HYDERABAD WEDNESDAY APRIL 21, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 18 LATE CITY EDITION U.S. ADVISES CITIZENS TO AVOID INDIA TRAVEL, ISSUES GUIDELINES Placing India on ‘Level 4: Very high level’ list, the Centers for Disease Control said even fully vaccinated people are at risk EXCEPTION MADE FOR URGENT TRAVEL PM CALLS OFF PORTO VISIT FOR EU SUMMIT The advisory, suggesting travellers to reconsider their itinerary, comes a day after the UK imposed similar restrictions on flying to India. The CDC, however, made exceptions for pressing cases with certain conditions. “If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated. All travellers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” it advised ■ ■ Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Portugal for India-EU summit has been called off in view of the pandemic. The May 8 summit in the city of Porto would instead be virtual The change in plan for the 16th India-EU summit was decided after consultations with the EU and Portuguese leadership 80% COUNTRIES ACROSS THE WORLD HAVE BEEN DEEMED AS RISKY BY THE CDC ASSESSMENT 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 SAVE INDIA FROM LOCKDOWN, URGES PM Says protecting lives and keeping economy moving are vital for fightback, tells States to focus on micro containment M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi was emphatic in his address to the nation on Tuesday that lockdown was not the way out to contain the exponential growth of fresh Covid cases, urging state governments to focus on micro-containment strategies instead. Stating that all efforts are being made for the wellbeing of the economy and the people, Modi said the country needs to be saved from lockdown, which should be the last resort for State governments. Modi also referred to reports of migrants thronging railway stations and bus depots to return home, and urged State governments to instill trust in the labour force that their employment would remain protected while they will be expeditiously vaccinated. “I want to request the State administrations that they protect the trust of the labour force that they should stay where they are, and they will continue with their employment while TELANGANA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 18 they get vaccinated,” he said. Ensuring the labour force stays at their workplace is necessary for expeditious inoculation, as all above 18 years of age will be vaccinated from May 1, he pointed out. His remarks came in the wake of a few of the State governments, including Delhi, imposing lockdown, which triggered panic among the migrant workers. Reiterating his request for people’s cooperation in enforcement of the Covid-19 protocol, Modi called upon the youth, including children, to follow the good practices in their neighbourhood. “If the Covid-19 protocols are followed, there will be no need even for containment zones,” he said. Reassuring the people that the Covid-19 situation will be expeditiously brought under control, Modi said medical oxygen supply is being ramped up in a big way while pharmaceutical companies have already increased production of necessary medicines to treat Covid patients. 30 MILLION COVAXIN DOSES BY NEXT MONTH Bharat Biotech to produce 30 mn doses next month. “This month we are reaching 20 mn, next month we will be making around 30 mn... by July-August we will be able to reach 700 to 800 mn doses production capacity per annum,” says its CMD Krishna Ella MAHARASHTRA TO IMPORT VACCINES We are happy with the Centre’s new vax policy, will import vaccines if need be with funds diverted from all the departments to carry out an extensive inoculation drive on the lines of the UK, says state health minister Rajesh Tope Rahul tests positive for Covid Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he has tested positive for Covid-19. “After experiencing mild symptoms, I’ve just tested positive,” he tweeted Is Maharashtra headed for a total lockdown? EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mumbai / New Delhi MAHARASHTRA, where lockdown-like restrictions are already in place since April 15, is headed for a 15day total lockdown. The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday unanimously decided to impose strict lockdown from Wednesday night. The final announcement will be made by Chief Minister Ud- 5,926 2,209 18 First train at 6:30 am No trains after 8.45 pm TSRTC Operational from 6 am The area near Cyber Towers in HiTec City wears a deserted look post 9 pm on Tuesday night, due to the night curfew in place Deja vu: Night curfew imposed in TS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE nightmare of night curfew is back once again in the State. Till April 30, one has to remain home at nights between 9 pm and 5 am. The State government imposed the night curfew on the State on Tuesday in the wake of an explosion in the number of Covid-19 cases in the State. “The night curfew will end at 5 am on May 1. Any violation of the curfew rules will result in prosecution under Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Section 188 of the IPC as well as other applicable laws,” stated an order issued by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar. According to the order, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has been showing a rising trend since the last few weeks. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an order laying down guidelines for effec- tive control of Covid-19, with a provision for States to impose local restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 based on assessment of the situation. “Various measures to control Covid-19 in the State have been reviewed. It is decided to introduce night curfew in the State to prevent the spread of Covid19,” the orders stated. However, people working for emergency services will be permitted to be outdoors during the curfew time. They have to produce their identity card. CONTINUED ON P4 CBI arrests tainted ex-GST official on graft charges EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested tainted former GST Assistant Commissioner Bollineni Srinivasa Gandhi in a disproportionate assets case. Gandhi had investigated several high profile cases, including the quid pro quo case involving Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and the GST fraud involving Rajya Sabha MP Sujana Chowdhary . It was learnt that the arrest comes after Gandhi failed to appear before CBI officials for questioning in connection with the cases against him. He will be produced before the Special 2,72,191 2,57,409 Recoveries 1,44,178 1,54,761 1,619 1,761 Deaths dhav Thackeray on Wednesday , health minister Rajesh Tope said. The Cabinet also decided to cancel Class 10 exam of the state board. Tope said the state is facing the severe shortage of medical E N S @ Hyderabad No more all-night bus services All the cinema theatres in the State will be closed by 8 pm till April 30. In a GO issued on Tuesday, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said that show timings should be staggered to ensure that intervals of different shows do not occur simultaneously. The management of cinemas/ theatres/multiplexes should ensure that all persons, audiences, staff, vendors etc wear masks at all times Fresh cases SUV kills 3 labourers Last train at 7.45 pm THEATRES APRIL 20 With the Central government approving the amendments to the existing zonal system, the stage is all set to recruit 50,000 employees in the government sector | P2 HYDERABAD METRO RAIL AUTOS AND CABS APRIL 19 CLEARED FOR FILLING 50K JOB VACANCIES IN TS MODIFIED TIMINGS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT Not to run after 9 pm, unless they’re meant for essential services NATIONWIDE DECKS APRIL 19 4,009 1,878 14 KERALA SEEKS FREE VACCINES Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to provide entire quantity of vaccines needed by state govts free of cost, instead of the new policy to let states buy part of their requirement directly from manufacturers Held for no-show The arrest comes after Gandhi failed to appear before CBI officials for questioning in connection with the cases against him Court for CBI cases, the officials confirmed. The CBI had booked Gandhi, who was then working as a Superintendent in the Anti Evasion Wing of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Hyderabad, for amassing properties illegally Inquiries revealed he had in. vested huge sums of money to purchase open plots and agriculture lands in Amaravathi, Andhra Pradesh, and its sur- rounding areas, after the bifurcation of the erstwhile State. Gandhi, who had also worked at the Enforcement Directorate (ED), had invested his ill-gotten money to purchase open plots and agriculture lands with an idea that the value of the land would only go up in future. In 2014, he obtained 2.96 acres of land in Tarigoppula village in the capital region, in the name of his daughter B Sai Manaswitha. He also bought land admeasuring 0.42 cents at Mandadam village of Thullur mandal in Guntur district in his father B Narasimha Rao’s name. Investigations revealed that Gandhi, along with then deputy commissioner of Central Taxes of Hyderabad GST office Ch Sudha Rani, had registered cases against several reputed companies citing non-filing of GST, and then collected huge amounts of bribe from them. Further, to evade the scrutiny of the Vigilance Department, the duo sought bribes in the form of immovable assets, such as open plots and agriculture lands, from the managements of different companies. Even during the lockdown, the accused officers were allegedly busy collecting ‘mamools’ from several companies. The Union Finance Ministry , which received a tip-off about their activities, ordered an internal inquiry in March, 2020, which brought into light the illegal activities of the accused. IN a suspected case of drunken driving, an SUV knocked down three woman labourers on NH 44 at Nandigama of Cyberabad, killing them on the spot. The driver and the passengers left the vehicle and fled the spot, police said. According to the police, the incident occurred at Mekaguda X roads. Due to the impact of the hit, the women walking on the highway were flung into the air and landed near an underpass below the highway A . search is on for the driver and passengers. oxygen and Remdesivir injection, while hospital beds are fully occupied. “If we don’t act now, things will be difficult to handle,” he added. Another minister, Jitendra Awhad, said Uddhav was initially reluctant to go for a complete lockdown but the ministers prevailed over him. Maharashtra has 6,70,388 positive cases with 2,46,119 patients admitted in hospitals. The situation in Delhi is equally bad with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pleading the Centre “with folded hands” to rush medical oxygen. “Serious oxygen crisis persists in Delhi... Some hospitals are left with just a few hours of oxygen,” he tweeted. “ On Monday, the Delhi government had set up a 24-member committee to ensure “rational” use of medical oxygen for treatment of Covid-19 paP9 tients. GHMC has no funds for salaries, but corporators to get health insurance S BACHAN JEET SINGH @ Hyderabad AT a time when the cashstrapped Greater Hyderabad Municipal Cor poration (GHMC) is reeling under severe financial crisis and finding it difficult to pay salaries to its employees, the civic body has decided to provide medical insurance to all the recently elected 150 corporators, five co-option members and their family members. The civic body will pay the premium, which will cost between `1.5 crore and `2 crore per annum. The facility will have risk coverage of up to `5 lakh for each corporator and family member, duly covering spouse, two dependent children and any two dependents — either parents or inlaws — under the floating insurance coverage policy. The premium will be paid by GHMC as per guidelines of the Insurance Regulatory and De- velopment Authority (IRDA). A few corporators have justified the decision, claiming they risk their health on a daily basis as they interact with the public to address the latter’s grievances, in the midst of the pandemic. The benefit will be available to every member of a corporator’s family on a floater basis, i.e., the reimbursement of `5 lakh can be availed either by one individual or collectively by all family members. The GHMC wants to extend the benefits to all corporators on the lines of privileges available to MPs and MLAs. The policies, after one year, can be extended for another year if the services provided by the insurance broking firms are deemed satisfactory . The corporators are also reportedly exerting pressure on the GHMC to provide them with iPhones, laptops, printers and an increase in monthly honorariums. Appoint ad-hoc judges if vacancy is 20%, Supreme Court tells HCs K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi EXPRESSING concern over the large number of pending cases in high courts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday set the ball rolling for appointment of ad-hoc judges in HCs to clear pendency . A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, “We have a docket explosion in our country and that it is difficult for adjudication to take place within a reasonable period of time. This crisis situation must be tackled. Some innovation is always the rule of the game.” The bench said the process to appoint ad-hoc judges can be initiated if vacancies are more than 20% of the sanctioned strength of the high court and cases in a particular category are pending for over five years. The court clarified that ad-hoc appointments cannot be a substitute for regular ones. The number of ad-hoc judges should be between two and five in a high court, it added. Citing data from the National Judicial Data Grid, the court said five high courts — Allahabad, Punjab & Haryana, Madras, Bombay, and Rajasthan — are responsible for 54% of the pendency of over 57,51,312 cases. “The Madras High Court has among the highest arrears in the country of 5.8 lakh cases despite having fewer vacan- cies than most other high courts (7%). This does not take away from the requirement of appointing ad-hoc Judges but supports the view that even if the existing vacancies are few, a situation may arise requiring the expertise of experienced Judges to be appointed as ad hoc Judges,” the court held. The court also laid down timelines for the government take a call on appointment of judges. The bench said that once the Centre receives inputs of state government and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), it would be desirable that the file be forwarded to the Supreme Court Collegium within 8 to 12 weeks. Once the Collegium reiterates a proposal, the government should notify the appointment within 3-4 weeks.
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