KOCHI l friday l april 16, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE city 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 | P10 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. “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 while the campaign period is fixed at 14 days, extending by a few days is possible. “Clubbing with the last phase is doable,” he said. Meanwhile, the West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer has called an all-party meeting on Friday to ensure adherence to the Covid-19 guidelines for the remaining phases of polls. 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 past 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. 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. The figure includes 18 seers/saints from different akhadas. Also, one saint suc- 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 Rush at Cremation grounds getting difficult to handle N a m i ta B a j pa i , R a j e s h K u m a r T h a k u r a n d An u r a a g S i n g h @ Lucknow/Patna/Bhopal Bodies of Covid patients piling up at cremation grounds have become a nightmare for the authorities. While Bihar is getting defunct electric crematoriums restarted in state capital Patna, in Uttar Pradesh the authorities in Lucknow came up with another solution: to cover up the cremation ground at Bhainsakund with tin sheets. The cover (see pic) was built a day after videos showing a large number of burning pyres went viral amid allega- CM violated Covid protocol before & after polls: Oppn T’Puram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday faced sharp attacks from the Opposition UDF and BJP for allegedly violating Covid-19 protocol. Union minister V Muraleedharan alleged that Pinarayi had been participating in poll campaigns attended by thousands of people even after getting infected. In a tweet later, he called the CM a ‘Covidiot’. P5 tions of the fatality count being under-reported. The Lucknow municipal authorities on Thursday got the tin sheets put up around the cremation g round’s boundary to block its view from outside. The step was taken keeping in mind people’s safety since it’s a Covidaffected area, they claimed. Given the huge rush of bodies, people are forced to wait for hours to cremate their dear ones. The Lucknow municipal corporation has decided to open more electric crematoriums and also to keep about 50 pyres ready daily to handle the next day’s rush. statewide April 14 April 15 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 8,778 2,642 22 8,126 2,700 20 covid -ve certificate must for Pooram Thrissur: The state has directed those taking part in the Thrissur Pooram and are aged below 45 to carry a Covid negative certificate received after RT-PCR testing. P5 THE Kerala High Court has observed the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) cannot attribute contributory negligence on the part of a deceased pillion rider of a motorcycle for the simple reason that he was not wearing a helmet and deduct compensation on that count. The court, however, said the verdict is not a licence to ride motorcycles without a helmet. Justice P V Kunhikrishnan passed the order on a petition filed by Kadeeja Musaliyar of Malappuram, wife of deceased In Patna, too, there is a big queue every day, with exhausted cremation ground workers saying they are not even getting time to have food. The Bihar government has instructed that corona patients must be cremated in electric furnaces alone. At Bansghat, where the city’s only electric crematorium was operational, Alok Kumar, a worker, said: “About 20-25 bodies are being brought daily.” One body takes 45-60 mins to burn. “25-plus bodies being brought every day means we hardly get any break,” said Niru, 35, another Bansghat worker. Daily tally jumps to 14.7K in K’taka Bengaluru/Chennai: Karnataka on Thursday reported 14,738 new Covid cases, its highest single-day spike since the pandemic began. The state witnessed 66 Covid-related fatalities, taking the total toll to 13,112. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu too reported its highest spike at 7,987. Another 29 people died due to Covid in the state. min Sunil Kumar contracts covid again T’Puram: Agriculture Minister V S Sunilkumar, who had recovered from Covid last September, has tested positive again. He has been admitted to Thrissur Medical College Hospital. His condition is stable, but he will remain there until he fully recovers from the infection, his office has said. Don’t reduce compensation citing lack of helmet: HC E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi Daily case count crosses two lakh, doubles in 10 days Mohammedkutty Vaidyakkaran and others challenging the order of MACT, Tirur. The tribunal had found that since Mohammedkutty — riding pillion — was not wearing a helmet confo r m i n g t o p re s c r i b e d standards at the time of the accident, 20% of the compensation has to be reduced attributing contributory negligence on the part of him. The court pointed out that as per Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, every person riding a motorcycle of any class, has to wear protective headgear. Admittedly, Mohammedkutty did not use a helmet. ● More on P4 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 NATIONWIDE April 14 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 1,84,372 82,339 1,027 April 15 2,01,386 1,05,837 1,047 national list, the government decided to incremnetally increase the time of night curfew across the state. With the demand for medical oxygen shooting in states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the Centre decided to import 50,000 metric tonnes of medical oxygen as also mapping its domestic sources and production capacity . In Gujarat, a high court bench saw a mismatch between the case data presented by the state government and the actual positive cases, and chided it for not being proactive. 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 cases surge, state makes covid -ve papers or vaccination must to enter shopping malls 2.5 lakh tests in 2 days Only 150 people to be permitted at outdoor events and 75 at indoor functions Dist admn has to be informed while holding events like weddings and housewarming Extra vigil to be taken at tuition centres Around 2.5 lakh tests to be done on Friday and Saturday More tests among high-risk category people and those below 45 years E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram KERALA has decided to make Covid negative certificates mandatory for people to enter shopping malls. Vaccinated people too can enter. The decision, details of which will be announced through a government order, was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday even as cases surged and the rate of infection breached 13%-mark. As per the revised guidelines, only 150 people will be permitted for outdoor events and 75 for indoor functions. Respective district administration has to be informed while holding events like weddings and housewar ming, where entry should be strictly restricted. District administration should also hold talks with religious heads to restrict the number of people at festivals and religious programmes. All establishments including bars and cinema halls will have to shut down by 9pm. Emergency 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 cumbed to Covid on April 13. With Delhi overtaking Mumbai’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. 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 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 | P4 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 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 it added. P4 ,” services will be exempted. Extra vigil has to be taken at tuition centres. Around 2.5 lakh tests will be done on Friday and Saturday to determine the depth of the pandemic spread in the state. Addressing a press meet, Chief Secretary V P Joy said more tests would be conducted among high-risk category people and those below 45 years. “Inspection, vaccination and enforcement measures are the key to containing the spread and public cooperation is a ● More on P5 must,” said Joy . EXPRESS READ HC judge appointment: Centre seeks 3 months New Delhi: The Centre will decide within three months the collegium recommendations for High Court judge appointments, pending with it for more than six months, Attorney General told the SC on Thursday. India won’t get pushed under pressure: Rawat New Delhi: India prevented a status quo change on northern borders and proved it won’t get pushed under pressure, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said, referring to the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh. 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express
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