bhubaneswar l friday l march 26, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION Army’s criteria for women officers discriminatory: SC The Supreme Court asked govt to grant permanent commission to women officers who were excluded on grounds of fitness standards file photo Fitness standards created for men Superficial equality: Chandrachud The court observed that these fitness standards were created by male officers for male officers and, hence, were discriminatory towards women. The verdict came on a batch of pleas which said the Indian Army had not granted permanent commission to even 50% of women Short Service Commission officers despite a Supreme Court order mandating the same ■ Feb 2020 The judgment quoted Justice R B Ginsburg of US Supreme Court, “I ask no favour for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” Justice D Y Chandrachud in his judgment When THE S.C. directed army to grant said, “A superficial sense of equality is not in the true spirit of the Constitution and attempts to make equality only symbolic.” women officers permanent commission 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 Indian Supermodel predicts national peak of 70-80K new Covid cases daily by mid-April Highest global contact rate in India R ic h a S h a r m a @ New Delhi Amid the galloping Covid-19 cases, it turns out that India is witnessing the world’s highest coronavirus contact rate, whereby an infected person is infecting another one every two days. What is worrying is the massive jump in contact rate this month, according to the Indian Supermodel for Covid-19. The latest analysis through the model, initiated by the Department of Science of Technology predicts the peak of the , second wave by mid-April, when daily infections will be between 70,000 and 80,000, primarily driven by Maharashtra. 3,95,192 1,00,738 India’s total active caseload Fresh cases in just 2 days recorded 53,476 Fresh cases24 hours in the last Double whammy The reach parameter measures the fraction of the population affected by the pandemic. At 40%, reach is the highest in Maharashtra, making it a double whammy along with high contact rate According to scientists analysing the model, the cause of this unexpected jump in contact rate is likely to be a combina- tion of more crowding in public spaces like schools and colleges, markets and public places and public transport and faster spreading mutations. “The contact parameter seen in India is reported nowhere in the world and a massive jump in contact rate is causing the sharp rise in cases all over. Early March, it was around 0.24 (an infected person infecting another in four days) and today it stands at 0.48 (every second day). The spike in many states is primarily due to a significant increase in contact rate,” said Manindra Agrawal, Deputy Director at IIT, Kanpur, who is part of the supermodel study Agrawal expects the sec. ond wave peak around April 15-25. “In Maharashtra, the contact rate has been high for a while (0.38 now though it was around 0.45 when there was no lockdown). The peak will be bigger than during the first wave around 40,000 new infections per day It is likely to ar. rive in early April. Even in Punjab, the second peak will be bigger than the first one with around 4,000 new infections per day but there is , a significant increase in reach,” said Agarwal. In Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and TN, the contact rate is around 0.5, while in Punjab it is 0.3. Covid-19 cases in Odisha cross 200 1,079 3,39,460 in biggest spike after two months state tally New cases - 214 Active cases Total confirmed cases 3,36,409 1,919 Recovered Deaths second wave Capital city sees 110 Covid cases in 5 days With the Covid-19 resurgence looming large over the State Capital, three new Covid positive cases were reported from a private school in Patia area in the last 24 hours. The cases were reported from hostels of the school prompting the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to collect samples of other students and staff in the campus | P2 E xpress N ews S ervice @ Bhubaneswar COVID-19 cases continued to spike in Odisha with daily caseload crossing 200 mark after two months. The State reported 214 infections from 24 districts in the last 24 hours, up by 26 per cent (pc) from the previous day . This was the highest singleday spike in the State since January 14 when 222 cases were recorded. The infections have gone up from only 10 on March 4, posting a rise by over 20 times within a span of 20 days. Health department sources said, of the 214 new cases, 126 were in quarantine and the rest 88 local infections pushing the active caseload to 1,079. Khurda reported the maximum 33 cases, followed by Sundargarh (27), Balangir and Cuttack (20), Bargarh (13), Balasore (11) and Dhenkanal, Koraput and Sambalpur (10). We are fully prepared to tackle the resurgence. Apart from enforcement of Covid norms, testing and tracing have been intensified and health infrastructure kept in readiness PK Mohapatra, Addl Chief Secy The test positivity rate (TPR) was 0.69 pc even as 30,729 samples were tested during the period. Bhubaneswar once again is beginning to spark concern with cases rising sharply. The educational institutions and hostels posed a big challenge for the city administration as three students from the hostel of a private school and one from Kendriya Vidyalaya-1 tested positive days after a cluster outbreak at Xavier Institute of Management (XIMB). In neighbouring Cuttack, Ravenshaw University has postponed UG and PG examinations, which were scheduled to be conducted from Thursday , after two students in a hostel tested positive. The city witnessed a surge in new cases with more than 100 people testing positive for the virus in the last one week. Three inmates of Jeypore sub-jail in Koraput tested positive after coming in contact with an infected prisoner. They have been kept in isolation for treatment. The district reported 10 cases including one from Cobra Battalion in Sunabeda. Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra, however, said, “We are fully prepared to tackle the resurgence. Apart from the enforcement of Covid norms, testing and tracing have been intensified and health infrastructure kept in readiness. We have around 3,000 beds with 289 ICU and 210 ventilators. If required, more beds will be added on a short notice,” he added. 2 coaching centres, shopping mall sealed Intensifying enforcement against Covid violations, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) on Thursday sealed two private coaching centres and a super market in the city. Chanakya coaching centre at Mission Road and Academics near Chandi Chowk have been sealed for violating the Covid protocols | P2 1 more NIT-R student tests positive The Rourkela city administration stepped up measures for strict enforcement of safety guidelines even as another student of National Institute of TechnologyRourkela (NIT-R) reportedly tested positive on Thursday | P4 Youth Congress activists taking out a rally from airport to Congress Bhawan in Bhubaneswar on Thursday | Express CJI suggests ad-hoc judges to cut pendency EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday said ad-hoc judges can be appointed in high courts to clear pending cases. “There are suits pending for 30 years which also include criminal trials. It is not a matter of opinion but fact that judges who have been there for 15 to 20 years can continue to dispose of matters,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Lok Prahari seeking appointment of retired judges to clear pending cases. The bench said the Constitution allows appointment of adhoc judges and taking that route has become a necessity in view of the out-of-hand Brace for hotter days ahead Petition filed in SC to stall Jagannath land sale E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi @ Bhubaneswar The next few days are likely to be very hot with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting above normal temperature in many parts of the State . The IMD on Thursday said maximum temperature is likely to rise by 2 degree Celsius to 3 degree C in interior districts during next two to three days. The temperature is expected to remain above normal by 3 degree C to 4 degree C at many places including Bhubaneswar during next four to five days. In the next two days, temperature of Bhubaneswar will remain around 40 degree C. Nine places in Odisha recorded 40 degree C or more. Boudh was the hottest at 40.8 degree C, followed by Bhubaneswar and Balangir at 40.4 each, Sonepur 40.2, Angul 40.1 and Baripada, Titlagarh, Malkangiri and Nayagarh at 40 degree C each. Cuttack recorded 39.8 degree Celsius on Thursday A day before, Bhubaneswar . was the hottest along with Baripada and Malkangiri as they recorded 40 degree C each. “Clear sky conditions, dry air and no moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal has led to a rise in temperature,” said Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre Director, HR Biswas. The regional Met office has also issued a yellow warning for thunderstorm and lightning at isolated places in five districts on March 28 and 29. “Thunderstorm and lightning with gusty surface wind speed reaching 30 km/hr to 40 km/hr is likely to occur at one or two places in Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Kendrapara districts on March 28,” said Biswas. Political pulse Fear, loathing and a new minority politics S itting inside his dirtcoated, poorly-stocked provision store next to a rural road at Joypur village in Assam’s Kokrajhar district, Akbar Ahmed is reticent about the ongoing state elections. “I am so busy in my shop that I have had no time to think of it. Let voting day come then I will apply my mind,” he said as cacophonic traffic blowing gas horns raced past, kicking up plumes of cough-inducing dust. A little later he dropped guard a tad, saying in the 2016 Assembly elections he had voted for the Bodoland People’s Front, then an alliance partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party . Ali-ur-Zaman in Kaziranga is similarly circumspect. Originally from Bongaigaon district in eastern Assam, he and his wife have been running a dhaba for the past four years on the national highway that cuts through the rhino sanctuary “I . will see, I can’t say anything Assam Polls H K h o g en S in g h @ Kokrajhar/Dhubri about voting right now,” he answered in one-liners, suspicious of every question and refusing to even make eye contact. His wife hemmed and hawed in greater measure: “We are confused.” About 350 kms away inside a weather-beaten, tin-roofed tea stall in Bagbari village, Dhubri district, Noor Islam is watching a video on his mobile of the arrest of civil rights activistturned-candidate Akhil Gogoi. Unlike Akbar and Zaman, Islam is not fearful of discussing the elections with a stranger. He declares his support for the Raijor Dal, Gogoi’s new political party, and spews venom on the BJP and its local candidate, pendency . goes beyond certain limit for, The Centre’s counsel Addi- say, more than eight or 10 tional Solicitor General R S years, then the Chief Justice Suri said ad-hoc appointments will automatically recommend can be made after vacancies the appointment of ad-hoc for regular posts are filled. To judge. After Collegium apthis, CJI Bobde said, proves, they can sit “We are not sure how and it (term) can be exmuch cooperation we tended,” it added. are receiving from you The court also wantregarding that. But ed to know the status ad-hoc judges are not of the 55 names cleared a threat.” by the SC Collegium The ad-hoc judges for appointments to would be considered S A Bobde, Chief various high courts the junior-most so that but have not been notiJustice of India they don’t become a fied by the government ‘threat’ to anybody in terms of yet. The top court noted that seniority the CJI added. , there should be a reasonable The SC also clarified that it’s timeframe for the law minisnot creating a new convention try to respond to the the Colbut is only suggesting to use a legium’s recommendations. provision in the Constitution. After seeking suggestions “Article 224A is a Constitution- from the Centre and high al provision... We will lay down courts, the SC adjourned the guidelines stating if pendency matter to April 8. Ashok Kumar Singhi. The tea shop owner, Usman Moni, in between blowing out betel nut from his paan-stained mouth and teeth every 15 minutes, is also vocal about the polls, the BJP and Singhi, describing the saffron party’s nominee as “Hitlerian”. It’s not difficult to understand why the Muslims of Kokrajhar and Kaziranga were suspicious while those in Dhubri were open, expansive and even poContinued on: P7 lemical. E xpress N ews S ervice Amid the row over Odisha government’s move to sell more than 35,000 acre land registered in the name of Lord Jagannath, a petition has been filed in Supreme Court seeking directions to stop selling any property of the Shree Jagannath temple. The plea filed by Jan Swabhiman Welfare Society also seeks to dissolve the current temple management board and replace it with a judicial oversight committee to ensure Dhar mic traditions are followed. Last week, State Law Minister Pratap Jena had informed the Assembly that properties in the name of Lord Jagannath is spread over 24 districts of Odisha, while 395.252 acre have also been identified in six other states like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar. Collectors of the districts concerned are being contacted to sell the properties, the Minister had stated. The temple administration has recorded 34,876.983 acres of land in the RoR. “The State government has taken necessary steps to sell the temple land as per the recommendation of a committee headed by former Governor BD Sharma and the approval of the Shree Jagannath temple managing committee,” he said. He added that 315.337 acres of Jagannath land in different districts has been sold, including a building at Bharati Mutt in Cuttack, and `11,20,77,000 have been deposited in the temple fund. Later, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration came out with a clarification stating that the report of sale of Jagannath temple land was false. Two Two CRPF personnel, including a subinspector, were killed and two others injured, one of them critically, in a CRPF jawans killed in militant attack at Lawaypora on the militant attack outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday | P8 bigger, better & virtual ThinkEdu E xpress N ews S ervice @ Chennai It was this time last year that our world changed forever. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a nationwide lockdown and we were all confined to our homes, grappling with a new reality. But amid such uncertainties, there’s one thing you could always rely on to happen like clockwork — the TNIE’s ThinkEdu Conclave. Over the past eight years, The New Indian Express has brought you a niche, curated and thoughtprovoking event in Chennai with some of the biggest names in the Indian education space and beyond in the form of the ThinkEdu Conclave. This year, with the pandemic refusing to recede, we’ve taken ThinkEdu virtual. We will bring 35 speakers streaming directly to your homes with some of the most vital and stimulating conversations around education, jobs, life after a pandemic, the new National Education Policy and so much more that centres around this year’s theme - Lessons for a new world. This year, we have Union ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal and Nitin Gadkari, Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Education Secretary Amit Khare, intellectuals like Makarand Paranjape, AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe, CSIR’s DG Dr Shekhar C Mande, among others talking about how the country can be truly Atmanirbhar. We also have authors like Amish, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Anuja Chauhan discussing their books and offering lessons for our young. ThinkEdu kicks off on March 26 at 7 pm. And this year, instead of two days, we have extended the event to five days — till March 30. You can catch the sessions live at newindianexpress.com, edexlive.com, eventxpress.com and our social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
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