Polls done and dusted, fuel gets pricey Fuel prices are creeping up though economic activity is sliding due to Covid second wave 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 coimbatore l wednesday l may 05, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION Petrol (`) 96.95 (+0.12) 92.55 (+0.12) 90.55 (+0.15) 90.76 (+0.14) 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 ■ Diesel (`) 87.98 (+0.17) 85.90 (+0.15) 80.91 (+0.18) 83.78 (+0.17) Stalin unanimously elected legislative party leader of DMK E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai DMK chief and Chief Minister-designate MK Stalin greeting the newly elected MLAs at Anna Arivalayam before the meeting on Tuesday | Express MK Stalin has been formally elected as DMK’s legislative party leader by its new MLAs, just ahead of forming the government. A meeting was convened at the DMK party headquarters on Tuesday evening, to choose the floor leader of the party -- who will eventually take charge as the Chief Minister of the State. A total of 133 MLAs took part in the meeting -- 125 from DMK, 4 from MDMK, 2 from MMK, and one each from KMDK and TVK. All of these legislators contested on DMK’s ‘Rising Sun’ symbol, and will be considered as DMK MLAs in the Assembly . DMK general secretary Duraimurugan proposed Stalin’s name for the party legislative leader post, at the meeting. He was then elected unanimously. Party sources said that Stalin would meet Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday, and stake claim to form the government. He will assume charge as Chief Minister on Friday, following a formal invitation from the Governor. Stalin, after being elected as a legislative leader of the party visited the mausoleums of former Chief Ministers CN Annadurai and M Karunanidhi and paid floral tributes to the departed leaders. Will take charge as Chief Minister on Friday Chennai: Stalin was unanimously elected for the party legislative leader post. He will assume charge as Chief MInister on Friday, following a formal invitation from the Governor Strictly implement the new restrictions: Stalin to officials Following the rise in cases, Stalin reviewed the measures and convened a meeting with Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan, DGP JK Tripathy, Health Secretary J Radhakrishan, Revenue secretary Atulya Misra, Finance Secretary S Krishnan and others authorities at his residence. He also urged IAS officers, deployed as monitoring officers to supervise the Covid-19 measures, return to their respective districts, and ensure that all medical facilities are provided to patients from the districts. He exhorted authorities to strictly implement new restrictions, which will come into force from Thursday. He asked the officials to ensure availability of beds, and medical oxygen facility to patients. Journalists are frontline workers: MK Stalin Chennai: Chief Minister-designate MK Stalin on Tuesday declared that journalists, including those in print, TV and radio, will be considered as frontline workers since they put their lives at risk while working, when the pandemic is at its peak. In a statement, Stalin highlighted the service of media on bringing out the news and generating awareness among the masses. Various media houses welcomed the decision 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 Chorus for lockdown grows louder that businesses and jobs can be revived but the same cannot be said for human lives. “The CenA day after CII president Uday tral government should take Kotak called for a national stringent steps and push peolockdown to break the chain of ple to stay at home. This will transmission of coronavirus, also bring some relief to the many corporate leaders came healthcare system and allow forward to support the idea them to treat people in dire saying it is alright to take an need,” he said. economic hit to save lives. HowAmerica’s top public health ever, health experts are divided expert and White House Chief over the effectiveness of such a Medical Adviser Dr Anthony move at this stage. Fauci, too, feels India must im“Saving lives is more impor- pose a nationwide lockdown tant than producing steel. Pro- for a few weeks. “It is quite obduction can suffer as long as vious to everyone that the situthe country is in need of any ation in India is extremely seriresource available with the ous,” he said in a recent company,” said Sajjan Jindal, interview to a news agency, managing director of adding India must foJSW Group, which Maha cases cus on mass vaccinasupplies liquid oxygen tion and setting up a coming to hospitals. large number of down Another corporate makeshift hospitals India’s worst leader, who did not on a war footing. Covid-hit state wish to be named, said However, healthcare Maharashtra India’s healthcare sysexperts in India are tem is stretched to its reported 51,880 not convinced of the limits. “At this point cases on Tuesday. need for lockdown The state has in time, saving lives is when the infection is been able to more important than already rampant and economic activities. bring down fresh considering the fact cases to a Suspending non-esthat the new variant manageable sential business activof coronavirus is airrange after it ities and a complete borne, making it more l o ck d ow n fo r t wo imposed a state- transmissible than wide lockdown weeks is the only way the earlier one. last month out,” he said. Dr Oommen John Calling for a balof the George Instianced approach, real estate ty- tute for Global Health India coon Niranjan Hiranandani pointed out that it will be difsaid, “A complete economic ficult to ensure that people stay lockdown will cast a dark shad- within their homes in densely ow on economy and lead to populated urban contexts. more fatalities due to increased “At the current stage of the unemployment.” pandemic, unrestricted access Rohit Poddar, MD, Poddar to diagnostic tests is critical,” Housing and Development Ltd, he said. too feels a lockdown will have Having faced widespread a drastic impact on the econo- criticism last year for imposmy “The need of the hour is to ing a nationwide lockdown . strike a balance between a full without warning, the Centre lockdown and allowing busi- this time is not in favour of ness operations to prevent a shutting down the economy On . downward trajectory of the April 8, Prime Minister Nareneconomy,” he said. dra Modi told states to manage Ashish Mishra, CEO of advi- the Covid situation without imsory firm, Unnault, explained posing a lockdown. P9 Delhi HC says it will not do an O2 ostrich EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi People waiting to refill oxygen at Babbar Gas Plant in Kanpur, UP on Tuesday | PTI NATIONWIDE 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 Take your shot May 4 16.5 lakh doses 11,49,009 doses Total: 16,04,18,105 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 sug g ested: “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 represented by senior advocate Rahul Mehra said. But when the Centre tried to dismiss it as rhetoric, the bench shot back: “How can you be so insensitive? Is this merely rhetoric? How can you say this? It’s highly unfortunate.” The Centre also informed the court that 12 oxygen tankers are on their way to Delhi, adding it will file a compliance affidavit in the SC. But the bench retorted, “We fail to understand what good a compliance affidavit will do when the required oxygen is not being brought to Delhi.” The bench also sought to know about the Centre’s plans to deploy the Army to deal with the acute Covid-19 crisis. “Nobody is doubting that you are doing everything. But sometimes you need to act on ideas that are being presented. If you’re not agreeable to deploying the Army, then please spell out the reasons,” the court told the Centre. Bed, O2 shortages mount in Southern states EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai/Bengaluru/T’Puram Three southern states on Tuesday reported a growing shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies, with Karnataka reporting more oxygendeprivation deaths. Several cases of Covid-19 deaths, allegedly, due to a lack of oxygen, were reported in many parts of Karnataka on Tuesday, though officials in two districts, Kalaburgi and Belagavi, denied the oxygen link. These deaths come on the heels of 24 fatalities caused by oxygen shortage in Chamarajanagar. Besides, the Kar nataka High Court gave the central government till Wednesday to take a call on increasing the state’s quota of remdesivir and oxygen, telling the Centre to keep aside the process of internal consultations and expedite its decision. Meanwhile, a new scam has been unearthed in Bengaluru, where officials are blocking beds for pay even as needy patients struggle for beds. In Tamil Nadu, too, the hospital situation is starting to worsen. Beds are nearly full in Chennai and Coimbatore, with people waiting for beds for over an hour in ambulances outside hospitals. In Kerala, ICU beds are nearly full at medical college hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. The Thiruvananthapuram MCH is also running out of oxygen supplies. IPL suspended after Covid-19 cases in bubble E xp r ess News S e r vice @ Chennai 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. And 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. But 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 for Covid-19 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. 14 killed in turf fight after Bengal verdict A shot in the arm: State gets close 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, including two women. 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 Kunal Ghosh said in most of the cases, the deaths were a result of the BJP’s factionalism between old workers and turncoats. “In some places, the BJP’s provocation triggered public anger,” he claimed. A worker of the Indian Secular Force, a partner of the Left Front, was killed in Bhangar, BJP national president J P Nadda meets kin of victims in Sonarpur | PTI South 24 Parganas. In Kolkata’s Kankurgachi, slain BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar’s mother alleged her son was beaten to death by Trinamool supporters. Shovarani Mondal, a woman in her mid-60s, was allegedly killed at Jagaddal in North 24 Parganas, when she tried to protect her BJP worker son from being dragged away. In Sitalkuchi, 19-year-old Manik Baidya was shot dead by alleged Trinamool supporters. The Trinamool alleged two of their supporters Saju Khan and Bivas Bag were beaten to death by BJP supporters in Jamalpur, East Burdwan, for shouting Jay Bangla. In Hooghly, Trinamool worker Debu Pramanik was hacked to death at his home. Another party man Ganesh Mandal was killed at Raina, East Burdwan. P10 to 1 lakh additional vaccine doses EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai Tamil Nadu received about 75,000 doses of Covaxin and as many as 20,000 doses of Covishield on Tuesday. The restocking comes in the wake of the State suffering a vaccine shortage and people not getting their second doses, especially those who took Covaxin for their first shot. Health department officials said that these doses will primarily be used for people wait- ing for their second dose and the State will not start vaccinating those above 18 just yet. “We have also regulated giving the first dose of Covaxin to people due to its limited supply Only second dose . is being given,” said a health department off i c i a l . M e a n wh i l e, more than 60 lakh people have been vaccinated in Tamil Nadu. In this, 23 lakh belong to people aged between 45 and 60, while 20 lakh belong to the 60-plus age category The remaining are front. line and healthcare workers. tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths may 3 may 4 20,952 21,228 18,016 19,112 122 144 8 vials of Remdesivir go missing in Madurai GRH Madurai: Mathichiyam police launched an inquiry after 8 vials (100 mg each) of Remdesivir went missing from Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai. According to a senior official, an unnamed contract employee was suspended and a memo was issued to the staff who were on duty during the incident | P4
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