KOLLAM l friday l april 23, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION ` finMin asks banks to foot ‘interest on interest’ bill gOVT IN NO MOOD TO SHARE L8,000-CR BURDEN The Union finance ministry has informally asked banks to reimburse or adjust the compound interest charged during the loan moratorium period Banks had approached the finance ministry for help in settling the compound interest waiver, estimated at around I8,000 crore but the government is in no mood to compensate lenders. The Supreme Court had on March 23 ruled banks cannot charge interest on interest for accounts that sought a moratorium last year and that the amount must be refunded ■ June 2-4 RISING COVID CASES TO HIT RECOVERY: rbi ■ The uncertainty due to the surge in Covid cases and localised lockdowns prompted RBI to vote for status quo in interest rates, as per minutes of the MPC meeting released on Thursday Covid-19 is the single biggest factor blocking the path to economic recovery, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said in the meeting | P10 Next meeting of the Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee 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 No reason to appoint Salve: Dave Let HCs hear matter: SC Bar body “There is no reason why Mr Harish Salve should again and again be appointed by Chief Justice Bobde as amicus curiae. He has been a non-resident and living in London for a long time. He does not know the realities of India,” says Dushyant Dave “High Courts appear to be best suited to deal with the situation, hence it would be proper to allow the Hon’ble High Courts to continue dealing with the present issue,” the Supreme Court Bar Association’s intervention petition before the top court SC wakes up, legal eagles fret Six high courts hearing Covid cases is creating some confusion and diversion of resources, says bench; experts want HCs to stay in play K anu Sa r d a @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of the health emergency caused by Covid-19 pandemic though a clutch of high courts are already seized of the matter, a decision that was panned by a section of senior lawyers. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde took note of the fact that high courts of Delhi, Bombay, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Calcutta and Allahabad were dealing with issues related to Covid and asked the Centre to present a national plan to face the health crisis. “The situation in various parts of the country is grim. There seems to be a sudden surge in the number of covid patients and mortality Nonetheless it seems that a . certain amount of panic has been generated and people have Scrutiny of invoked the jurisdicfour points tion of several high The court said it courts in the country wanted to take up seeking relief,” the orsupply of oxygen der read. and essential “They (HCs) are exdrugs, method and ercising jurisdiction in manner of best interest. But it is vaccination and creating confusion and the power to diversion of resourcdeclare lockdown. es,” the bench ob“We want the served, adding, “We power to clear are almost in a nationlockdown to be al emergency .” with states and it “The high courts should not be a have passed certain orjudicial decision,” ders which may have the CJI said the effect of accelerating and prioritizing the services to a certain set of people and slowing down the availability of these resources to certain other groups whether the groups are local, regional or otherwise,” the detailed order stated. The bench said it intended to transfer to itself some of the related issues pending in various high courts. But senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi later said he completely disagreed with the view of the Supreme Court. “High Courts are competent to deal with the issue as it unfolds in the concerned state... It’s a retrograde step. High Court will become redundant now,” he reasoned. Appointing senior advocate Harish Salve as amicus curiae to assist it, the bench issued notice to the Centre and posted the matter for Friday the last working day of , CJI Bobde. Justice N V Ramana will take over as the next CJI on Saturday . During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked the bench, “Do we respond to high courts now or we respond here?” “We will issue notice to the Centre and then we will issue notice to high courts and eventually we will bring some issues here. All we want is a national plan on these issues,” the CJI said. The bench told Mehta it didn’t intend to supersede any order of the high courts as of now. At 3.14 lakh, highest-ever single-day spike in any country Active cases now at 22,91,428 comprising 14.38% of the total infections NATIONWIDE April 21 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 22 2,95,041 1,67,457 2,023 3,14,835 1,78,841 2,104 27,27,05,103 Samples tested up to April 21 Uttar Pradesh: Long queues at cremation centres in Agra as bodies pile up 16,51,711 Of the samples tested on Wednesday New Delhi: Centre urges corporates to consider converting their vacant office buildings into temporary Covid care facilities Jerusalem: Israel issues travel warning for India and six other countries Kerala Case diary Kerala’s daily Covid tally and test positivity rate touched an all-time high on Thursday 26,995 4,396 19.97% 1,56,226 active cases test positivity rate 1,35,177 samples fresh cases cases in Ernakulam 28 more die Experts call for moderate caution Epidemiologists have advocated a twin approach of moderate caution and strict adherence to the Covid protocol to ride out these trying times. P2 All prisoners get Covid jab by May first week The prisons dept has rolled out measures to vaccinate inmates of all jails in the state before mid-May. P2 Workers set up a Covid first-line treatment centre (CFLTC) at Anugraha auditorium in Kaloor on Thursday. In view of the unprecedented surge in Covid cases in Ernakulam, officials have decided to set up several CFLTCs across local bodies in the district | A Sanesh Active cases cross 1.5L, state puts beds in schools & halls E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi/T’Puram WITH the number of Covid patients in the state crossing the 1.5 lakh-mark on Thursday and thousands more likely to contract the virus in the coming days, the state government is taking up spaces in schools, public halls and facilities adjacent to places of worship anticipating shortage of beds in hospitals. In Ernakulam district alone, 11 domiciliary care centres (DCCs) started functioning on Thursday. District Collector S Suhas said five Covid First Line Treatment Centres (CFLTCs) will also be set up in Kochi Corporation limits. As of now, nine CFLTCs are functioning in the district. In Thiruvananthapuram, two new CFLTCs will be opened immediately --- one each in Peroorkada and Poojappura. Ernakulam has been witnessing an alarming spike in the number of fresh cases. On Thursday 4,396 new cases were , reported, which was high among all districts. The state saw an all-time high of 26,995 cases with the test positivity rate too scaling to a new high of 19.97%. On Wednesday, the fresh cases and infection rate were 22,414 and 18.41% respectively. Thiruvananthapuram reported 2,283 new cases on Thursday taking the active pa, tient load in the capital district past 10,000. “We have identified buildings suitable for CFLTCs. A final decision will be taken on Monday said an officer. There ,” are 2,249 CFLTCs and DCCs in the district now. The decision has been to open at least one CFLTC in each taluk. Some of the spaces taken over by Ernakulam district administration for setting up CFLTCs include Santhigiri Ashramam, Edathala, Pandit Karuppan Memorial hall, Edakochi Tagore hall. Mumbai-model takeover of pvt hospitals on anvil T’Puram: The state may have to go by the ‘Mumbai model’ to take over private hospitals in districts with a high caseload. Experts said such drastic steps might be taken if the number of patients starts stretching the infrastructure. P4 Oxygen success due to coordinated efforts Kochi: While Kerala’s oxygen production is getting recognised, thanks to the surplus it possesses, the success was not achieved overnight. Coordinated efforts had begun as early as March 23 last year, say sources. P4 Delay in test results turns cause for concern Kochi: Even as the state has gone in for mass testing as the strategy to tackle Covid, the delay in arrival of test results has turned a cause for concern. On account of the delay, those awaiting results have grown more anxious. P4 cm speak State to procure jabs directly to meet demand E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram The state gover nment will procure Covid-19 vaccines directly from companies even as it awaits a favo u r a b l e r e sponse from the Centre to its demand for more vaccine supplies, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. Briefing reporters after assessing the Covid situation in the state on Thursday the chief , minister said the state has decided to go ahead with vaccine procurement so as to avoid delay in supply He said the Cen. tre could reimburse the state after it procures vaccines from the market. A committee headed by the chief secretary and comprising the secretaries of finance and health will oversee vaccine pro● More on P4 curement. Have ensured adequate oxygen supply to states, says Centre E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi States’ O2 quota raised In view of the surge in oxygen demand due to an exponential rise in the No. of Covid patients admitted in hospitals, the Centre has raised the quota of oxygen for states Amid reports of acute shortage of oxygen in some states and instances of some private hospitals moving court for urgent directions to ensure timely supply of the life-saving gas, the Centre on Thursday said it is giving 6,822 MT of liquid medical oxygen per day to 20 states against a demand of 6,785 MT/day . The announcement came after a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take stock of the situation. In the review meeting, the PM stressed on increasing production of oxygen, raising the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities. He also said that states should come down heavily on hoarding. According to the Centre, availability of liquid medical oxygen has been raised by 3,300 MT per day with contributions from private and public steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of supply of oxygen for non-essential industries. Modi also said there is a need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction and also asked ministries to explore various innovative ways to increase production and supply of oxygen. A Silent herald Tusker Ernakulam Sivakumar carries the idol of Neythalakkavu Bhagavathy after opening the southern gate of Vadakkumnathan temple as part of the proclamation ceremony, which marks the commencement of Thrissur Pooram. The festival, considered a ‘celebration of the masses’, had to be scaled down to just rituals for a second year in the wake of a Covid resurgence | Express Factionalism boils over in Alappuzha US to halve emissions, India to go green by 2030 CPM, poll results could make it worse E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e US President Joe Biden on Thursday said America will cut its carbon emissions by up to 52% by the end of this decade, to bring them down to the levels in year 2005. In his address to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by the US, Biden said the US and other big economies have an obligation to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. The announcement marks the US’ return to global climate efforts after four years of withdrawal under former president Donald Trump. America believes its ambitious new plan will encourage other polluting majors such as China to take impactful steps. However, experts think the US may not be able to achieve the long-term target given the constantly shifting political environment. Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of IndiaUS Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership to mobilise investments and enable green collaborations. “In its new nationally determined contribution, the US has set an economy-wide target of Despite our development challenges, we have taken many bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and biodiversity. That’s why we are among the few countries whose indices are 2-degree Celsius compatible - Prime Minister Narendra Modi reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 per cent below 2005 levels in 2030. As part of its climate mitigation efforts, India has set a target of installing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030... Through this collaboration, India and the SU aim to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities,” a joint statement read. B I J U E PA U L @ Alappuzha FACTIONALISM, which has been brewing for many years in the CPM unit in the Communist bastion of Alappuzha, has boiled over. It has reached a flashpoint after the assembly elections, with leaders fighting it out in the open. On Thursday , it took a turn for the worse with a poster appearing in Punnapra calling senior leader and Works Minister G Sudhakaran a ‘traitor’. Group rivalry in Alappuzha had turned intense in 2015. Sudhakaran was a strong opponent of VS. Now former VS loyalists are taking advantage of the situation. If Sudhakaran is sidelined, next generation leaders can become key players A CPM leader Back then, at the party’s state conference in the coastal city, the official faction led by Pinarayi Vijayan took a vice-like grip of the party, decimating the rival V S Achuthanandan faction. Achuthanandan walked out of the conference in protest against the official faction’s move to sideline him. However, in the 2016 assembly elections, the LDF made a remarkable comeback and the CPM won six seats in the district. The LDF emerged victorious in eight out of nine constituencies. That situation has changed, if the latest developments are any indication. G Sudhakaran is the prime target of the attacks. The poster in Punnapra said “Sudhakaran is a traitor and the martyrs would not par● More on P5 don him”.
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