak coming S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi India is headed towards a second peak of coronavirus, the government confirmed on Wednesday. The difference this time is that it will not be the metros 33,000 28,000 but tier-2 and tier-3 cities closer to the rural areas that will be the worst hit. “We are seeing an emerging second peak,” said Dr V K Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, who also heads the national task force on Covid-19. Worrisome uptick in daily cases Daily new cawses 7-day moving average of daily new cases New cases (As on March 17, 2021) Over the past two weeks, small towns across 70 districts have seen a steep rise of over 150% in new cases, with Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh) recording a shocking 500% spike. Fifty-five districts in 17 states have seen a 100-150% spike in the Nearly 28,902 New deaths Nearly 43% 37% 23,000 18,000 week-on-week incease 18,855 week-on-week incease 17,407 10,050 14,264 9,110 13,000 8,000 Jan 19 Jan 29 Odisha seeks jabs for utility services personnel, journalists The rollout of the vaccine has been helpful in providing hope to our citizens that the end of the pandemic is nearing Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister Feb 9 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar In a bid to expand Covid-19 vaccination coverage, Odisha government on Wednesday urged the Centre to include people engaged in utility services, staff deployed at strategic locations and mediapersons to categorise as frontline workers (FLWs). Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik assured to extend all support to the Union government in the fight against Covid and take steps to ensure that the virus spread is contained through renewed efforts in awareness and enforcement. “The rollout of the vaccine has been helpful in providing hope to our citizens that the end of the pandemic is nearing. Feb 21 Mar 4 We are ever grateful to the scientific community for developing vaccines at such short notice. It is a matter of pride for us that India is leading in vaccine manufacturing. We need to involve further the private sector in expediting the vaccination prog ramme,” Naveen said at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video-conference with chief ministers on Covid-19 resurgence in the country . Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra has written to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan requesting him to take steps for inclusion of airport, railways and sea Mar 16 same time period. The alarming statistics also came up during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with chief ministers on Wednesday. The PM urged the CMs to stop the ‘emerging second peak’ with decisive steps including strict enforcement of Covid protocols. “Wherever necessary, micro-containment zones should be declared without hesitation,” he said, adding, “If we don’t stop Covid right now, there could be a nationwide outbreak.” According to the details shared by the Union health ministry, India now has over 2.34 lakh active Covid-19 cases. Over the past two weeks, there has been a 43% week-on-week increase in cases and 37% rise in deaths. Data show that Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continue to report a high number of daily new cases. Together, these states accounted for 71.10% of the 28,903 new cases reported on Tuesday. Overall, there are eight states where the pandemic graph is on a rising trajectory . port employees and people engaged in maintenance of essential services like electricity and water supply in the FLW category . Stating that many categories of people who are at the risk of exposure to coronavirus infection due to the nature of their work have not been included as FLWs, he urged the Health Ministry to include journalists and other personnel of print and electronic media and sevayats (priests) of Lord Jagannath temple at Puri and Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar in Covid-19 vaccination drive. “Since the vaccines are being supplied by the Centre and the TMC manifesto offers universal basic income P r a n a b M o n d a l @ Kolkata the Trinamool Congress, which is bracing for a tough fight with the BJP in the Assembly polls, on Wednesday released its manifesto promising universal basic income, financial grant to women family heads, credit card for students pursuing higher education, home deliery of ration and five lakh new jobs every year. “This is not a political manifesto. It is a manifesto for development. We will fulfil all our goals mentioned in the manifesto,” said TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee while releasing the 66page document on Wednesday . Mamata releasing TMC manifesto in Kolkata on Wednesday | Bibhash Lodh The manifesto promises a monthly income support of `500 for households in the general category and `1,000 for SC/ ST. The amount would be directly deposited to the bank accounts of 1.6 crore female heads of the families. Sources said the budget outlay for the scheme would be `12,900 crore annually . “This is a smart announcement to win the support of women voters who comprise 50% of the state’s total electorates,” said a TMC leader. However, the income support will not be available to households that have a tax-paying member or own more than two hectares of land. Another notable promise is that the poor and underprivileged don’t have to go to ration shops if the TMC retains power in Bengal. “Dedicated personnel will deliver food grains at the door-step of 1.5 crore households,” Mamata said. Eyeing young electorates pursuing higher education, the party offered student credit cards with low interest. “Students pursuing graduation and post-graduation shall be eligible to receive the credit card with a limit up to `10 lakh at a subsidised rate of 4% interest. The scheme will benefit more than 1.5 crore students in the next five years,” Mamata announced. drive is centrally monitored through the online system CoWIN, the State government can not take decision on inclusion of any category of people. We have requested the Ministry to include the categories on priority and communicate necessary approval at the earliest,” Mohapatra said. The Chief Minister also observed that the prolonged Covid crisis has brought fatigue and complacency in people. “We need to be careful as multiple surges of Covid is the reality in many countries as also in many states. We cannot go back to the era of lockdowns. As a country with huge population, achieving herd immunity will be a long process, we all need to be extremely careful,” he said . express read Cancellation of 3 crore ration cards ‘serious’ New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday termed the cancellation of around three crore ration cards by the Centre due to non-linking with Aadhaar card as ‘too serious’, and sought response from the Central and state governments on the issue | P10 IAF pilot killed in Mig-21 Bison crash New Delhi: An IAF pilot, Group Captain A Gupta, was killed in an accident involving a Mig-21 Bison aircraft in Gwalior on Wednesday, officials said. The accident took place at around 10:50 am, when the aircraft was taking off for a training mission. brought back as a Mumbai CP ,” he added. Maharashtra Chief Minis“Singh was NCP chief Sharter Uddhav Thackeray on ad Pawar’s choice as Mumbai Wednesday began a damage CP. But later Singh moved out limitation exercise, shunting of his orbit and refused to folout Mumbai Police Commis- low orders of home minister sioner Parambir Singh and re- Anil Deshmukh despite repeatplacing him with Heed calls in several casmant Nagrale in the es. He also stalled wake of the arrest of probes on politically controversial police ofsignificant cases citficer Sachin Waze. Till ing pressure from now, Nagrale was holdDelhi,” the source ing additional charge said requesting of the state Director anonymity . General of Police. Singh and Waze This newspaper was started acting on Hemant Nagrale the first to report that their own and even Singh’s job was on the allegedly set up an Hails from line. The transfers extortion racket. “PaChandrapur war is no-nonsense were part of a big poNagrale, a 1987 lice department shake politician. He lost inup. Rajnish Seth, direc- batch IPS officer, terest in Singh after hails from tor general at the Antithe latter started Chandrapur in Corruption Bureau, playing games,” said Vidarbha region has been given addia senior officer reof Maharashtra tional charge of direcquesting anonymity . tor general of the state With its tail up, the police. Singh is now director BJP demanded the resignation general of home guard. of Deshmukh and asked why Sources said Rajnish Seth was Waze reinstated despite was the frontrunner for Mum- him being suspended by the bai CP but most of the senior Bombay High Court in 2004. ministers in ruling Maha Vikas The National Investigation Aghadi insisted on naming a Agency that seized Waze’s lapMarathi instead. “So, Nagrale, top, will send it to the forensic who was otherwise senior in department to retrieve data, as rank to the Mumbai CP, was most of it was found deleted. Su d h i r Su r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai free for virus People shopping at Unit-II Market Building ignoring Covid-19 safety norms in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday | Express Govt not keen to procure paddy from ‘traders’: Swain E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar AT a time when the ruling and the opposition parties are at loggerheads, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain on Wednesday added fuel to the fire by stating that the government is not interested to procure paddy from “traders” under price support system. Swain, however, said procurement of paddy from genuine farmers will continue till March 31. Responding to the allegations of government apathy to lifting the stocks of farmers, the Minister alluded to the surplus stock being pushed by traders and not farmers. The Minister said he had requested all the members to provide list and address of the genuine farmers whose paddy has not been purchased yet. Many lists have been given and the problems of the farmers have been sorted out. Accusing the BJP of shedding crocodile tears on farmers’ problems, he said, “If they are so concerned, why don’t they go to Delhi and demand release of the pending food subsidy amounting to `5,616 crore.” Reacting to the recent suicide bid by MLA Subash Panigrahi in the State Assembly, Swain said, “It aimed at creating false impression that they (BJP) are with the farmers.” He said the State government has borrowed `19,000 crore to procure paddy from farmers. Writing once again to Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal, Swain said the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) is facing extreme shortage of funds. “Borrowing from banks has reached `19,000 crore since there is huge unpaid sum towards provisional and advance subsidy of `5,616 crore as on March 10, 2021,” the letter stated. On delivery of custom milled rice (CMR), Swain said the State is expected to have a surplus of 30 lakh tonne of rice which needs to be evacuated by the FCI during the current kharif marketing season. FCI has so far lifted 6.8 lakh tonne and for March the movement plan is for a lower quantity . Over-flooding of rice in State’s godowns is preventing timely receipt of rice from custom millers. This in turn will be a major roadblock for smooth procurement of paddy during rabi season, he said, requesting early resolution of these problems.
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