bhubaneswar l friday l april 23, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION ` finMin asks banks to foot ‘interest on interest’ bill The Union finance ministry has informally asked banks to reimburse or adjust the compound interest charged during the loan moratorium period gOVT IN NO MOOD TO SHARE `8,000-CR BURDEN RISING COVID CASES TO HIT RECOVERY: rbi Banks had approached the finance ministry for help in settling the compound interest waiver, estimated at around `8,000 crore but the government is in no mood to compensate lenders. The Supreme Court had on March 23 ruled that banks can’t charge interest on interest for accounts that sought a moratorium last year and that the amount must be refunded ■ ■ 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 June 2-4 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 CM talks to PM, assures oxygen supply to states 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 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Six high courts hearing Covid cases is creating some confusion and diversion of resources, says bench; experts want HCs to stay in play K a n u S a 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. “They (HCs) are exand essential drugs, 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 nation.” lockdown 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 prioritising 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 orP7 der 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 2,95,041 1,67,457 2,023 April 22 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 UAE, Oman, Australia and Israel latest nations to issue travel curbs on India amid Covid upsurge Modi calls off election rally Prime Minister Narendra Modi called off his proposed rally in West Bengal on Friday, saying he would be tied up with importane Covid meetings. He, however, would address voters virtually at 5 pm on Friday, the state BJP unit leadership later said A Covid-19 patient waits for admission outside the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital in New Delhi on Thursday | Shekhar Yadav HCs keep up pressure; EC forced to act in Bengal Saroj Speciality Hospital, Rohini citing shortage of oxygen supply said, “Forget the common man on the street, even if I were to ask for a bed, it would not be available right now.” Justice Sanghi added, “We hope and expect that Centre will look into the requirements of Covid beds and work to enhance availability .” The Delhi government said oxygen plants in Durgapur, Rourkela and Kalinganagar (in E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi The Centre on Thursday continued to draw brickbats from the Delhi High Court on the acute paucity of hospital beds and the Bombay High Court on the slashing of Maharashtra’s oxygen quota. A division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli while hearing the plea filed by 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. US to halve emissions, India to go green by 2030 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 with- drawal 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 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 Amid reports of shortage of medical oxygen in different parts of the country, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday extended all support to the Centre in fighting the pandemic at the national level including ramping up of oxygen production to assist the needy states. The Chief Minister made this offer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi while discussing the Covid-19 situation over telephone. “It is a war-like situation and Odisha will extend all cooperation in the fight against Covid at the national level including ramping up oxygen production to assist other states in this emergency,” he said. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s gesture has been praised by his counterparts of Delhi and Maharashtra. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal praised Patnaik for assuring supply of medical oxygen and entrusting a special officer to the task. “Received a call from Sh Naveen Patnaik ji. He has assured complete support to Delhi in facilit at i n g l i f t i n g o f Delhi’s quota of oxygen from Odisha. He has put a special officer on the job. Thank you so much Sir. Del- set an economy-wide target of 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 P9 statement read. Odisha) will deliver oxygen to hospitals in Delhi but it will take two days to transport it. As for the Bombay High Court, its Nagpur bench directed restoring the Maharashtra’s oxygen quota, saying the reduction was like a bolt from blue. The Centre had cut Maharashtra’s supply from 110 metric tonnes (MT) to 60 MT from Chhattisgarh’s Bhilai plant. In West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court rapped the Election Commission for not implementing Covid norms during the Assembly elections. A bench said issuing circulars and holding meetings on Covid safety were not enough and sought a report on the proposed action by Friday. Hours later, the Election Commission of India banned all roadshows, processions and bike rallies in the state citing violation of Covid protocols. It also put a cap of 500 participants at public meetings. hi is indeed grateful,” Kejriwal tweeted. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also spoke to Naveen and thanked him for the steps taken for arranging logistics for oxygen transport to Maharashtra. Police have made special arrangements to ensure uninterrupted and fast movement of medical oxygen from Odisha to other states. Additional DGP (law and order) is coordinating the issue and the SPs are making special traffic arrangements including ODISHA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 21 4,851 2,009 5 April 22 6,164 2,165 7 police escort and dedicated corridors to ensure swift movement of medical oxygen from the State. Official sources said Odisha has around 70 industries producing industrial oxygen. Rourkela Steel Plant, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) at Angul and IFFCO Ltd in Paradip are among the major producers. The government is encouraging these industries to produce medical oxygen to maintain supply here and also provide them to other needy states. express read Centre fails to set up a single oxygen plant Of the seven pressure swing absorption (PSA) oxygen plants proposed six months back, the Centre has failed to set up a single facility in Odisha. Despite oxygen being one of the most vital medical essentials in the fight against Covid-19, the installation process carried out directly by the Centre moved at a snail’s pace once the Covid transmission hit a low in November 2020 | P2 High alert in border dists as triple mutant emerges in WB strict measures Border check posts on all inter-state roads connecting Odisha to West Bengal 2 week mandatory quarantine for people coming from WB Screening at Bhubaneswar and Jharsuguda airports Institutional and paid quarantine centres to be set up immediately Total vaccinated persons and those with RT-PCR negative reports to undergo 14-day home quarantine Strict action against quarantine violators Any person violating these measures will be liable for action under the provisions of Disaster Management Act-2005 and Epidemic Diseases Act-1897 SC Mahapatra, Chief Secy E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar At a time when the State government is grappling with the second wave of Covid-19, fuelled by the double mutant, emergence of a triple mutant strain in the poll-bound West Bengal has put Odisha on high alert. In a bid to monitor people travelling from West Bengal, the government on Thursday directed collectors of Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts to put up border check posts (BCP) on all inter-state roads (NH/SH and local roads) along the border of neighbouring state with immediate effect. Making an announcement, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra asked the administrations of the two districts to ensure proper tracking at all the major and minor entry points for people coming from West Bengal in any mode of transportation. “Two weeks quarantine for people entering Odisha is mandatory. It is the traveller’s choice to undergo either institutional or paid quarantine. Cluster TMC (temporary medical centre) will be opened where the food and medicine requirement of the inmates will be taken care of by the district administrations,” the Chief Secretary said. For those who would prefer paid quarantine, such accommodation will be arranged by the district administration, he added. The same principle will be applicable for air passengers coming from West Bengal and alighting at Bhubaneswar or Jharsuguda airports. People travelling from West Bengal to other states through Odisha will be allowed without disembarking from the vehicle en-route through the State, he added. Those who have been successfully vaccinated (two doses) or tested Covid-19 negative in RT-PCR have to produce certificate to the effect and will undergo home quarantine for 14 days. In case of non-compliance with Covid protocols and home quarantine guidelines issued by the Centre, such persons will be quarantined in institutional facility for 14 days. “Any person violating these measures will be liable for action under Disaster Management Act-2005, Epidemic Diseases Act-1897, besides Section 1BB of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable,” said the order issued by the Chief Secretary . Mahapatra said sarpanches, ward members and volunteers will be mobilised to create awareness in the border areas and report to local authorities and police stations about any person coming from West Bengal but not quarantined in institutional facilities.
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