vijayawada l THURSday l APRIL 08, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city 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 SAI Bhopal inundated with cases 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 ■ 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 1 week 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 Sparring match on vax politicalisation MPTC, ZPTC polls today as HC bench upholds SEC plea Maharashtra, Andhra send SOS for more stock; Centre says some states are trying to mislead and spread panic Sana Sha k i l @ New Delhi 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. GET the SHOT IN your OFFICE New scheme to allow vax at govt and private workplaces Should have about 100 eligible and willing employee beneficiaries In districts, task force chaired by District Magistrate to identify workplace In cities, task force headed by Municipal Commissioner to identify workplace Beneficiary has to be 45+; Co-WIN registration must Workplace management to designate senior staff as nodal officer to coordinate with authorities | P8 ZPTC elections on the ground that the SEC had failed to enforce the Model A division bench of the And- Code of Conduct for four hra Pradesh High Court on weeks prior to the election Wednesday set aside the sin- day This interim order was . gle-judge order staying issued on a petition filed by MPTC and ZPTC elections TDP leader Varla Ramaiah. slated to be held on ThursIn its verdict, the division day However, it directed the bench pointed out that . State Election Commission though Varla Ramaiah’s penot to count tition was still votes until the unresolved, the TDP leader to writ petition single-judge’s move SC pending before interim orders TDP leader Varla the single-judge made it look was disposed Ramaiah, the petitioner like it was disin the case, said he will of. posed of. It The division move the Supreme Court opined that the bench, compris- to protect democracy. He single-judge’s ing Chief Jus- opined that the division directive for a bench’s verdict was tice Arup Kunew poll notifimar Goswami, against the Apex Court’s cation looked directives and Justice like the final Praveen Kumar ve r d i c t . T h e issued the interim orders on bench further noted that the an appeal filed by the SEC single-judge, in his ruling, against the single-judge or- did not take into consideraders. In its ruling, the bench tion the fact that the fouralso directed the court regis- week model code was not foltry to ensure that the writ lowed in respect of the petition before the single- panchayat and municipal judge comes up for hearing elections. Besides, the sinon the scheduled date. gle-judge did not specifically It may be mentioned that a address the question of Varsingle-judge bench had on la Ramaiah’s locus standi in P4 Tuesday stayed the MPTC, the case. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada 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 TTD suspends Sarva Darshan token issue at Tirupati from Monday E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Tirumala With the spike in Covid-19 cases, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has decided to suspend the issuance of Sarva Darshan tokens at Tirupati from April 12. Sarva Darshan tokens will only be issued till Sunday evening. Chittoor is one of the five Covid hotspot districts in the State and it is witnessing a surge in daily count. On Wednesday Chittoor recorded 296 new infections and , its cumulative Covid tally crossed the 91,000mark. Of the daily count of 296 in the district, 120 cases were reported in Tirupati urban and 48 cases in Tirupati rural mandals. As thousands of pilgrims congregate at Bhudevi Complex and Vishnu Nivasam for Sarva Darshan tokens, there is a every likelihood of surge in Covid cases. Hence, the TTD has decided to suspend issuance of tokens from Monday. The TTD said it will formally announce resumption of darshan tokens’ isP5 sue once the Covid surge subsides. AP covid tracker 31,812 2,331 Samples tested 853 New cases New recoveries 13,276 Active cases Total 5.97% 7,262 toll Positivity rate 11 Deaths on Wednesday national scene 1,15,736 new cases registered in 24 hours as of Wednesday morning; 96,982 cases reported on Tuesday 59,856 630 recovered on Wednesday; cumulative recoveries stand at 1,17,92,135 deaths reported in the last 24 hours; 446 deaths on Tuesday; cumulative toll 1,66,177 Rahul Gandhi in West Bengal? Maybe in Naxalbari T he game is going into the bloody slog overs in Bengal, but where is Rahul Gandhi? Call it a secondary mystery wrapped inside a nail-biting 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 dwin- NBCC TO SELL 18 parcels of land IN VIZAG The National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) has issued notification for sale of 18 parcels of land in Vizag through e-auction under Mission Build AP from April 22-24 | P4 West Bengal SANTWANA BHATTACHARYA dling presence here, atrophying even in its old pockets of influence? If at all it gets talked 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 truly 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 Dovish RBI opts for pause on rates 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 recovery RBI also retained its . FY22 GDP forecast of 10.5% with the warning that reimposition of lockdown could hurt 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 condi- tions 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. In a related development, RBI proposed to allow cash withdrawals from digital wallets such as Paytm and prepaid cards issued by non-bank P10 entities. big guns firing Jagan likely to campaign for Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Tirupati thirsty bird A crow drinks water in Krishna river in Vijayawada in hot summer | p ravindra babu E X PR E S S R E AD GST is not citizen-friendly, says Supreme Court, reserves order on provisional attachments New Delhi: Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not at all citizen-friendly, according 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 authorities 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. d i a r r h o e a c a ses 100 hospitalised due to contaminated drinking water in Kurnool dist E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kurnool Nearly 100 people from Gorakallu village in Panyam mandal and a few localities in Nandyal and Adoni towns have been hospitalised in the past two days due to suspected drinking water contamination. Three persons from Gorakallu and one from Adoni reportedly died due to diarrhoea. However, medical and health officials maintained that the deaths were not due to consumption of contaminated drinking water. Adoni MLA Y Sai Prasad Reddy visited Arun Jyothi Nagar, which was the worst affected locality in the town, and directed municipal authorities to clean water tanks regularly and ensure supply of safe drinking water to people. District Collector G Veerapandian also directed the officials concerned to take steps to ensure supply of protected wa- People who fell ill due to consumption of contaminated water at Arun Jyothi Nagar in Adoni on Wednesday | Express ter to people. Speaking to TNIE, District Medical and Health Officer Dr Rama Giddaiah maintained that the deaths at Gorakallu were due to chronic ailments. “We have set up medical camps in Gorukallu, Nandyal and Adoni to treat the affected people. The situation is now under control,’’ he added. Adoni RDO Rama Krishna Reddy said they collected water samples and sent for analysis, which revealed that the drinking water supplied to the affected locality was chlorinated properly. “The tests have also confirmed that there is no contamination of water,’’ he said. The RDO further said they suspect the cause of illness might be due to consumption of adulterated food at a local jatara held three days ago. He, however, said all precautionary measures were taken to face the situation. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is likely to campaign for the YSRC candidate Dr M Gurumoorthy in Tirupati Lok Sabha byelection. For the first time after the YSRC came to power in the State, Jagan may take part in electioneering in the bypoll. He did not take part in the YSRC campaign for the urban local body elections. His Cabinet ministers, senior YSRC leaders, MLAs and MPs actively took part in the campaign for elections to the urban local bodies, in which the party achieved a landslide victory . According to YSRC sources, Jagan will address a public meeting in the last leg of the election campaign for the bypoll, which ends on April 15. YSRC leaders are looking for a suitable venue in Tirupati or Renigunta for the Chief Minister’s election meeting, which can accommodate a large number of people. They are planning to mobilise people in large numbers from the seven Assembly segments of Tirupati LS constituency for the CM’s election meeting, which is likely to be held on April 14 or 15. Senior YSRC leader YV Subba Reddy Panchayat Raj Minis, ter Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy and Deputy Chief Minister K Narayana Swamy are busy preparing the roadmap for Jagan’s election campaign for Tirupati bypoll, sources P4 said.
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