tirupati l saturday l april 17, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION SC norms for fast disposal of cheque-bounce cases The SC on Friday issued a slew of directions for fast disposal of cheque-bounce cases, which have choked justice delivery system Negotiable instruments act to be amended Evidence through affidavit The Supreme Court said there should be a single trial in multiple chequebounce cases, if transactions involved are the same. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde asked the Centre to make suitable amendments in the Negotiable Instruments Act and recommended that cases lodged in 12 months time against a person be clubbed into one case ■ ■ The apex court directed all high courts to issue guidelines for trial courts for speedy disposal of cheque bounce cases The court also said the evidence in such cases can now be tendered by filing affidavits, and there would be no requirement to examine witnesses physically 30% Share of cheque-bounce cases in total pendency at trial courts & high courts 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 Bid to ramp up oxygen, vax production, supply Jagan urges PM to send 60 lakh doses E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada PM takes stock, urges synergy to ease bottlenecks; Bharat Biotech gets aid to produce more Covaxin; other firms too to manufacture it E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Faced with an acute shortage of medical grade oxygen and vaccines in the wake of the massive second Covid wave that is nowhere near its peak, the Centre on Friday sought to ease all bottlenecks as part of its crisis management and step up their production. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did a comprehensive review of the oxygen situation and urged Union ministries and state governments to build synergy to address gaps in the system. The meeting came a day after the government decided to import 50,000 metric tonnes of oxygen after first claiming that there is enough production capacity within India to meet the demand. To address vaccine shortage, the government sought to scale up production of the indigenous Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, by providing `65 crore aid to the company’s unit in Bengaluru. It has already allowed Mum- bai-based Haffkine Institute to produce Covaxin on technology transfer basis. Covaxin’s share in the current vaccine pool in just about 15%, as the present capacity of Bharat Biotech is about 1 crore doses a month. The Centre plans to increase production to 2 crore doses by May-June and by 6-7 crore by July-August, for which talks are on with at least two more companies - Indian Immunologicals Ltd, Hyderabad and BIBCOL, Bulandshehar. The meeting convened by the PM specifically took stock of the oxygen availability in 12 high burden states, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 15 April 16 2,00,739 93,528 1,038 2,17,353 1,18,302 1,185 Variants of concern Of about 14,000 Covid samples whose whole genomic sequencing has been carried out, 1,189 tested positive for variants of concern, the Centre said on Friday Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. These states have already been allocated 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT for meeting their projected demand as on April 20, April 25 and April 30, respectively . Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday wrote to the state chief secretaries, advising free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles, saying no curb shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to impose geographical limits on supplies. Meanwhile, a section of the saints camping in Haridwar for the Maha Kumbh were agitated after an akhada claimed the mela would end on Saturday A . final decision will be taken by the Akhada Parishad, the apex body of 13 akhadas. At of now, at least 50 seers have tested positive for Covid 19. They include Mahant Ravindra Puri of the Niranjani Akhada who on Thursday announced that his akhada will consider closure of the mega event on April 17. Covid victims being cremated at Swarnrekha Ghat in Ranchi on Friday | PTI Maharashtra Aurangabad district administration has acquired the oxygen plant of R L Steel in Chitegaon of Paithan to produce nearly 500 medical grade oxygen cylinders per day New Delhi IndiGo to waive fee to change time or date on domestic tickets that are booked between April 17 and April 30 due to Covid. However, cancellation fee will be chargeable Uttar Pradesh Full lockdown across all UP districts this Sunday Andhra Pradesh Vaccine stock exhausted, just 4,300 doses could be administered on Friday; CM writes to Modi for 60 lakh more doses UK home secy clears Nirav’s extradition London: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed off on the order to extradite fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in India on fraud and money laundering charges. Modi has a 14-day window to appeal against the decision P7 New Delhi: The Southwest monsoon, which brings nearly 75% of rainfall to the country, is expected to be normal this year, the India Meteorological Dept said on Friday. The 50-year average will be 98% with an error margin of 5%, it added vivekh Actor critical Noted Tamil actor Vivek on Friday suffered a heart attack. Doctors say Covid vaccination had nothing to do with a blood clot in his left artery | P5 In the all-party meeting called by the Election Commission on Friday there were no takers for , the TMC’s suggestion to club the remaining phases of the polls. However, keeping in view the serious Covid situation, the EC asked parties to religiously JHARKHAND Govt claims there is no shortage, but patients are facing problems in getting oxygen support. A special task force has been formed to address it @ Vijayawada no temple run Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy temple at Vontimitta in Kadapa district is closed after the Archaeology department decided to close all monuments till May 15 in view of the surging Corona cases in the country | Express Despite pandemic, property tax collections increase by 30 per cent E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The municipal administration and urban development department saw an increase in property tax collections by 30 per cent in the pandemic-hit year 2020-21. Although the department collected only about 41 per cent of the proportional demand of Rs 3,018.09 crore in the last fiscal year, it is higher than the collections in the last two financial years. According to information available with the department, the property tax collections in 2019-20 stood at Rs 950.78 crore. In 2018-19, the collections were Rs 1,156.78 crore, officials said. Thanks to early bird rebate, awareness programmes and special drives by the department, relaxation on penalties, and ward volunteer systems, the collections in 2020-21, despite being hit by COVID-19imposed lockdown, significantly improved and stood at Rs 1,236.48 crore. Similarly, the water charges Old method being used for assessment this year Although the government has promulgated an ordinance to calculate property tax based on capital value of the property from this year, it said assessment is being done as per the old method, i.e. based on annual rental value, for the time being. collections have also significantly increased compared to 2019-20. The department collected a total of Rs 217.72 crore in 2020-21, 33 per cent of the proportional demand of Rs 654.46 crore. However, it is almost 40 per cent higher than the 2019-20’s water charges collections of Rs 155.74 crore and 2018-19’s Rs 111.35 crore. The department expects to continue the momentum this year. Although the government has promulgated an ordinance to calculate property tax based on capital value of the property from this year, it said assessment is being done as per the old method, i.e. based on annual rental value, for the time being. EC bans rallies from 7pm to 10am in West Bengal P r o n a b M o n d a l @ Kolkata BIHAR Govt claims oxygen availability is sufficient for the next 7-10 days. But private hospitals complain of oxygen scarcity E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e US keeps India in currency watch list Monsoon to be normal this year, says IMD Madhya Pradesh Daily supply up from 130 MT to 295 MT. In 34 districts. 1,273 O 2 concentrators installed till date. Air Concentrator Units are being installed in 8 districts STATE WIDE Fresh cases Samples tested Deaths Recoveries April 15 April 16 5,086 6,096 35,741 35,962 14 1,745 20 2,194 icated volunteer takes care of the needs of 50 families. The entire district administration is also involved in this drive ,” he explained. Urging Modi to supply vaccine stocks, he regretted that vaccination drive had to be stopped. “We could not continue as the stocks have completely run out. If sufficient stocks are made available, we are well poised to make your dream of vaccinating all vulnerable people a reality in the next three weeks,” he said. The 60 lakh doses will be sufficient to administer first dose of vaccine to all aged above 45 in the State in three weeks. Lockdown ruled out, govt gears up to face 2nd wave express read Washington: The US on Friday placed 11 countries, including India, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Italy in the currency practices monitoring list. The other countries are Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Mexico O2 status check Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to supply 60 lakh doses of Covid vaccine to the state for administering the same to all the vulnerable people aged above 45 in the next three weeks. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Jagan drew his attention to the fact that the State has run out of stocks. At the same time, he thanked Modi for responding to his earlier letter and sending 6.4 lakh vaccine doses. “I am happy to bring to your kind notice that we have vaccinated 6,28,961 persons on a single day on 14th April during Tika Utsav. This is the highest single day Covid vaccination numbers by any State in the country he informed. ,” Explaining the mechanism put in place for vaccinating the people, he said the State was able to not only establish capability to vaccinate six lakh people per day but also set up a model for all the States to emulate. “We have leveraged the village and ward volunteer system which is a unique decentralised governance mechanism where a ded- follow protocols. The poll panel warned them of criminal action in case of violation of Covid guidelines. “Candidates and political parties shall ensure absolute, repeat absolute, adherence to Covid guidelines...” the poll panel said in its order. It asked star campaigners to tell their audience to wear masks in the beginning of the event itself and directed political parties to provide masks and sanitisers to all those who come to attend rallies. The Election Commission cut short the time given for rallies and public meetings by banning them from 7 pm to 10 am. It also extended the silence period from 48 hours to 72 hours for the remaining three phases scheduled to be held on April 22, 26 and 29. Bengal reported 6,747 new cases in the past 24 hours. However, observers say it is too little too late as the prolonged polls have seen massive crowds at rallies. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday ruled out the possibility of imposing a lockdown for now. “Lockdown had an adverse impact on the economy in the State and people were subjected to severe inconvenience... we do not want to have such a situation again,” he said at a review meeting with district collectors, SPs and other officials. Taking stock of the Covid situation, he made it clear that lockdown cannot be an option and advised the officials to contain the pandemic without the need for it. While vaccine is the only weapon to combat Covid, he directed them to focus on testing as well. Testing people with symptoms and their primary contacts should be top priority he , stressed, adding all PHCs, and sub-centres should be equipped for testing. “Production, distribution and control of vaccine is in the hands of the Centre. We are making every effort to get the maximum doses to the state. What is needed is prevention of virus spread besides vaccinating all the vulP4 nerable,” he said. A health worker sanitising a hostel at the Andhra University in Vizag on Friday | G Satyanarayana covid tracker Dial 104 1902 to lodge complaints for info on Covid Private hospitals to services display treatment cost 6.08 % Primary contacts of Covid positivity patients to be tested rate 1,987 ventilators available 15,669 beds 48,232 Remdesivir available available 108 hospitals are under the health department for Covid treatment Arrangements in place 8,71,943 female voters 8,38,540 male voters 17,10,699 voters 216 others 2,470 polling booths in Nellore and Chittoor districts 1,000 voters 877 critical polling stations 28 candidates are in the 92% voter slips have been distributed to voters One polling station for every fray + NOTA Polling staff check electronic voting machines at the distribution centre at the SV Arts College grounds in Tirupati on Friday | Madhav K Stage set for Tirupati Lok Sabha by-election today E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ Tirupati The district administrations of Chittoor and Nellore have made arrangements for the by-election to the Tirupati Lok Sabha seat on Saturday . A three-cornered fight between the YSRC, TDP and BJP-JSP combine is expected as they have taken the bypoll as a prestigious matter and completed a high-octane campaign, leaving no stone unturned. Dr M Gurumoorthy of the YSRC, former Union minister Panabaka Lakshmi of the TDP, K Ratna Prabha of BJP-JSP alliance are the main contenders. Officials have deputed medical teams for checking voters before entering the polling booths in view of the Covid pandemic. Expecting a good turnout, officials have conducted various programmes as part of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) in Chittoor and Nellore districts. According to returning officer and Nellore District Collector KVN Chakradhar Babu, there are 17,10,699 voters in the three Assembly segments in Chittoor district and four in Nellore. Among them, 8,38,540 are male voters, 8,71,943 female voters and 216 others. “All arrangements have been made in 2,470 polling stations in Nellore and Chittoor districts. As many as 28 candidates are in the fray In all, 10,850 offi. cials have been deputed and all of them have been vaccinated considering the risks of Covid infection,” said Chakradhar Babu. As many as 23 companies of Central armed forces, three companies of special forces personnel and local police P4 have been deployed.
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