BHUBANESWAR l friday l april 16, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION WPI inflation shoots up to 8-year high of 7.39% in March Rising crude oil and metal prices pushed up the wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation in March, government data showed on Thursday Low base contributes to spike WPI inflation was 4.17% in February 2021 and 0.42% in March 2020. The low base of March last year, when the data was computed with a low response rate due to the Covid lockdown, contributed to the spike in March 2021. This is the third straight month of increase in the WPI. The last time WPI showed such a high level was in October 2012, when inflation was 7.4% ■ 32.1% Driven by oil, metals, chemicals ■ Inflation in the fuel and power basket was 10.25% in March, against 0.58% in February on higher fuel prices Icra Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said the jump in WPI-inflation was driven by metals, textiles, chemicals, rubber, etc as many of them recorded large price increases globally in recent months | P9 Inflation of crude petroleum and natural gas in March 2021 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 Oxygen scarcity continues; Delhi overtakes Mumbai’s single-day peak; kumbh mela may end soon, akhada parishad to take final call Didi wants rest of phases clubbed, EC isn’t willing Mumbai chennai Express News service @ New Delhi Rejecting rumours that the remaining phases of elections in West Bengal would be clubbed in view of the rising Covid cases, the Election Commission said on Thursday that there is no such plan. Later in the day, Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee urged the Election Commission to consider conducting the remain polls at one go. “Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed @ECISVEEP’s decision to conduct WB polls in 8 phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in #COVID19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the remaining phases in ONE go,” she tweeted. Ex-chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi said the law doesn’t allow shortening the campaign period from the prescribed 14 days but postponing or extending by a few days is possible. “Clubbing with the last phase is doable,” he said. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi New Delhi The daily fresh Covid case count in the country shot past the 2-lakh mark on Thursday morning for the first time, amid reports of acute oxygen scarcity from various states. To get a sense of the unprecedented public health emergency staring India in the face, the country took just 10 days to double its active cases from 1 lakh to 2 lakh, while the US had taken more than 20 days in doubling to 2 lakh. And daily fatalities have crossed 1,000 since the last two days. Many experts fear the current trend may push daily infections up for many days to come and the country may even surpass the highest daily infections of over 3 lakh registered in the US in early January . Amid all the anxiety about the ongoing Maha Kumbh in Uttarakhand becoming a super spreader, there was some selfregulation as the Shri Panchayati Niranjani Akhada, one of the 13 participating akhadas, announced the conclusion of the mega event on April 17 instead of the scheduled May 8 in view of the pandemic. A final call will be taken by the apex body of 13 akhadas, the Akhada Parishad. As many as 2,269 Covid positive cases have been detected so far in the mela area. With Delhi overtaking Mum- Lucknow Clockwise from above: A family member after performing cremation of a Covid-19 victim at the Nigambodh Ghat; Gateway of India wears a deserted look; A health worker taking swab samples at a railway yard at Egmore, Chennai; The Bhaisakund crematorium in Lucknow being covered with blue tin sheets after videos showing many dead bodies burning went viral; A Covid-19 patient is given an oxygen supply mask inside an ambulance, outside the the Government Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad; People without masks at the Heritage Street, Amritsar | PTI Ahmedabad Odisha imposes night curfew in urban areas, weekend shutdown in 10 dists E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar As Odisha continues to witness spurt in Covid cases, the State government on Thursday announced a series of strict measures including night curfew in all cities and towns of the State and weekend shutdown in 10 districts bordering Chhattisgarh to contain the spread. The government has decided to clamp night curfew in urban areas of 20 districts including the Twin City of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar with effect from Friday. Restrictions on public movement will be enforced from 9 pm to 5 am, informed Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra. Announcing the fresh Covid restrictions, the Chief Secretary said the timings of night curfew, already in force from 10 pm to 5 am in 10 districts sharing borders with Chhattisgarh, has been revised to 6 pm to 5 pm. The 10 districts are Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Koraput and Malkangiri. Mahapatra said the night curfew in these districts will be in force till further orders. ODISHA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 14 2,265 610 3 April 15 2,989 837 2 However, there will be no restrictions on essential services and movement of vehicles carrying goods. He said no pass or permit will be issued by the government for movement during the curfew. Those who travel during these restricted hours will have to carry their identity cards issued by their offices or establishments where they have been employed. Revisiting the earlier Covid protocols on social and religious gatherings, the Chief Secretary said, “The government has permitted a maximum 50 and 20 persons to take part in marriage function and funeral respectively . There will be no religious, social, cultural, political and academic congregation.” While announcing restrictions on devotees visiting religious places, he said only people required for the dayto-day management of rituals and related activities of such institutions will be allowed. On special occasions, the district administration concerned will decide the number of people to participate on case to case basis. He said cinema halls will be permitted to have shows with 50 per cent (pc) viewers while the number has been halved to 1,000 for jatra, opera and open theatres. Restaurants and bars will operate with 50 pc of their capacity and any violation in Covid protocols like use of mask, social distancing and sanitisation will attract heavy penalty and closure of the establishments. Announcing that all inter-state bus operations will be suspended from April 19, Mahapatra said intra-state bus operations to continue with usual seating capacity How. ever, only two passengers will be allowed in an autorickshaw or taxi. All government offices will function with 50 pc staff and private fir ms including banks and financial institutions will be directed to reduce staff to bare minimum. Expressing concern that 30-40 pc of the coronavirus affected people are youth, Mahapatra cautioned that the government will be forced to take far more tough measures to contain the disease. @ Bhubaneswar Dreaded gangster SK Hyder, who had slipped away from SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack on April 10, was nabbed from Telangana on Thursday . In a joint operation, Commissionerate Police and Hyderabad City Police arrested Hyder from Sangareddy district. He will be brought back to Odisha on Friday . Sources said, initial investigation suggests that the gangster fled to Hyderabad in a car. By the time, police realized that he had escaped, it was too late and border surveillance did not yield any result. Hyder reportedly fled at 4.30 Amritsar Tika Utsav 1.28 crore vax doses administered during 4-day Tika Utsav. But four days prior to that, 1.45 crore vaccine doses were administered Covid infections grows by 26.2 times, State to ramp up health infra The current growth rate of coronavirus cases in Odisha has thrown up serious concerns as it is 26.2 times in April against the highest growth rate of 4.7 times calculated in May 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic. This was sharpest ever growth recorded in the State so far. Since the infection is spreading rapidly, the high growth signaled that bad days are ahead | P2 Govt appoints IAS officers as observers With the surge in the Covid-19 positive cases becoming unmanageable during the second wave, the Odisha government on Tuesday appointed senior IAS officers as observers to manage the situation | P2 Fleeing Hyder arrested in Telangana E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Daily case count crosses two lakh, doubles in 10 days pm after sedating constable Md Mousim but the police came to know about his disappearance after 7 pm. Sources said, police received vital clues regarding the gangster’s escape plan after taking his aide Yakub Khan into custody. Khan who used to bring Hyder biryani surrendered before Chauliaganj police on Monday . During interrogation, Khan revealed to police about one of Hyder’s relatives Istiaq and preliminary probe suggested he was part of the plan behind the gangster’s escape, said sources. “At least two teams led by as many inspectors of Cuttack urban police district left for Hyderabad to nab Hyder. The entire operation was mostly based on intelligence inputs,” Twin City Police Commissioner Saumendra Priyadarshi told TNIE. Sources said when the police teams reached Hyderabad, Hyder attempted to flee but was apprehended in Sangareddy district. Cuttack DCP Prateek Singh was monitoring the operation and it was carried out under the supervision of Priyadarshi. “Absconding Odisha criminal caught by Hyderabad Police. Hyderabad City Commissioner’s task force has caught the fugitive and absconding notorious criminal of Odisha SK Hyder, aged 60 years,” said Hyderabad City police in a tweet. CONTINUED ON: P5 bai’s single-day peak (11,163 on April 4) by recording over 17,000 fresh cases, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a weekend curfew and the closure of malls, gymnasiums and auditoriums till April 30 as part of sweeping restrictions to break the chain. Maharashtra stayed on top of the Covid chart with 61,695 fresh cases and 349 fatalities. As many as 36 lakh patients in the state are on home quarantine while 27,273 are under institutional quarantine. With Uttar Pradesh recording 22,439 new cases and staying at second highest on the NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 14 1,84,372 82,339 1,027 April 15 1,97,865 1,04,507 1,019 national list, the government decided to incremnetally increase the time of night curfew across the state. Also to handle the incoming migrant rush, the UP government has directed all district magistrates to open quarantine centres and kitchens for thom. With the demand for medical oxygen shooting in states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the Centre will import 50,000 metric tonnes of medical oxygen, while its sources and production capacity has been mapped to match the current requirement NEET PG exam National Eligibility-CumEntrance Test for PG courses scheduled to be held on April 18 postponed Train services up The Railways has pushed its train operations to 70% of pre-Covid level to handle the rush of migrant workers trying to return home State Board Class X, XII exams deferred E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced postponement of Class X and XII board examinations in the State in view of the worsening Covid-19 situation. The Chief Minister said that the decision has been taken keeping in view the safety of the students. He further announced that all schools and hostels in the State will remain closed from April 19 till further order. While the matriculation examination conducted by the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) was scheduled to begin from May 3, the Plus Two examination was set to start from May 18. The Chief Minister said that a decision on conducting the examinations will be taken after improvement in the Covid-19 situation. The State government and Council of Higher Secondary Education (CHSE) will review the situation in the first week of June and take a decision on rescheduling the Plus Two examination, he said and added that a similar process will be followed in the case of holding of the matriculation examination by the BSE. Besides, the Chief Minister also announced that students of Class IX and XI, who have taken admission to the 2020-21 academic session, will be promoted to the next class without appearing for the annual examination. The order of the State government will be applicable to all government, government-aided and private schools affiliated to the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) and the Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan. The announcement came a day after the CBSE decided to cancel the Class X board exams and postpone that for Class XII. CONTINUED ON: P5 CBI to probe cops who framed Nambi Express News service @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday accepted Justice D K Jain Committee’s report on the lapses of Kerala Police officers in the ISRO spying case and asked the Centre to hand it over to the CBI for further probe. A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar asked the CBI to submit its report within three months and made it clear that the panel’s report can’t be made public or shared with anyone, including former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan. The court also clarified that the copies of the report can’t be given even to officials named Nambi Narayanan ‘Expose conspiracy’ Welcoming the verdict, Nambi Narayanan said all those who were part of the conspiracy should be brought to light. He said the ISRO spy case was fabricated and that he spent 50 days in custody / jail in it or in the petition. The bench directed the CBI to treat the Jain panel report as a preliminary inquiry report and proceed further. Two-and-a-half-years after it was asked to look into the lapses on the part of the Kerala Police officers in wrongfully arresting Nambi Narayanan in 1994, the Jain Committee recently submitted its report to the SC in a sealed cover. The panel probed the roles of police officers Siby Mathews, K K Joshua and S Vijayan in framing Narayanan. The Supreme Court had on September 14, 2018, ordered the Kerala government to pay a compensation of `50 Lakh to the former ISRO scientist. “There can be no scintilla of doubt that the appellant, a successful scientist having national reputation, has been compelled to undergo immense humiliation. The lackadaisical attitude of the state police to arrest anyone and put him in police custody has made the appellant suffer the ignominy,” the court had observed. “The dignity of a person gets shocked when psycho-pathological treatment is meted out to him. A human being cries for justice when he feels the insensible act has crucified his self-respect. That warrants grant of compensation under the public law remedy .”
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