POLLS DONE AND DUSTED, FUEL GETS PRICEY Fuel prices are creeping up though economic activity is sliding due to Covid second wave 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 ■ 18 DAYS since the last price revision. ■ Oil companies froze rate revisions during electioneering possibly to soften the blow in poll-bound states like West Bengal CITY Mumbai Chennai New Delhi Kolkata HYDERABAD WEDNESDAY MAY 05, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 18 LATE CITY EDITION PETROL (`) 96.95 (+0.12) 92.55 (+0.12) 90.55 (+0.15) 90.76 (+0.14) DIESEL (`) 87.98 (+0.17) 85.90 (+0.15) 80.91 (+0.18) 83.78 (+0.17) CHORUS FOR LOCKDOWN GROWS LOUDER IPL suspended after Covid-19 cases in bubble India Inc largely in favour of complete national shutdown but health experts are divided, as they feel it should have been done during the onset of the wave EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Housing and Development Ltd, too feels a lockdown will have a drastic impact on the econoA day after CII president Uday my “The need of the hour is to . Kotak called for a national strike a balance between a full lockdown to break the chain of lockdown and allowing busitransmission of coronavirus, ness operations to prevent a many corporate leaders came downward trajectory of the forward to support the idea economy,” he said. saying it is alright to take an Ashish Mishra, CEO of advieconomic hit to save lives. How- sory firm, Unnault, explained ever, health experts are divided that businesses and jobs can be over the effectiveness of such a revived but the same cannot be move at this stage. said for human lives. “The Cen“Saving lives is more impor- tral government should take tant than producing stringent steps and steel. Production can Maha cases push people to stay at suffer as long as the home. This will also down country is in need of bring some relief to India’s worst any resource available the healthcare system Covid-hit state with the company,” and allow them to Maharashtra said Sajjan Jindal, treat people in dire reported 51,880 need,” he said. managing director of JSW Group, which cases on Tuesday. America’s top pubThe state has supplies liquid oxygen lic health expert and been able to to hospitals. White House Chief Another corporate bring down fresh Medical Adviser Dr cases to a leader, who did not Anthony Fauci, too, manageable wish to be named, said feels India must imrange after it India’s healthcare syspose a nationwide tem is stretched to its imposed a state- lockdown for a few wide lockdown limits. “At this point weeks. “It is quite oblast month of time, saving lives is vious to everyone that more important than the situation in India economic activities. Suspend- is extremely serious,” he said ing non-essential business ac- recently, adding India must fotivities and a complete lock- cus on mass vaccination and down for two weeks is the only setting up a large number of way out,” he said. makeshift hospitals. Calling for a balanced apHowever, healthcare experts proach, real estate tycoon in India are not convinced of Niranjan Hiranandani said, “A the need for lockdown when complete economic lockdown the infection is already ramwill cast a dark shadow on pant and considering that the economy and lead to more fa- new variant of coronavirus is talities due to increased airbor ne, making it more unemployment.” transmissible than the Rohit Poddar, MD, Poddar earlier one. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai @ New Delhi People waiting to refill oxygen at Babbar Gas Plant in Kanpur, UP on Tuesday | PTI Dr Oommen John of the George Institute for Global Health India said it will be difficult to ensure that people stay within their homes in densely populated urban contexts. Having faced widespread criticism last year for imposing a nationwide lockdown without warning, the Centre this time is not in favour of shutting down the economy. On April 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told states to manage the Covid situation without P9 imposing a lockdown. THE Delhi High Court on Tuesday put the Centre on notice over hauling it up for contempt of court for failing to comply with its May 1 order to provide Delhi 490 MT oxygen immediately for Covid patients and a subsequent Supreme Court order to bridge the city’s deficit. In sharp comments, a bench comprising justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli told the Centre, “You can bury your head in the sand like ostrich, we won’t.” Criticising the Centre for poor execution, the bench suggested: “You should hand over the distribution of oxygen tankers to an IIT or an IIM. They will do a much better job... The point is Supreme Court has said Delhi must get 700 MT, so it must get it. It’s your responsibility .” While the Centre raised its supply to 433 MT on Monday night, the Delhi government said it is not enough. “Even with 420 MT people are dying,” the Delhi government said. But when the Centre tried to dismiss it as rhetoric, the bench shot back: “How can you be so insensitive? How can you say this?” The Centre said 12 oxygen tankers are on their way to Delhi. The bench sought to know of the Centre’s plans to deploy the Army to deal with the pandemic. MAY 3 MAY 4 Fresh cases 3,68,147 3,57,229 Recoveries 3,00,732 3,20,289 3,417 3,449 Deaths JAB-O-METER May 3 16.5 lakh doses TAKE YOUR May 4 SHOT 11,49,009 doses TOTAL: 16,04,18,105 Pvt hosps won’t get vax from Centre for 45+ group Delhi HC pulls up Centre, says it won’t do an O2 ostrich K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi NATIONWIDE THE inevitable has happened. The Indian cricket board (BCCI) postponed the Indian Premier League indefinitely. Just over a week ago this newspaper had suspended its coverage of the IPL due to the pandemic and the devastation it has been causing in the country It had said, the timing of . the tournament was not right. Over the past week, ever since the teams moved from Chennai and Mumbai, there has been anxiety among the players and support staff. It even led to players’ pull-out and even Ravichandran Ashwin took a break to be with his family who had the infection. After two players in Kolkata Knight Riders and two support staff in Chennai Super Kings tested positive, the BCCI was still looking at shifting the IPL to Mumbai. But after Wriddhiman Saha testing positive at the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s camp the board was forced to suspend it indefinitely. “These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times,” the IPL said in a statement. While England, South Africa and New Zealand players and support-staff will take charter flights soon, Australian contingent is left stranded because of stringent policy of their government for those who return from India. Some Indian players have left for home. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad TELANGANA will now have a different approach to vaccinating those aged above 45 years and falling in the priority group. As per an official order from the Director of Public Health, private vaccine centres will now have to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers if they want to hold vaccination sessions, and will not get a share in the supply provided by the Government of India. As a result, individuals aged above 45 getting the vaccine from private hospitals will have to fork out more at rates set by the vaccine makers, along with hospital service charges. The figure will likely be a minimum of `600 per dose, unlike the previous subsi- dised doses priced at `250 each. The vaccines given via government centres will remain free. The order further mandates that all vaccinations administered at government or private hospitals have to be via Cowin registrations and not walk-ins. Meanwhile, no clarity has emerged on vaccines for those aged between 18 and 45 years. However, the order does imply that private hospitals must not procure vaccines for this age group and only vaccinate those above 45. The circular further states, “The vaccination of 18-45 years cohort shall be taken up in the due course of time.” It remains unclear why the decision was taken, as vaccinations in Telangana were primarily being done in private centres. Further, several citizens have pointed out how the Cowin app remains inaccessible most of the time. FIRST IN COUNTRY 8 LIONS TEST +VE IN HYDERABAD ZOO E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad THE first confirmed case of animals contracting Covid19 in the country has been reported in Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), where eight Asiatic lions — four male and four female — tested positive for the virus on Tuesday . According to the zoo and Forest department officials, all eight felines have been responding well to treatment and have almost recovered. The incident came to light after zoo veterinarians noticed mild symptoms, including dry cough, nasal discharge, and loss of appetite, among the eight lions almost a fortnight ago. “As soon as we noticed symptoms in the lions, we decided to send samples to check for viral infections,” said VVL Subhadra Devi, curator, NZP. The first nasal and oral discharge samples of the animals were sent to the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species at CSIR’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (LaCONES-CCMB) in Hyderabad on April 24. “We conducted RT-PCR tests from the collected samples, that confirmed what is perhaps the first Covid positive case among felines in the country. For further inquiry, the samples were also sent for genome analysis, which confirmed that the infections were not caused by the new variant of Covid-19,” Rakesh Mishra, director, CCMB, told Express. He said that it was possible that the virus might have been transmitted to the animals from their caretakers, who might also have been infected. Felines isolated, responding well to treatment The zoo officials said that all the eight lions were now responding well to treatment. “The lions have now been isolated from other animals at the zoo, are receiving due care and necessary treatment, and are recovering,” said Dr S Kukrety, APCCF and Director of Zoos, Telangana. Additionally, animal keepers taking care of the big cats have also been provided with PPEs. The moats are kept well ventilated and sanitised regularly . Stating that collection of swab samples from animals was difficult and was done by the ‘squeeze cage method,’ Dr Rakesh said, “The animals have to be tranquilised to get a sample. We will now test the lions’ faecal samples. This can be a useful method of testing for both captive CONTINUED ON P3 and free-ranging animals.” PVT HOSPS TO ADMIT ONLY SEVERE, MODERATE CASES Hyderabad: In a major rejig of functioning of private hospitals, the Department of Health issued orders to all private facilities treating Covid-19 patients to admit only moderate to severe cases of those whose oxygen saturation is dropping below 94%. The centres have been directed to not insist on a Covid19 positive report, to keep a display board at their entrances and provide updates on availability of ICU, oxygen and beds on a real time basis 14 killed in turf fight post No coercive action against Eatala’s wife & son: HC to TS govt Bengal election verdict EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad P R A N A B M O N D A L @ Kolkata HOURS after trends showed Trinamool Congress’ landslide victory in West Bengal on Sunday the state convulsed , under post-poll violence wave — from Sitalkuchi in the north to Sonarpur in South 24 Parganas — that left at least 14 people dead. While the BJP claimed seven of the victims were its supporters, the Trinamool counted six of the diseased as its workers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and inquired about the situation. BJP president J P Nadda met the families of the victims to express solidarity . BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that houses over 4,000 houses were ransacked and at least 100 shops were looted. The party also alleged that two of its booth agents were gang-raped, but there was no confirmation from the police. Trinamool spokesperson BJP national president J P Nadda meets kin of victims in Sonarpur | PTI Kunal Ghosh said in most of the cases, the deaths were a result of the BJP’s factionalism between old workers and turncoats. In Kolkata’s Kankurgachi, slain BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar’s mother alleged her son was beaten to death by Trinamool supporters. In Sitalkuchi, Manik Baidya, 19, was shot dead by alleged Trinamool supporters. The Trinamool alleged two of their supporters were beaten to death by BJP supporters in Jamalpur, East Burdwan, for P10 shouting Jay Bangla. THE Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the State government not to take into cognisance the report submitted by the Medak District Collector that former Medical and Health Minister Eatala Rajender had encroached 66 acres of assigned land in two villages of Masaipet mandal in the district, violating provisions of several Acts. The court gave the direction after a hearing on a petition filed by Eatala’s wife Jamuna and their son Nitin, representing Jamuna Hatcheries, to issue orders restraining the DGP , DG Vigilance and the Medak District Collector from taki n g c o e r c ive a c t i o n against them. The court also issued interim direction to the government to not intervene in the business activities of the company . The court said that by not giving an opportunity to Jamuna Hatcheries to be heard, the officials had given a go-by to the principle of natural justice. The court also found fault with officials for not issuing notices to the company before undertaking the survey of the land in the company’s possession. The petitioners pleaded that the survey done by the officials was illegal as no notices were served on them seeking their explanation. The officials, without their permission, had entered the premises of the factory and set up notice boards that the land belongs to the government. The High Court sought an ex- planation from the government as to why it had to get a survey done in a record time of two days and wondered if the officials sat in their car and completed the work. The court said any inquiry or survey has to be done in accordance with rules and disregard to them, to hurry the work, should be eschewed. They should not use back door methods to complete the work quickly the court said. , The court asked the officials to act responsibly and do their work by giving enough time to the petitioners to defend them- Min’s ouster to prompt KCR to reshuffle Cabinet? V V B A L A K R I S H N A @ Hyderabad IS a State Cabinet reshuffle on the cards? Or will Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao simply fill the lone vacancy in the Cabinet, created after the dismissal of Eatala Rajender? Speculation is rife that a new face or faces will be inducted in the Cabinet sooner than later. However, the chances of a com- plete reshuffle are remote, sources said. When Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister T Rajaiah was sacked from the Cab- inet in 2015, the Chief Minister had inducted Kadiam Srihari into the Cabinet and made the latter his deputy Rao had then . sacked a Scheduled Caste (SC) person and replaced the vacancy with another SC. This time too, the CM is likely to induct another Backward Caste (BC) in place of Rajender. However, there is no MLC or MLA who is from Mudiraj caste, unless the CM considers MP Banda Prakash Mudiraj, which is highly unlikely. Prakash was elected to the Rajya Sabha only three years ago and was the deputy leader of TRS in the Rajya Sabha, making his induction unlikely. It is to be seen if Rao considers Nomula Bhagath, also from the BC category, for a Cabinet berth. CONTINUED ON P2 selves. It ruled that the government should not take any action on the Collector’s report which was based on a survey done on May 1 and 2 said it wanted a detailed report submitted to it too. It also issued notices to the government. The advocate general sought a direction to the petitioner to cooperate with the government in doing the survey, to which the court replied that if they did not, there were procedures, in accordance with the law, that could be followed to obtain their cooperation. EXPRESS READ KCR recovers, tests negative for Covid-19 Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday tested negative for Covid-19 in both RAT and RTPCR tests. According to the CMO, Rao has fully recovered. Covid tests were conducted on the Chief Minister on Tuesday under the supervision of his personal doctor MV Rao.
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