HYDERABAD SUNDAY MAY 02, 2021 `12.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION RESULTS OF ASSEMBLY POLLS FOR FOUR STATES, 1 UT TODAY Exercise to begin on Sunday morning across 2,364 counting halls in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu & Puducherry ELABORATE ARRANGEMENTS AT CENTRES COVID -VE CERTIFICATE MUST FOR AGENTS Stung by criticism over not enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour during campaigning, the Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting. Apart from ensuring physical distancing, it has barred gatherings outside halls. Counting will begin at 8 am and continue late into the night, with 1,100 observers closely watching over the process | P8 ■ ■ ■ Candidates and agents will have to produce a negative Covid-19 test report or double dose of vaccination certificate to get entry The results will have a bearing on Congress’ future as a national party, while serving as a litmus test for the BJP’s expansion plans It will also likely reflect the public perception on Covid handling 200% INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF COUNTING CENTRES IN VIEW OF THE PANDEMIC 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 EATALA STRIPPED OF HEALTH PORTFOLIO EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Rajender’s supporters protest the investigation against the Minister in Shamirpet, Hyderabad on Saturday @ Hyderabad Batra Hospital employees paying respects to Dr R K Himthani | TWITTER Oxygen-starved hospital horror; 12 patients dead Head of dept at Batra Hospital among the dead; doctor on Covid duty kills self EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NATIONWIDE APRIL 30 Fresh cases 3,86,452 4,01,993 DISRUPTION in oxygen supply resulted in the death of 12 Covid-19 patients at Batra Hospital on Saturday One of the . deceased was RK Himthani, head of the gastroenterology department of the hospital. Medical director of the hospital Dr SCL Gupta said that six of the deceased, including the doctor, were in ICU on high flow of oxygen. The doctor was admitted to the hospital 15-20 days ago. “There were patients who could have survived, but they could not because of oxygen shortage. The government should take some decision, either close the hospital or admissions. What was the fault of those who died due to shortage of oxygen?” he said. The hospital had raised an alarm over depleting stocks around noon, after which AAP MLA Raghav Chadha, who monitors supply to several hospitals in the city said , the gas was reaching the hos- Recoveries 2,97,540 2,99,988 @ New Delhi Deaths MAY 1 3,498 3,523 18 DIE IN GUJARAT HOSPITAL BLAZE Bharuch: At least 18 people, including 16 Covid patients, died in a fire at a hospital at Bharuch in Gujarat on Saturday. The victims were either charred to death or died due to suffocation after a suspected short-circuit sparked the blaze at Patel Welfare Hospital pital. “Our SOS cryogenic tanker carrying Liquid Medical Oxygen is reaching Batra Hospital within 5 minutes. Their regular supplier of oxygen has defaulted yet again due to alleged ‘lack of oxygen supplies’ and is being pulled up,” he tweeted. Gupta said they had informed authorities about lack of oxygen in the morning when they had 2,500 litres left. CONTINUED ON P7 WATER HAS GONE ABOVE HEAD, GIVE O2 NOW: HC TO CENTRE MINISTER Eatala Rajender was stripped of the Health portfolio on Saturday. The portfolio has now been transferred to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Rajender will continue in the Cabinet without a portfolio. “On the advice of the Chief Minister, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has approved the transfer of Medical, Health and Family Welfare portfolio from Eatala Rajender to the Chief Minister with immediate effect,” stated a press communique from Raj Bhavan. A day after the CM ordered a probe into the alleged grabbing of assigned lands by Rajender, a battery of officials from Revenue and Vigilance departments gathered evidence against Rajender. They reportedly submitted a sixpage preliminary inquiry report to Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar. The officials reportedly found that Rajender encroached upon 66 acres of land and also chopped trees to lay the road to his poultry farm. Immediately after the development, Rajender commented to his followers that he was happy and thanked the CM. But, he did not take any political decision and is awaiting further steps by the government. Now, one option before the CM is to remove Rajender from the Cabinet, if the preliminary investigation report states that Rajender did encroach upon the lands. According to Revenue sources, if any person is found to have purchased assigned land, the department will resume the land and hand it over to the original assignee. “Resuming the land from the purchaser and handing it over to the original assignee will itself be a fitting punishment for the purchaser,” an official said. However, another official said that if the person encroaches the assigned lands, it amounts to trespass and attracts provisions of the IPC. Rajender felt that there was no democracy in Telangana, AP, or for that matter in the country. Without taking the names of any leaders, he said that those who had hatched a conspiracy against him would ‘pay a heavy price’ in future Swift probe by 3 teams finds Minister guilty of grabbing land in Medak dist P K R I S H N A @ Sangareddy FORMER Health Minister of Telangana Eatala Rajender has been found guilty of grabbing assigned lands and undertaking illegal constructions on them in Achampet village of Medak district, confirmed District Collector A Harish on Saturday . Several farmers came forward and lodged complaints with the Collector and the Vigilance DG Purnachandra Rao in this regard. The DG visited the Achampet village along with ACB officials and interacted with these ryots on Saturday . The Collector said a preliminary inquiry by the officials concerned had revealed that 65 acres of land was owned by Jamuna Hatcheries pvt ltd, a firm owned by Rajender’s wife. Harish said that three teams comprising 15 surveyors and eight tahsildars were formed to ascertain the total amount of land that had been seized. He said some construction had also been done on the land. The Medak Collector said a report on the inquiry would be submitted to the government. It may be noted that on Friday , seven farmers had lodged a complaint with Chief Minister Officials investigate allegations against Eatala Rajender by speaking to the farmers who complained amid presence of police personnel in Achampet on Saturday K Chandrasekhar Rao, alleging that Rajender had encroached 177 acres of land in Achampet village of Masaipet mandal. On receiving the complaints, the CM had ordered an immediate inquiry into them. As per the CM’s instructions, Vigilance, ACB and Revenue of ficials reached Achampet around 8 am on Saturday and started investigating the complaints. During investigation, there was heavy deployment of police personnel in the village to prevent any untoward inci- India returnees to face 5-yr jail in Australia April GST revenue at record high of `1.41L-Cr Melbourne: Threatening a fiveyear jail term or a hefty fine, the Australian government temporarily barred its citizens from entering the country if they happened to be in India within a period of 14 days of their intended arrival to the country. The decision will come into force from Monday. The move aims at keeping the spread in check in Australia as India is facing a sharp surge in the number of infections | P11 New Delhi: GST collections in April touched a record high of over `1.41 lakh crore, indicating sustained economic recovery, the Finance Ministry said on Saturday. The revenues for April are 14% higher than March’s collection | P12 PEEVED by fast-paced developments that the State government has initiated which are going against him, former Health Minister Eatala Rajender said that the ‘entire Telangana society’ was supporting him. “The people of the State are of the view that a conspiracy was hatched against me,” Rajender told reporters on Saturday. He said that he would decide on his future course of political action after consulting his followers. Rajender felt that there was no democracy in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, or for that matter in the country He also . alleged that there was no freedom even for Ministers in States. Without taking the names of any leaders, he said that those who had hatched a political conspiracy against him would ‘pay a heavy price’ in future. He denied the allegations of land grabbing levelled against him. Meanwhile, Rajender told his close aides that once the ties with TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao were severed, it was very difficult to repair them. He added that he had no immediate plans to float a regional party However, . he expressed fears that he might face more land-related cases in future and might be arrested sooner or later. The Minister felt that he was being targetted by KCR right from the 2018 Assembly elections. He recalled that a raid was conducted on his house at the time. Some TRS leaders had even provided financial assistance to the candidate contesting against him, RaP2 jender alleged. Nizamabad: A private hospital staffer allegedly attacked a Covid patient at the latter’s house for non-payment of the hospital bill. Family members of the victim alleged that the man took `60,000 cash and a bike from the house | P4 WITH THIS ISSUE HELPING HANDLES MAGAZINE PLUS 12 PAGES 55-year-old woman offers dignity to the dead P I N T O D E E PA K @ Hyderabad Jijia Bai, 55, conducts one of the many funerals of Covid-19 patients at the graveyard she runs and maintains at Kavadiguda in Secunderabad | S SENBAGAPANDIYAN her family to take up this job. Until two years ago, Jijia Bai was only helping her husband Basa Balaram run the graveyard. But after his death in 2019, she shouldered the responsibility of maintaining it. @ Hyderabad N’bad hosp staffer attacks Covid patient LONE WARRIOR AMID the exponential rise in number of Covid-19 casualties and a shortage of space to perform their final rites, 55-yearold Basa Jijia Bai has come forward to conduct the funeral of those who lost their battle with the scourge. She runs a graveyard at Kavadiguda in Secunderabad that her family inherited from her ancestors. “With the rise in number of Covid-19 deaths and families struggling to find space to bury or cremate their loved ones, I have decided to perform the last rites of people who died of the infection. This is no less than a service to God,” she says. The graveyard land was given to her ancestors by the Nizams before Independence. She is also the first woman in dents. Officials from various departments summoned the farmers who had lodged the complaints. Vigilance SP Manohar, ACB DSP Anand and Revenue officials received complaints from more farmers. Vigilance DG Purnachandra Rao gathered basic information on the investigation and then left for Hyderabad. It is learnt that the DG was scheduled to submit a report on the findings to the CM on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, farmers who had complained to the CM have refrained from interacting with mediapersons. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE EXPRESS READ K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi TAKING a stern tone over Delhi not getting its due share of medical oxygen, the Delhi High Court on Saturday told the Centre to arrange its full quota or face action. “Water has gone above the head. You have to arrange everything now. You have made the allocations. You have to fulfill it. Eight lives have been lost,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said, while referring to Batra Hospital’s reported loss of lives after oxygen supply stopped for 80 minutes on Saturday The number has since risen to 12. . “We direct the Centre to ensure that Delhi receives its 490 MT today by whatever means. It falls on the Centre to arrange tankers as well. If this is not implemented, we may even consider initiating contempt proceedings,” the HC said. During the hearing, senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, stated that while Delhi’s demand was 700 MT, but 490 MT has been allocated, of which the suppliers had made a P7 voluntary commitment to supply 445MT. ‘No democracy in TS’ Conspirators to pay heavy price: Min She, however, had to shut it down after the pandemic first hit the State in 2020. This year, moved by the dramatic rise in number of Covid19 deaths, she resumed operations at the graveyard on April 16, 2021. “People were dying, and families could not even offer them the space for a dignified cremation. I thought it was time I joined the fight against Covid-19,” she says. The police and the GHMC have been very supportive of her endeavour, but a few locals and commercial establishments often trouble Jijia Bai and her family. “People block the path of the dead and their families, while a few hotels dump their waste on my premises. They harass us to such an extent that sometimes, I feel like quitting.” From setting firewood for the pyre, placing the body on top if it, guiding the family through the rituals, ensuring that the body is burnt completely to protecting it from stray dogs, Jijia Bai does it all. “There have been several incidents where families are inconsolable during cremations. We wait for them to recover so that the cremation can be performed,” Jijia Bai says. Jijia Bai has two nephews and three workers, who help her with the graveyard operations. Usually, their work begins as early as 6 am, which goes on till midnight on some days. “We cremate at least eight Covid-19 bodies every day she adds. ,” Despite her efforts, the graveyard cries for attention. “We maintain the graveyard and pay the workers with whatever we earn from the cremations. But this is not enough. Politicians have come to us seeking votes and promising many things, but nothing has happened,” she adds. The first lot of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia arrive in Hyderabad. Dull start to Phase-3 vax drive as shortage persists EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE vaccination programme for all adults got off to a slow start on Saturday with many states skipping the launch date and others doing a symbolic vaccination drive due to an acute shortage of doses. While some states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka kicked off the inoculation drive for the 18-44 years group in a small way at limited centres, Kerala said its launch will be delayed by a few days due to shortage of vaccines. In Delhi, vaccination for this group was carried out only at one vaccination centre, with CM Arvind Kejriwal saying the large-scale distribution of doses will start on Monday . Chhattisgarh administered doses to only 1,693 people in that age group till 7 pm on Saturday while Odisha vaccinated , just 96 people in Bhubaneswar in a “symbolic dry run”. In Jharkhand, the government said it will announce fresh dates for the jabs once they reach the state. Chief Minister Hemant Soren is seeking at least 50 lakh doses. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The vaccination for those above 18 will be delayed by a few days. As efforts are on to procure vaccines from manufacturers, those in the 18 plus category cannot be given the jabs now.” Meanwhile, the first batch of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V arrived in Hyderabad. It contains 1.5 lakh doses, which works on the principle of delivering a weakened part of the coronavirus using an adenovirus vector, similar to how Covidshield functions, that triggers an immune response in the body The . vaccine has shown in clinical trials an efficacy of over 90%.
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