BHUBANESWAR l Sunday l April 04, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l JEYPORE EDITION Frontliner window closed Centre on Saturday said no fresh registration of frontliners will be allowed to prevent the misuse of provisions by ineligible people to jump the queue Sharp Spike ipl under covid scare 50% cases in 10 dists 89,129 cases recorded on Saturday 714 fatalities, the highest in over six months 47,913 cases reported from Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka (4,991) and Chhattisgarh (4,174) The last time such a high spike was reported was on September 20, 2020, when 92,605 infections were recorded in 24 hours A raft of Covid-19 positives dampened the build-up to the next edition of the IPL, scheduled to begin on April 9. Here's a look at developments 6,58,909 active cases on Saturday (5.32% of total infections) 10 Districts: Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Thane, Nashik, Bengaluru Urban, Aurangabad, Delhi, Ahmednagar and Nanded (50% of the total active caseload in the country) Problem states Maharashtra has shown a nine-fold jump in the number of active cases in the past two months In percentage terms, Punjab has reported the maximum increase in active cases ■ Five states — Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, K’taka and Chhattisgarh — together account for 77.3% of the total active cases ■ ■ ■ Axar Patel becomes second IPL player after Nitish Rana to test positive. Rana started training again on Saturday More than 15 others, including six event management officials, also test positive Organisers bringing in different set of groundstaff to tend to Wankhede Stadium after they also test positive Reports suggest Hyderabad kept as a back-up option to shift games but Mumbai to remain venue as of now | P10, 13 24,69,59,192 Samples tested for Covid-19 up to April 2 Eight states Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh account for 81.42% of single-day infections 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 announcement The cover price of The New Sunday Express has been revised to `12 with effect from April 04, 2021. — Editor HIGHEST daily spike in over 6 months As many as 89,129 new Covid-19 were reported in the country on Saturday, the highest daily rise in around six-and-halfmonths, taking the total tally of infections to over 1.23 crore and total death toll to 1,64,110 with 714 fatalities being reported on a single day. Over 81 per cent of the total infections reported on Saturday were from just eight states | P8 BJP MLAs hurl shoes at Speaker’s podium, 3 suspended E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar The Odisha Assembly witnessed a new low on Saturday when some BJP members hurled slippers, earphones and paper balls at the Speaker’s podium protesting the manner in which the Odisha Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill was passed in the House. Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro suspended three BJP members including deputy leader of Opposition Bishnu Charan Sethi, Opposition chief whip Mohan Charan Majhi and former minister Jaynarayan Mishra after examining the video footage of the incident, which took place in the prelunch session. The suspension will be in force till the end of the Budget session which ended on Saturday, six days ahead of its original schedule. The saffron party legislators gave vent to their anger when the Bill was passed within minutes without any discussion. The Congress members also joined the protest as the Speaker rejected an adjournment motion notice given by them on alleged corruption in mining activities. Sethi and Mishra were seen standing on their seats and throwing some objects towards the Speaker’s table. The objects hurled by them were found to be slippers, papers, pen, dustbin and earphones. The slippers and other materials, though, did not reach the podium. Sethi, however, refused the allegation of throwing slippers towards the Speaker’s podium. Mishra also said he does not know what exactly he had Mishra and Sethi hurled slippers and earphones while Majhi threw the earphone. They are doing so just to remain in the news Pramila Mallick, Govt Chief Whip thrown. “I do not know what exactly I have thrown, but he (Speaker) deserves this kind of behaviour. He does not function in a democratic manner,” he said. Describing the Speaker’s decision as undemocratic, the BJP MLAs led by Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik also started an overnight dharna near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the Assembly premises. Naik said they will meet Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal on Monday to apprise him about undemocratic manner in which the Bill was passed. The Speaker went to dharna place and persuaded the BJP MLAs to end the protest without any success. Gover nment Chief Whip Pramila Mallick told mediapersons outside the House that Mishra and Sethi hurled slippers and earphones while Majhi threw the earphone. “They are doing so just to remain in the news,” she said. Leader of Congress Legislature Party Narasingha Mishra condemned the incident and described it as unfortunate. He alleged that the Congress had served a notice for discussion on large-scale irregularities in mining activities, which has been rejected by the Speaker without any reason. “It is also unfortunate that Bills are passed in the House without discussion. Bills should not be passed when the House is not in order,” he said. Second chappal-throwing incident after 17 years Bhubaneswar: This was for the second time in recent history that chappals were hurled in the Assembly. The last such incident had taken place on November 2, 2004 when then Congress MLA from Brajrajnagar Anup Sai had thrown his slippers towards security personnel in the gallery when the House was discussing a controversial mining contract. The BJD and BJP were in a coalition government then. In the chaos, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s left foot was trapped when the legislators stumbled over his desk. As he screamed in pain, some MLAs had rushed to his aid and extricated his foot. Then Speaker Maheswar Mohanty had suspended Sai for rest of the session. Sai had since crossed over to the ruling BJD. The former Congress MLA is now in Chhattisgarh jail for alleged involvement in a double murder case of 2016. lockdown shadow CAG punches holes in Govt’s Niramaya Odisha imposes night curfew in scheme, flags irregularities by OSMCL 10 dists to prevent virus surge E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Odisha government on Saturday announced night curfew in 10 bordering districts from April 5 to stem the spread of Covid-19. Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said the curfew from 10 pm to 5 am everyday will remain in force in Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Koraput and Malkangiri districts till further orders. All shops, commercial establishments, offices, institutions will remain closed and the movement of individuals will be restricted. The collectors may also impose additional restrictions or allow activities depending on the local situation, he added. Odisha reported 452 new Covid cases from 28 districts in last 24 hours of which more than 50 per cent of cases were from these 10 districts. Though Khurda topped the list with 77 cases, western and southern districts such as Sundargarh (75), Nuapada (71), Kalahandi (29), Bargarh (19), Jharsuguda (17), Balangir (15) and Ganjam (13) showed a collective resurgence. Active cases remained highest in Khurda (473) followed by Nuapada (332), Sundargarh (307), Kalahandi (243), Bargarh (220), Cuttack (187) and Jharsuguda (77). The new confirmed infections have pushed the active case tally to 2,820. The night curfew has returned to these districts after a gap of seven months. However, in view of a possible resurgence of Covid-19, Malkangiri was the first district to re-impose it last month. The restrictions will not be applicable to doctors and paramedical staf f, emergency workers of electricity, fire services, telecom, water supply, railways, airport and transport services as well as municipal administration officials and police on duty. The government has allowed construction activities and operation of industrial units as usual in this period. Home delivery of food, groceries, vegetables and other essential items has also been allowed. Besides, there will be no restriction on public and private transport services including OLA and Uber. The government, however, has asked the district police to identify the print and electronic media houses to allow movement of their staff during this period. Punching holes in the much-hyped Niramaya free drug distribution scheme and Health for All initiative of the State government, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has exposed massive irregularities by the Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL) in procurement of drugs and medical consumables along with showing undue favouritism to suppliers. Coming down heavily on the Health and Family Welfare department for the serious lapses, the CAG pointed out that the State government has failed to ensure unbroken supply of essential drugs to patients in public health institutions as per its own prescribed Essential Drugs List (EDL). The Odisha government had launched the Niramaya Maoists kill five jawans in ambush E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Raipur utkal university convocation VP M Venkaiah Naidu conferring Honoris Causa on RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das at Utkal University on Saturday| Express e x p r e ss r e a d Fears of wider conflict as rebels back protesters Yangon: Ten of Myanmar’s major rebel groups threw their support behind the country’s anti-coup movement on Saturday, fanning fears that a broader conflict could erupt in a country long plagued by fighting between the military and the ethnic armies.On Saturday, 10 rebel groups met virtually to discuss the situation, condemning the junta’s use of live ammunition on protesters | P9 PARLIAMENT Panel for new law to uncage CBI PAGE 8 WITH THIS ISSUE Jailed prof Saibaba sacked from DU college New Delhi: Delhi University’s Ram Lal Anand College has terminated the service of assistant professor G N Saibaba, who is serving life term in Nagpur Central Prison for alleged Maoist links. According to a memorandum received by Saibaba’s wife Vasantha on Thursday, his services were terminated from the afternoon of March 31. Terming the development a “witch hunt”, Saibaba’s wife alleged that it was a “violation of employee’s rights” and she would take the matter to court The Spirit is Willing PLUS 12 PAGES A fierce gun battle between ambushed security forces and Maoists left at least five personnel and two rebels dead in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district on Saturday. Around a dozen personnel were reported injured. Reinforcements were rushed to the site, but the forces were yet to return from the operation, Director General of Police D M Awasthi said. O n F r i d ay night, several parties of the security forces fanned out across the Bijapur-Sukma border on anti-Maoist operations based on intel inputs. The ultras ambushed one of the parties near Tarrem on Saturday noon, resulting in a nearly three hour exchange of fire. Two choppers and nine ambulances were rushed to Bijapur to aid the forces, officials said, adding bodies of two rebels had been recovered from the site. scheme in 2016 under which patients are being provided drugs free of cost at all public health facilities in the State. The OSMCL under the Health department has been entrusted with procurement and supply of the drugs, medical consumables and equipment. The audit, conducted for the years 2016 to 2019, revealed that the procurement process was riddled with systemic flaws and there was an inordinate delay in finalisation of annual procurement plans for drugs, medical consumables and equipment, instruments and furniture (EIFs). The OSMCL could supply only 49 per cent (pc) of the indented/approved quantity of drugs and medical consumables to health institutions during 2016-19. Non-supply of indented quantity resulted in nonavailability of essential drugs in health facilities. The audit has also revealed that under the government’s flagship KHUSHI scheme for health and hygiene of women and girl children, sanitary napkins were procured at higher prices while undue favouritism was shown to a particular firm for procurement of spectacles under Sunetra Yojana for universal eyecare. The State Drug Management Committee (SDMC) had approved 524 to 596 kinds of drugs and medical consumables to the tune of 692.97 crore units for procurement during 2016-19, but the OSMCL could only get 336.94 crore units. “Owing to the delay, the health institutions procured locally and incurred excess expenditure. The audited health institutions had incurred excess expenditure of `98.12 lakh (44 pc) in procuring medicines worth `2.24 crore during 2018-19. Similarly OSMCL could procure only , 43 pc EIF against the approved quantity during 2016-19. Audit findings Procurement lapses 199 to 204 essential drugs and consumables to the tune of 356.03 crore units approved for 2016-19 were not procured at all. As per e-Niramaya database for 2018-19, 151 to 260 types of drugs were in short supply whereas 29 to 100 were over supplied. The OPD beneficiaries’ survey revealed 141 of 555 prescribed drugs were not distributed to the patients. During 2016-19, OSMCL had placed 3,471 purchase orders (POs) with 484 firms for supply of drugs and consumables worth `568.65 crore. But, only 70 pc of the POs were fully executed and 23 pc partially. Continued on: P5 Hathras horror: UP STF files charge sheet against 8 PFI activists N AMITA B A J PAI @ Lucknow The Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police on Saturday filed a 5,000-page charge-sheet against eight members of Popular Front of India (PFI) in the Mathura additional district judge and sessions court on Saturday The . court has posted the matter for next hearing on May 1. Those named in the chargesheet include journalist Siddique Kappan, Atiqur Rehman, Rauf Sharif, Mohammad Danish, Alam, Masood Ahmad, Feroz Khan and Asad Badruddin. All the accused were charged with receiving `80 lakh from financial institutions in Muscat and Doha for fomenting unrest in UP. The STF had arrested five PFI members, including Kappan, in Mathura on October 5, 2020, while they were on the way to Hathras allegedly to meet the family of a Dalit girl who was gangraped. The FIR against them said they were going to Hathras with an intention “to breach the peace” as part of a “conspiracy”. The STF on February 16 STF has indicted the PFI members for plotting caste riots in Hathras and adjoining districts in the aftermath of the gang-rape of the Dalit girl. The victim died at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital on September 29, 2020. Sources last claimed to have busted a terror plot with the arrest of two PFI activists -- Feroz Khan and Asad Badruddin -in Lucknow. A huge cache of explosives, arms and incriminating documents was recovered from them. They were allegedly planning a serial blast in Uttar Pradesh. According to highly placed sources, the STF has indicted the PFI members for plotting caste riots in Hathras and adjoining districts in the aftermath of the gang-rape of the Dalit girl. The victim died at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital on September 29, 2020. Sources claimed one among those named in the charge- sheet by the STF is Mohammad Danish, who was arrested by the Delhi Police for hatching a conspiracy to incite communal riots in northeast Delhi. STF sources said the PFI members were charged with sedition, wantonly giving provocation with the intent to cause riot, injure or defile places of worship to insult religion, raising funds for terrorist act, conspiracy under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), among others. During the last hearing on March 31, the court of additional district and sessions judge (first) Anil Kumar Pandey in Mathura had posted the matter to April 3 as the STF had sought two more days to file the charge sheet. Since the time limit to submit a charge-sheet would have expired on Sunday the STF filed , it on Saturday . All the accused PFI members are lodged in a Mathura jail. Kappan’s family in Kerala has done multiple protests in the state, alleging foul play in the arrest and seeking his Continued on: P8 release.
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