BHUBANESWAR l Saturday l april 10, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l LATE CITY EDITION Second Covid wave poses higher risks for economy Fitch Ratings on Friday said the second wave of infections poses increased risks for India’s fragile economic recovery and its banks Businesses to take huge hit if cases spike The rating agency expects a moderately worse environment for the Indian banking sector in 2021, but challenges would intensify if rising infections and follow-up measures to contain the virus further affect business and economic activity. Fitch forecasts India’s GDP growth at 12.8% for FY22. But the rising pace of infections poses renewed risks to the forecast, it said ■ MSME Challenging times for banking sector ■ Over 80% of new cases are in six states, which account for 45% of total banking sector loans. Any further disruption in economic activity in these states would hit business sentiment, Fitch said Meanwhile, another report by Oxford Economics said India’s economy is resilient but the next few months will be critical and retail loans are most at risk, according to Fitch Ratings 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 Resort politics back as Assam Mask up or pay `2k; Penalty doubled Oppn candidates flown to Raj as Naveen announces 14-day drive Covid second wave Eighteen from AIUDF and two from Congress brought to Fairmont Hotel in Jaipur to keep them off BJP reach B E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kolkata/New Delhi/Patna/Mumbai Apprehending poaching by the BJP Assam’s Congress-led grand alli, ance of Opposition has moved 20 party candidates to a hotel in Jaipur. Eighteen from minority-based All India United Democratic Front and two from the Congress were sent to Rajasthan in a chartered plane on Friday . They all have been kept in Fairmont Hotel, where Rajasthan Congress MLAs were kept for days after rebellion by party leader Sachin Pilot. “We have just landed in Rajasthan. The Chief Minister (Ashok Gehlot) is making all arrangements for our stay one of them said. ,” Speculations are rife that the remaining Opposition candidates will fly out of Assam soon. The third and final phase Assam polls were held on April 6 and the results of the keenly-contested elections will be declared on May 2. Given past experiences, they are not taking any chances. In the last Manipur elections, the Congress had bagged 28 seats compared to the BJP’s 22 in the 60-member House but the latter managed to cobble together the numbers — courtesy defections — and form the government. Congress and AIUDF are components of the 10-party Opposition alliance, which was formed two months ago to oust the BJP from power. Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) is another key constituent of the alliance. Confirming this development, Congress Chief Whip in the Rajasthan Assembly Mahesh Joshi said, “It is now a well-known trend that the BJP tries to indulge in horse-trading. So, the aim is to take measures for protecting our people.” Buddha and what’s left of the citadel The possibility of the BJP indulging in dirty tricks and influence our candidates made us take the decision AIUDF organising secretary Md Aminul Islam It has become a trend that the BJP tries to break the Congress after losing polls. So, the allies want to take guard Congress general secretary R S Surjewala Twenty leaders have come from Assam and we have been asked to take care of them. I don’t know how long they will stay here Congress Chief Whip in Raj Assembly Mahesh Joshi etween the binary of a ladaku neta (the warlike Mamata Banerjee) and the PM’s fort-destroyer act, complete with taunts and slogans, there’s another figure who’s also in the contest—quite strangely in his absence. He is Bud, dhadeb Bhattacharjee. The 77-year-old former West Bengal CM’s failing health—especially respiratory trouble in this Covid season—has kept him away from the public stage. All that has come from him by way of intervention in this election season is a statement. He shot a single arrow, talking of “the unravelling of the Singur-Nandigram conspiracy”, and the irony of “the conspirators now fighting each other” in the silence of the graveyard. Where did he find ‘silence’ in this deafeningly high-decibel contest? What he refers to is the silence— West Bengal the lack of any discussion, amidst this very personalSANTWANA BHATTACHARYA ised campaign—on what he believes to be the real issue. That is, the derailed industrialisation of Bengal. His own attempt to reverse that, beginning from Singur-Nandigram, was a dark and fated one: it had cost Buddhadeb his government and led to his ignominious exit from electoral politics. He had even lost the Jadavpur seat to his former chief secretary Manish Gupta, , by a margin of over 16,000 votes. That was in 2011, when Mamata swept into power on what was called a mandate for paribartan (change). Ten years down the line, the BJP is riding on the idea of asol paribartan (real change). If that sounds like an echo, there are reasons why it resonates. They are the same reasons from a decade ago. Jobless youth are the most common sight everywhere in the state—even though Bengal’s unemployment, if CMIE data is to be believed, is less than that of Haryana, Rajasthan or Bihar. Indeed, at 17.4% as per the CMIE 2020 annual survey , Bengal’s unemployment is even less than the national average. But it’s nearly double compared to neighbouring Odisha and Assam’s 9.6%. Take the group of youth, all graduates, whiling away their time around a tea stall outside one of Bishnupur’s famous terracotta temples. None of them have jobs. Continued on: P8 India cross as US Navy does unauthorised drill MAYANK SINGH and pushkar banakar @ New Delhi Two days after a US Navy conducted an unusual ‘navigation operation’ through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Lakshadweep Islands without prior permission, New Delhi on Friday conveyed its concer ns to Washington through diplomatic channels. On Wednesday the US Navy had issued a statement , saying its warship, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), “asserted navigational rights and freedoms 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, without requesting India’s prior consent.” According to the US, India’s claims on EEZ under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) are inconsistent with international law. While India ratified the UNCLOS in 1982, the US is not a signatory . Admiral Arun Prakash, former Indian Navy chief, termed the US move ‘ironical’ saying it is strange that the US Navy not only chose to violate India’s rights but publicise it. According to sources, India is examining the event closely “We have to examine it from the view of the . intent and its future implications”, said an official. Prince Philip passes away at 99 Prince Philip, the longest serving royal consort in British history who was a constant presence at Queen Elizabeth II’s side for decades, died on Friday aged 99, Buckingham Palace announced | P9 express read India’s fuel demand falls for first time in two decades New Delhi: India’s fuel demand fell 9.1% in FY21, the first two decades, as stringent lockdowns pummelled economic activity. India consumed 194.63 million tonnes (mt) of petroleum products in 2020-21 against 214.12 mt in FY20, according to the latest data by the oil ministry | P10 strict compliance Police personnel conducting Covid-19 enforcement drive at Unit-4 market in Bhubaneswar on Friday | Express E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday announced a 14-day mask mission to contain the rapidly worsening Covid-19 situation in the State. “Do not step out of home without a mask. Mothers have an important role to play in ensuring Covid appropriate behaviour in families,” the Chief Minister said in his address to the people. “If we strictly follow any rule for 14 days, it will become a habit with us. We should not just throw the mask around our necks. The mask should cover the nose and mouth. Then only we can defeat the Covid-19 pandemic without resorting to a further lockdown,” Naveen said and urged people to wear masks in a proper way . Stating that the entire society should not be allowed to suffer only for a few people, the Chief Minister said he has asked the administration to double the amount of penalty on those not Big NATION WIDE April 8 Data Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Stringent penalty 1st and second offence `2,000 `5,000 If we strictly follow any rule for 14 days, it will become a habit with us. We should not just throw the mask around our necks. The mask should cover the nose and mouth. Then only we can defeat the Covid-19 pandemic without resorting to a further lockdown Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister wearing masks as it is the only way to fight the deadly virus. “Those who have not taken vaccine and even those who have taken should follow this. If you don’t want to lose your livelihood, you must wear it,” he added. Sound- April 9 1,26,789 59,258 685 subsequent offence 1,31,968 61,899 780 ing a cautionary note, the Chief Minister said, “Now we are going through the second wave of the pandemic. Some countries are going through the third wave of the pandemic and we do not know how many waves we have to fight to defeat the virus,” he added. Stating that several states have declared lockdown, shutdown and night curfew to contain the surge, the Chief Minister said Odisha is also witnessing a rapid increase which can be avoided if everyone follows the safety protocols and uses a mask. The Chief Minister’s announcement came on a day when Odisha witnessed the biggest spike of 1,282 cases in 2021. Soon after the Chief Minister’s address to the people, the Health and Family Welfare department doubled the penalty for not wearing masks and violating regulations. As per the amended regulations, penalty for first and second offence will be `2,000 while it will be `5,000 for subsequent offence. Earlier, fine for not wearing mask was `1,000 for first and second offence and `5,000 for subsequent offence. Maha pitch for 1,200 ventilators odisha Apart from vaccines and Remdesivir shots, Maharashtra needs 1,200 more ventilators from the Centre, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 8 879 228 0 April 9 1,282 310 1 Rly Board rejects Not just vaccine, short Odisha’s request supply of Remdesivir too to cancel trains E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai/Jaipur/Bhopal/Bengaluru E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Odisha government’s attempt to restrict entry of people from Chhattisgarh through railway route received a jolt as the Railway Board on Friday turned down its request to cancel all passenger trains from the neighbouring state. Citing that the railway operations have been allowed throughout the country as per the March 23 guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Railway Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Suneet Sharma has advised Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra to seek necessary guidance from the Ministry . In a letter to Mahapatra, he assured that the railway will notify the passengers regarding the restrictions imposed by Odisha by way of frequent announcements and messages to the travellers. He has requested the State government to make adequate arrangements at railway stations in Odisha for checking and screening the passengers as necessary . On Thursday, Mahapatra had urged the Railway Board Chairman to cancel all passenger trains coming from Chhattisgarh to Odisha from April 10 until further advice following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases in bordering districts. He had also sought Indian railway’s cooperation in ensuring that all passengers travelling to Odisha, from anywhere by train, must have an RT-PCR negative report of maximum 72 hours before the start of journey or a second dose vaccination certificate. Amid states g rappling with stretched Covid facilities and vaccine shortage, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sent an SOS to the Centre regarding vaccine supply on Friday, even as more inoculation centres were shut in Maharashtra, taking their total count to 592. There were also reports of shortage of Remdesivir that is used to treat Covid patients, in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Seventy-five of the 120 centres across Mumbai, including a jumbo facility in the Bandra Kurla Complex that was inoculating 4,000 people daily, halted vaccinating people on Friday as supply dried up. “We have been asking the Centre to ramp up the supply, but there is no positive response. To set up a centre, we spend a lot of money on infrastructure and engage many trained people. Shutting down the centres is a big setback to our vaccination drive,” said a senior health official in Maharashtra. In Rajasthan, the vaccine stock will last only two days, Ashok Gehlot said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and sought immediate supply of 30 lakh doses to ensure smooth continuation of the inoculation drive, particularly during the ‘tika utsav’ proposed by the PM. With hospital beds filling up and demand for oxygen growing, supply is drying up in some states. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has already stated that the state is in “dire need” of oxygen of 1,700-2,500 MT oxygen by Continued on: P5 April-end. covid update Covid-19 cases surge past 1,000 mark, jump by 46 pc At 108 cases, Capital hits 5-month high Bhubaneswar: New Covid-19 cases surged past 1,000 mark for the first time this year with 1,282 persons testing positive in Odisha in the last 24 hours, recording a rise of 46 per cent (pc) over the previous day’s count of 879 cases. The daily caseload breached 1,000 mark after over five months pushing the active cases over 5,000. On November 8, as many as 1,219 cases were reported | P3 Bhubaneswar: The State Capital saw 39 per cent rise in its daily caseload as 150 persons tested positive in the city in the last 24 hours against 108 on Thursday. The previous highest single-day spike of 182 cases was reported on October 25, 2020. Patia and Nayapalli reported 12 cases each, while seven persons from Old Town, six from Rasulgarh, five each from Baramunda, IRC Village, Khandagiri and Kalinga Nagar and four from Chandrasekharpur tested positive | P3 Irrawaddy dolphins grow in free waters of Chilika E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Bhubaneswar POPULATION of Irrawaddy dolphins that colonise in the brackish waters of Chilika lagoon has reported a substantial jump this year. The annual dolphin census has estimated number of the endangered species at 162, up from 146 last year. There is also an overall increase in dolphin population in Chilika as 26 bottle-nose dolphins were sighted during the census as against 17 last year. This has taken the overall population of dolphins, inhabiting the lake, to 188 from 163 in 2020, says report of the annual dolphin census carried out in February by Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and State Wildlife Wing. A key reason behind the improving population of dolphins and cetaceans in lagoon is the persistent enforcement by CDA which has gone after encroachment. Sources said, a whopping 25,113 ha area in the lake was under illegal prawn gheries. However, the special drive launched by CDA helped free up around 15,163 ha from encroachment since 2018. Besides, restriction on tourism for better parts of 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemid gave them an inviolate space. This is showing in the number of aquatic mammals in the 1100 sq km lagoon which has been witnessing a steady growth over the years as dolphins are found in new areas in central and southern sector of the lagoon for last three years. Chilika apart, there has also been an increase in overall dolphin population in Mangrove (Wildlife) Division of Rajnagar though number of Irrawaddy dolphins this year in this habitat is way less than the previous year. As per the census, a total 342 dolphins of three species have been found this year against 62 of two species last year in the mangrove eco-system. As many as 281 humpback dolphins and 22 bottle-nose dolphins were sighted by survey teams this year. However, compared to previous year’s 60, the number of Irrawaddy dol- phin in the division has dropped to 39. The dolphin census was also carried out in Puri, Bhadrak, Balasore wildlife and Berhampur divisions where the overall dolphin population remained 4, 8, 2 and nil respectively The dolphins . spotted at Bhadrak were of Irrawaddy species. Last year, the census had enumerated 233 dolphins but rough weather conditions had affected the census operations due to which this year’s exercise was carried out on two different dates and the best sighting figures were taken into consideration for final estimation.
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