HYDERABAD THURSDAY MARCH 18, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION KOO BECOMES 100% DESI AS CHINESE INVESTOR EXITS START-UP A-LISTERS BUY OUT SHUNWEI STAKE A bunch of Indians, including ex-cricketer Javagal Srinath, buy out Shunwei Capital’s stake in Koo, India’s answer to Twitter 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 | P10 ■ 4 million 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 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 LOSING PRECIOUS DROPS MODI FLAGS VAX WASTAGE, Will fight with Centre SEEKS CORRECTIVE STEPS when State’s interests are at stake, says KCR EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ 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 cor- rectives) so that there’s no wastage,” he stressed. Telangana tops the list Later in the day Union health , 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 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. 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 for a second peak of coronavirus, the gover nment confir med on Wednesday. The difference this time is that it will not be the metros 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 na33,000 28,000 tional task force on Covid-19. 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 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 . WORRISOME UPTICK IN DAILY CASES 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 DAILY NEW CASES 7-DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF DAILY NEW CASES NEW CASES (As on March 17, 2021) 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 . Nearly 28,902 NEW DEATHS Nearly 43% 37% 23,000 18,000 week-on-week increase 18,855 week-on-week increase 17,407 10,050 14,264 9,110 13,000 8,000 Jan 19 High Court rejects apology and summons Addl Collector EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad TAKING a serious view of the deliberate violation of court orders by the Sangareddy Additional Collector, Revenue Divisional Officer and the Tahsildar concerned, the Telang ana High Cour t, on Wednesday, directed them to appear before on April 7, in a contempt case. The Court rejected the apologies offered by the government counsel, on behalf of the said officials, describing it as a backup plan and not genuine. A division bench of the Court, comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, passed this order in appeals filed by Additional Collector G Veera Reddy RDO S Sreenu and Tah, sildar U Ramadevi against the order of a single judge, who sentenced them to two months imprisonment and imposed a fine of `2,000 each in a contempt case for not implementing the court’s orders in a petition filed by EJ David. He sought direction to the authorities to register five acres of land at Kandi Chimnapur in Sangareddy district and to issue pattadar passbook. Jan 29 Feb 9 Feb 21 Mar 4 Mar 16 MORE SCHOOLKIDS INFECTED WITH COVID, KCR VOWS TO ADDRESS ISSUE As Covid-19 continues to infect children at schools, the disconcerting trend has found an echo in the State Assembly on Wednesday when Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said he would attend to the issue in a day or two. “I am very much concerned over Covid-19 affecting children. It has pained me a lot. It is imperative that a decision has to be taken soon,” the Chief Minster said, while commending the Medical and Health Department for its marvellous service. In another disquieting development, two more children tested positive for Covid-19 in the Keesara Minorities Welfare Residential School late on Tuesday night, taking the total positive cases from the cluster to 38. The numbers may rise further as the RTPCR results of the rest of the students, who initially tested negative, are yet to be announced | P4 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 re- Mamata releasing TMC manifesto in Kolkata on Wednesday | BIBHASH LODH leasing the 66-page document on Wednesday . 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 taxpaying member or own more than two hectares of land. Another notable promise is that the poor and underprivileged won’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. V V B A L A K R I S H N A @ Hyderabad not spare anyone in the case,” he assured the House. CLEARING the air on State’s Referring to the farm laws relations with the Centre, Chief brought in by the Centre, Rao Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said local markets would conon Wednesday said that he tinue to be in operation in the would fight with the Centre State to purchase paddy. “We when the rights and interests of are in touch with the Food CorTelangana are threatened and poration of India, which asat the same time maintain “con- sured us that they would prostitutional” relations for secur- cure 80 lakh tonnes of paddy ing what is due to the State. from the State. The State gov“I will not fight on each and ernment will purchase entire every issue but would definite- paddy produced in the State by ly raise voice if our paying minimum supState’s interests are at port price. The marstake. The ongoing kets will continue. works under the State Purchase centres will and Centre have to go be opened in select vilon and for this purlages, in districts pose, a governmentwhere Covid-19 is on to-government relathe rise,” he said. tionship has to be No CBI probe He also referred to maintained,” Rao said into murders the reports placed by in his reply to the de- “We will not hand various Union Minisbate on motion of ters in the ongoing over the case thanks to the GoverParliament session to (murder of nor’s address in the advocates Gattu highlight the progress State Assembly . achieved by TelangaVaman Rao and S t at i n g t h at h e Nagamani) to the n a i n i r r i g a t i o n , would make a state- CBI. Our police are g r o u n d w a t e r r e ment on the first Pay efficient,” said the charge, improvement Revision Commission in green cover, in capiChief Minister (PRC) report in the tal expenditure and Assembly in the next two to supply of potable water. Rao, three days, he assured the State however, hastened to add that government employees that the concept of KCR Kits was they would get a decent pay borrowed from “Amma Kits” of hike. However, he refused to Tamil Nadu and Basti Dawaoblige to the demand of the Op- khanas from the Delhi governposition to hand over the mur- ment. “We will try to learn der case of advocate couple -- G from others. We will also recogVaman Rao and P V Nagamani, nise the development works of to the CBI. “The High Court is the previous Congress governseized of the matter. Our police ments in the region. But, CLP are efficient. We will not hand leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarover the case to CBI. The TRS ka has no love towards us,” the leader who was involved in the CM said taking a potshot at the murder is now in jail. We will Congress leader. HIGHLIGHTS OF CM’S REPLY Mallanna Sagar People over 57 years of age to to be inaugurated get Aasara pension in June Unemployment allowance not given due to pandemic PalamuruRangareddy LIS to be inaugurated loss incurred by exchequer during Kharif due to Covid-19 season State increased tax marginally on petrol only once in six years `52K crore Police chief of Mumbai shunted to limit damage S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai MAHARASHTRA Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday began a damage limitation exercise, shunting out Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh and replacing him with Hemant Nagrale in the wake of the arrest of controversial police officer Sachin Waze. Till now, Nagrale was holding additional charge of the state Director General of Police. This newspaper was the first to report that Singh’s job was on the line. The transfers were part of a big police department shake up. Rajnish Seth, director general at the Anti-Corruption Bureau, has been given additional charge of director general of the state police. Singh is now director general of home guard. Sources said Rajnish Seth was the frontrunner for Mumbai CP but most of the senior ministers in ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi insisted on naming a Marathi instead. “So, Nagrale, who was otherwise senior in rank to the Mumbai CP, was brought back as a Mumbai CP he added. ,” FUTURE TENSE Spiralling yarn prices force 80 Sircilla Textile Park units to shut shop N A V E E N K U M A R TA L L A M @ Rajanna-Sircilla WHEN Sircilla Textile Park was opened in 2002-2003 with an investment of `7.73 crore, the weavers in the area felt that their problems have finally come to an end and that they could look forward to a square meal a day The Park, with 237 . plots in it, was expected to provide direct employment to 7,000 workers. But now their dreams lie shattered as machines in about 80 units in the park have slowly ground to a halt and only silence reigns on the premises. The units gradually folded up with poor marketing facilities. On top of this, the steep hike in yarn prices has done them in. The Park was set up at Sircilla as it is home to nearly 25,495 of the total 35,588 weavers in the State. After the heartless pandemic hit the units leading to their near paralysis, it was hoped Machines grind to a halt at a textile unit in Sircilla Textile Park that life would come back as the Covid-19 retreated but that was not be. For the last two months, no trader is showing any interest in the 1.56 crore metres of cloth which remains piled up in the units. The value of the cloth is about `2 crore. The cost of the production has shot up with polyester yarn rice increasing to `270 from `170 per kg a few months ago. Similarly polyester cotton yarn prices have increased from `175 to `270 per kg. CONTINUED ON P5 NARAYANA FORMER AP MINISTER SERVED NOTICES BY CID OFFICIALS IN AMARAVATI LAND SCAM | P5 EXPRESS READ Cancellation of 3 cr ration cards serious: SC New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday described the cancellation of around 3 crore ration cards by the Centre due to non-linking with Aadhaar, leading to alleged starvation P8 deaths, as “too serious”.
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