BHUBANESWAR l thursday l april 08, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION 2 judokas test Covid +ve, team out of oly qualifier Entire 19-member judo contingent for Asia-Oceania meet in Bishkek has been quarantined. Other sports too not spared The Bhopal hospital has created a SAI ward to admit infected athletes uncertain days ahead for squad A day after one judoka contracted Covid-19, a second athlete also returned a positive test on Wednesday. As a result, all members are in isolation. The Judo Federation of India (JFI) have dialled Indian Embassy, seeking their help in flying those who tested negative back to India. Since they were not allowed to compete, India decided to pull out of the competition | P11 1 week SAI Bhopal inundated with cases ■ As many as 36 people, including 24 athletes at SAI’s Bhopal facility, test positive across two rounds of testing. Interestingly, few of the judokas in Bishkek were training in Bhopal ■ In the IPL, RCB’s Daniel Sams tested positive. ISL side Bengaluru FC also reported three positive Covid-19 tests new SAI SOP says national campers to be tested once every week 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 Odisha could see peak of 5,000 cases a day by month-end E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e force headed by Municipal Commissioner to identify workplace Beneficiary has to be 45+; registration on Co-WIN mandatory Workplace management to designate senior staff as nodal officer to coordinate with authorities | P8 791 573 588 06 Apr In cities, task Odisha on Wednesday had to shut down 692 vaccination centres due to shortage of doses even as the government has been calling upon the Centre to rush stocks for an unbroken chain of inoculation in the State. As many as 1,472 centres were opened a couple of days ago in efforts to increase vaccination across the districts. The number, however, was brought down to 780 as the State is facing a shortage of vaccine stock. While no session was planned in Koraput, highest 93 centres were closed in Ganjam followed by 50 in Mayurbhanj, 43 in Sonepur and 41 in Puri. “We had no other option but to close some vaccination centres in every district as the cold chain points ran out of stock. It will take at least a day for distribution of the fresh arrival,” said Director (Family Welfare) Dr Bijay Panigrahi. The Centre had provided 3.5 lakh doses of Covishield on Tuesday a day after the Health and Family Welfare department sought 15 lakh doses. Though there are around 1.26 lakh doses of Covaxin in stock, the State is facing a shortage of Covishield. CONTINUED ON: P5 7-day surge 05 Apr force chaired by District Magistrate to identify workplace E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar 3,44,647 Total confirmed cases 04 Apr In districts, task 692 centres shut over vax shortage 4,009 544 Active cases 471 about 100 eligible and willing employee beneficiaries 1 03 Apr Should have 1,923 Death 452 offices eligible 791 203 3,38,662 246 New cases Recovered 02 Apr Govt and private The bodies of eight Covid-19 victims placed on a single pyre due to shortage of space at a makeshift crematorium in Maharashtra’s Beed district on Tuesday | PTI 461 GET the SHOT IN your OFFICE 01 Apr The Centre and the Opposition -ruled states clashed over vaccine availability on Wednesday when India recorded a day’s high of 1,15,736 fresh cases, crossing the 1-lakh mark for the second time in three days. The Union health ministry came down hard on Oppositionruled states for playing “petty politics” over vaccination and stated that there is no dearth of vaccine stock, hours after Maharashtra, Delhi, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh said that they have sent SOS alerts to the Centre over Covid vaccine scarcity . “The lackadaisical attitude of the state government has singularly bogged down the entire country’s efforts to fight the virus,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said referring to the Thackerayled Maharashtra government. He also criticised the Congress-led government in Chhattisgarh for being ‘perhaps the only government in the world where its leaders were inciting vaccine hesitancy’ and blamed its leaders for spreading “misinformation” and “panic” re- garding vaccination. Vardhan blamed states for their alleged attempts to distract attention from their failure to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and described the allegations of vaccine shortage as “baseless”. Referring to Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan governments’ demand to open vaccination for all adults, Vardhan said that the Centre has been transparently updating all the state governments about the demand-supply dynamics and the resultant jab strategy . In his letter, Harsh Vardhan also pointed to the lack of Covid-19 facilities in Rajasthan, Punjab as well as BJPruled Karnataka and Gujarat. “Many other states also need to bring their healthcare systems up to the mark. For example, the quality of testing needs to improve in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat. In Punjab, high case fatality rate needs to be improved by early identification of those needing hospitalization,” he said. Vardhan said irresponsible statements by some state functionaries were spreading panic among the people. Odisha is expected to witness a steep rise in coronavirus cases between April 15 and 25, and hit the peak of second wave by end of the month. As per a preliminary projection by three organisations, including ICMR, IIT-Bhubaneswar and Johns Hopkins University of the US, a health official said the daily caseload could touch 5,000 at its peak and the number may be sustained for a period of three weeks. “The cases have been projected in view of the rising trend in the last one week. It may vary as the actual data comes in. The projection made by the same model closely matched the last year’s actual outcome,” he said and maintained that it will be difficult to predict the fatalities as the infection is spreading fast with less or no deaths in the State. The official informed that the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) and Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) are analysing the mutated strains which could be behind the rapid surge in infections. The State took a big leap in new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday as 791 people from 29 districts tested positive in last 24 hours. Fresh infections rose by 35 per cent over the the previous day’s count of 588 cases. The 394 Maharashtra, Andhra send SOS for more stock; Centre says some states are trying to mislead and spread panic S a n a S h a k i l @ New Delhi Covid tally : April 7 @ Bhubaneswar 31 Mar Sparring match on vax politicalisation State conducted 31,531 tests during the period. Sundargarh district recorded over 100 cases for the first time this year. With 147 cases, the district bordering Chhattisgarh, topped the chart followed by Khurda (118), Bargarh (48), Cuttack (46), Sambalpur (45), Puri (43), Keonjhar (39), Kalahandi (38), Jharsuguda and Nuapada (31 each). Nine districts bordering Chhattisgarh reported 343 cases accounting for 43 pc of the new infections. Test positivity rate has also shot up from 2.35 pc a day before to 2.5 pc. One person succumbed to the disease taking the death toll to 1,923. A 28-year-old Covid positive patient of Puri district who was also suffering from diabetes mellitus died while undergoing treatment. The Covid tally in the State has soared to 3,44,647, of which 3,38,416 have recovered and the active cases stand at 4,009. Meanwhile, the State government has rushed senior government officials to the affected districts to monitor the situation. Development Commissioner PK Jena visited Jharsuguda district and took a review. He will visit Sundargarh on Thursday Health . Director Dr Bijay Mohapatra and Director of Medical Education and Training Dr CBK Mohanty will tour Kalahandi and Nuapada to monitor enforcement and containment measures. Dists asked to keep CCCs ready Bhubaneswar The State government on Wednesday asked the districts to keep the dedicated Covid care centers (DCCCs) in readiness in view of the resurgence of Covid-19 pandemic. Dovish RBI opts for pause on rates, flags inflation risk Express News Service @ New Delhi The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday kept interest rates unchanged to support growth but remained cautious amid risks to the economy arising from the second wave of Covid infections and high inflation. Announcing the decision to keep the policy rate at 4%, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said the central bank will do “whatever it takes” to support economic recovery . RBI also retained its FY22 UK panel urges alternative to Astra vax for under-30s The European Union drug regulator said Wednesday that it found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare clotting disorder but declined to impose any new age restrictions, saying the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks | P12 T GDP growth forecast of 10.5% with the warning that re-imposition of lockdown in some states could hurt the economy . “The recent surge in infections has imparted greater uncertainty to the outlook,” Das said. “Localised and regional lockdowns could dampen the recent improvement in demand conditions and delay the return of normalcy he added. ,” Inflation remained a concern, as RBI raised its inflation forecast for Q2 and Q3 by 0.2% and 0.1% to 5.2% and 4.4%, respectively With this, RBI is pro. jecting inflation at 5% in FY22. RBI also committed to buy government bonds worth `1 lakh crore under ‘the secondary market government securities acquisition programme’ or G-Sap. While the RBI stance was on expected lines, experts say the focus was on supporting growth. “The RBI policy was more dovish than expected with the central bank recognis- ing the risks associated with the rising infection cases in the county and continuing its support for growth. Fears of any pre-mature tightening either through rates or liquidity management by some sections of the market have been put to rest by RBI’s dovish tone,” said Abheek Barua, chief economist, HDFC Bank. In another development, RBI has proposed to allow cash withdrawals from digital wallets such as Paytm and prepaid cards issued by non-bank entiP10 ties. GST is not citizen-friendly, says SC E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi GOODS and Services Tax (GST) is not at all citizen-friendly ac, cording to the Supreme Court. The observation came when a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing a plea against the government’s powers of provisional attachment under the Himachal Pradesh GST Act. While reserving the order, the bench criticised the manner in which the indirect tax law was being enforced by author- ities saying taxmen can’t assume that all businesses are fraudulent. “Parliament had aimed to give the GST a citizen-friendly tax structure. But, the purpose of the Act is lost by the manner of enforcement in our country it said on Tuesday ,” . Pulling up tax officers for raising huge demands without accountability, the bench said, “Just be- cause you have the account numbers, you can’t start attaching and even block the receivables.” The plea was filed by Radha Krishna Industries, alleging attachment of property under Section 83 of the Act is ‘draconian’. The provision allows the tax department to attach any property (including bank accounts and accounts receivable) during the pendency of tax proceedings. Parliament had aimed to give the GST a citizen-friendly tax structure. But, the purpose of the Act is lost by the manner of enforcement in our country Supreme Court GOLDEN harvest A farmer winnowing paddy grains to remove chaff at his agricultural field on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar | Biswanath E X P R E SS R E A D EC notice to Didi for alleged MCC violation New Delhi: The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a notice to West Bengal chief minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee for her alleged appeal to Muslim voters not to split their votes among different political parties. She has been asked to respond to the notice within the next 48 hours | P7 Chennai girl Nethra set to qualify for Olympics ‘Prioritise Sagarmala with community focus’ Chennai: Nethra Kumanan is set to become the first woman sailor to qualify for the Olympics. Nethra, taking part in the Musannah Open Championship in Oman, is placed well with just one day to go. As long as she has an incident-free final day, the Chennai girl in the Laser Radial Class will assure a place in Tokyo. Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday called for close coordination among departments for timely completion of Sagarmala projects. The CM directed departments concerned to prioritise projects with a focus on the development of coastal community | P2 Rahul Gandhi in West Bengal? Maybe in Naxalbari he game is going into the bloody slog overs in Bengal, but where is Rahul Gandhi? Call it a secondary mystery wrapped inside a nailbiting political thriller. It’s a missing piece of jigsaw no one seems to have much noticed— or considered—despite it having the potential to decide a cliffhanger. Now, it’s quite natural that when it comes to Bengal—the mother, or perhaps the big sister of all battles—attention has tended to be concentrated upon the primary antagonists. Like a convex lens focusing sunlight, the pitched battle of attrition between the Trinamool and the BJP has been setting off a lot of fires in the media. Who has time, then, to think about the Congress—a dwindling presence here, atrophying even in its old pockets of influence? If at all it gets talked West Bengal SANTWANA BHATTACHARYA about, it’s because of the curious alliance it has helped put together, the Sanjukta Morcha, which has it partnering with the Left and a party floated by an Islamic cleric. The Morcha is in play in 294 seats, but it may be tough going for them. The Congress is fighting some 92 of those, but even by its own internal estimations, the party stands a good chance of halving its tally in the state Assembly from 44 to 22. Others say even that’s optimistic, and reckon the Morcha’s overall pickings would be between 25 and 60 when play ends. But 92 seats are not piffling stakes, so the question remains: Where is Rahul? Or Priyanka Gandhi, for that matter? Even the other usual national faces of the Congress have all been conspicuous by their absence. What’s up? The standard reading is Bengal offers such a dismal picture that they are giving it a wide berth, and focused on Assam and Kerala, where they are tru- ly in the game. But there’s also a sense that the Congress central command is uncomfortable campaigning against Mamata Banerjee. Many of the party’s UPA allies—the NCP, RJD and DMK— are outright supporting Mamata as the lone woman soldier holding out against a rampaging BJP. Even the Samajwadi Party, though not in the UPA, sent Jaya Bachchan to the battlefield—she held a press meet backing Mamata, and letting on that her party leader Akhilesh Yadav had clearly taken the West Bengal CM as a valuable anti-BJP force. So is there actually reluctance to fight the good fight? Not so, say key party insiders in New Delhi. Out in Kolkata, Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya, speaking while leading a padayatra for a candidate to file nomination papers, confirms that. Continued on: P7
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