bhubaneswar l monday l may 10, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l late CITY EDITION Speculation ends, Himanta biswa sarma to be Assam CM Helped bjp make inroads into northeast Sarma was elected as the leader of the Legislature Party after the outgoing CM Sarbananda Sonowal proposed his name Strategist rewarded for results Sarma (52) would take the oath of office on Monday. He was the convener of the North-East Democratic Alliance, a BJP-led front of anti-Congress parties, and Number 2 to Sonowal since 2016. Under his stewardship, the BJP made inroads into the Northeast and became the second party to form successive governments in Assam after its victory in 2021 Assembly election ■ He established himself as BJP’s chief strategist in Northeast after snatching power from right under the Congress’ nose in Manipur ■ Along with Sonowal, Sarma was a contender for the top job in Assam. His elevation is seen as recognition of his work and skills ■ The NEDA had won 75 seats in the recent polls | P8 6 yrs Since Sarma quit the tarun gogoi-led congress in 2015 and joined the BJP 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 second dose delay Around 49,000 tests done on Saturday against nearly 51,000 a day before Cases drop as testing dips in Odisha Uneasy wait for those due for jab E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Even as Odisha continued to report over 10,000 cases a day for the fourth consecutive day, a distinct failure to increase testing, particularly in the western districts where the test positivity rate (TPR) is alarmingly high, has posed serious concern. The number of new cases dropped from 11,807 to 10,635 in last 24 hours as testing dipped across the districts. The State had conducted 48,757 tests including 17,946 through RT-PCR during the period against 50,864 including 20,365 RT-PCR tests on Saturday. The TPR, however, stood at 21.8 per cent (pc) as compared to 23.2 pc a day before. Ten districts have higher TPR than the State average with Sambalpur topping the chart with 50.7 pc followed by Kalahandi at 43.8 pc, Bargarh at 32 pc, Angul at 34.7 pc, Sundargarh at 29 pc, Puri at 27.8 pc, Jharsuguda at 26.5 pc and Cuttack at 24.3 pc. As per the weekly positivity rate from May 2 to 8, the TPR in 18 districts of the State is above 20 pc. The high positivity rate in many districts, notwithstanding, the State government has failed to ramp up testing as recommended by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). While the Ministry has been insisting on increasing RT-PCR level up to 70 pc of the overall testing, the ICMR has suggested to introduce mobile systems to augment RT-PCR testing and accelerate rapid antigen tests. Recommending measures to optimise RT-PCR testing, the ICMR has asked not to repeat the test in any individual already found positive. NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Jab-o-meter MAY 8 MAY 9 4,01,078 4,03,738 3,18,609 3,86,444 4,187 4,092 May 8 18,93,258 doses Take your May 9 shot 6,71,646 doses Total: 17,01,53,432 ODISHA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 8 11,807 7,664 21 MAY 9 10,635 8,541 19 It has directed to set up dedicated RAT booths in cities, towns and villages and introduce drivethrough RAT testing facilities. The booths to be set up at multiple locations including healthcare facilities, housing complexes, offices, schools, colleges, community centres and other available vacant spaces will be operational on a 24X7 basis to improve access and availability Present tense for Bhopal twins I n a dilapidated double storey house in Budhwara, a thickly populated lower middle class area of Old Bhopal, twin girls aged five suddenly start wailing and ask for their parents. “Where is our papa and mummy, when will they return, have they gone to God?” they ask. Family members immediately rush in, consoling the twins that things will be fine and their parents are likely to return soon. But return they will not as Mohan and Rita Barve, the girl’s parents, fell prey to Covid-19 in quick succession. “We have to lie to my nieces everyday when they ask us about their parents. I don’t know how long we will able to hide the truth that their parents will never return,” said Mankesh Raikwar, the twins’ maternal uncle who has taken the responsibility of taking care of the girls. “Along with their parents, they had also tested Covid positive, but they are fine now,” he added. Mohan, 42, was an electrician with a semi-government herbal products plant in Bhopal’s Barkheda Pathani area. Sometime last month he started getting fever, but instead of getting himself tested for E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar As the State struggles with an acute shortage of vaccines and there is no certainty on adequate availability in the coming days, a sense of fear and unease has begun to grip those who are due for their second dose. Most are worried about their vaccination status if they fail to get their shot within the stipulated gap. According to the revised advisory issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the second dose of Covishield should be administered at an interval of four to eight weeks instead of the earlier bracket of four to six weeks and Covaxin to be administered in a gap of 28 to 41 days. Since the State government is not forthcoming on the availability of Covishield, thousands of beneficiaries are apprehensive of missing their shot. Neither the Centre nor the State government has yet issued any statement on the implications of delayed inoculation with the second jab, beyond the prescribed gap period. “I tried my best for the second dose vaccination of my mother and father in Khurda, but failed even after visiting nearby centre for the last 12 days. Covishield is not available in our area. Finally , I gave up and booked slots at a centre in Cuttack district. But there too, it has been cancelled,” said Malaya Mohanty an assist, ant professor at a private university Earlier, in his letter to states, . Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said the protection is enhanced if the second dose of Covishield is administered between six and eight weeks but not later than stipulated period of eight weeks. Like Mohanty, many are in a dilemma whether they can get their second shot within eight weeks of their first shot and what if the CoWIN portal does not allow booking of slots after the period is over. “The portal crashes frequently due to heavy traffic. Nobody knows how it will function once the prescribed interval between two doses is over. The government should come out with a clarification or else it would lead to chaos with people thronging the vaccination centres in large numbers,” said Bimalendu Das, a city resident. Health experts, however, clarified that there is no issue if people miss their second shot in 56 days. Principal investigator in Covaxin human trial Dr E Venkata Rao said it is in fact better to get the second dose after 12 weeks. “It will give better protection,” he claimed. Vaccination for 18 plus in 4 cities from tomorrow The Phase III vaccination drive for the 18 to 44 years group will be rolled out in four cities on Tuesday. The Health department has dispatched 32,800 doses of Covishield to Cuttack, 19,000 doses to Berhampur, 20,900 doses to Sambalpur and 27,300 doses to Rourkela. Worry as Covid kills many in AMU faculty Double whammy An u r a a g S i n g h @ Bhopal of testing. Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra said the decision has been taken to ramp up testing up to 75,000 a day with around 40 pc RT-PCR tests. “We are unable to conduct more RATs due to shortage of kits. We have urged the Centre to make provisions for more testing kits,” he said. Of the 10,635 new cases, 6,012 were in quarantine and the rest detected during contact tracing. Khurda district recorded the highest 1,564 cases followed by Sundargarh (943) and Cuttack (887). The disease has claimed 19 lives including three each from Khurda and Kalahandi, one each from Angul, Balangir, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Gajapati, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Puri, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Sonepur and Sundargarh districts. Of the 5,34,842 cases, 4,47,863 have recovered and 2,180 succumbed. The active cases stood at 84,746. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e 43 dead, claim social media @ New Delhi Covid, he continued to take rickshaw driver, Raikwar has medicines from a personal not earned a penny in the past doctor. 1 5 d ay s o w i n g t o t h e His condition suddenly lockdown. worsened on April 28 and he “I have already borrowed had shortness of breath. Raik- `40,000 and will have to borwar rushed him to the state row more to take care of four gover nment-run Hamidia kids now. My two other sisHospital, where he was put on ters, who live in Bhopal and oxygen support. Burhanpur, are But two days later willing to take despite the best care of the twin efforts of doctors, nieces, but my Mohan suc75-year-old mothcumbed to the er doesn’t want to infection. leave her grandBy the time Modaughters,” he han was hospitalsaid. “Neither my ised, his wife Rita sister nor my and the twin b ro t h e r- i n - l aw part-1 daughters, too, would have ever had tested posithought they NCPCR seized tive. Five days would de par t of the matter later on May 3, from this world On May 2, National Rita, who was bein a matter of Commission for ing treated in isodays. But we will Protection of Child lation at her partake care of their Rights drew the ents’ old home, daughters as long attention of all states also died. “I had as we can.” Raikto children orphaned gone to immerse war added. Mohan’s ashes in due to Covid-19, saying The twins are the river Narma- those abandoned or in not the only chilneed of care must be da in the neighdren who have produced before Child bouring Hoshangbeen orphaned in Welfare Committees abad district on the current Covid May 3. While resurge. More cases turning home I got a call that of both parents dying of Covmy sister Rita had also passed id are surfacing, leaving beaway said Raikwar. ,” hind dependent children. But the future is tense for There are anecdotal reports Raikwar’s family of four and of some of them even being the twins as they are living on abandoned and left to fend for borrowed money. An auto- themselves. Continued on: P7 The deaths of at least 16 serving and 18 retired teachers, besides other staff of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), due to Covid-19 in the past 18 days have triggered an alarm, with the Vice-Chancellor on Sunday urging the ICMR to study the infection variant on the campus. In a letter to the ICMR, ViceChancellor Tariq Mansoor said “a particular variant may be The university PRO said a list of deceased being circulated on social media includes the names of faculty members residing outside Aligarh. The list claims 43 AMU profs have succumbed circulating in areas around the AMU campus and surrounding localities, which has led to these deaths”. The latest to fall to the virus was the dean of the AMU’s law faculty, Prof Shakeel Samdani, who died at Aligarh’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College on Friday . Mansoor said the microbiology lab at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College would send samples to the Institute of Genomic and Integrated Biology, New Delhi, for genome sequencing of the variants detected in the town. Meanwhile, the medical college Principal Shahid Ali Siddiqui told media that 25 doctors at the hospital had tested positive for the infection in the past fortnight. According to the V-C, three doctors were under treatment, while others had recovered. Meanwhile, the college principal claimed the hospital was battling oxygen shortage and was dependent on its three plants. The hospital has not received a single oxygen cylinder from outside in the past 12 days despite continuous efforts, he Continued on: P8 said. express read Centre allocates `334 cr for fight against Covid Bhubaneswar :The State government has received `333.8 crore from the Centre as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission. However, because of the raging pandemic in the State, the funds will be utilised to fight against Covid-19 at panchayat level | P3 SOP for handling bodies of Covid patients Cuttack: After receiving severe criticism from different quarters over delay in shifting bodies of deceased Covid patients, the CMC has come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) for handling claimed and unclaimed bodies in the city | P2 WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) Lunchtime A roadside vendor cooking a meal on a footpath at Samantarapur Square during weekend shutdown in Bhubaneswar | Express Biswakarma falls silent Odisha’s doyen of sculpture Raghunath Mohapatra succumbs to Covid D i a n a S a h u @ Bhubaneswar IN the last seven decades of his journey with stones, Odisha’s legendary sculptor and Rajya Sabha member Raghunath Mohapatra, with his distinct style of carving, decorated the State’s cultural landscape with masterpieces that are difficult to replicate today . A pioneering figure in the world of sculpture and a Padma Vibhusan awardee - second highest civilian honour after the Bharat Ratna - the 78-yearold icon was bor n into a Biswakarma family in Puri’s Pathuria Sahi. As a young boy who feared going to school, he dropped out in Class III to carry forward his family’s legacy His . initial training in sculpting began at the age of eight under his grandfather Aparti Mohapatra, a sculptor who worked with the royal family of Puri for upkeep of Shri Jagannath Temple. Although he did not have any formal training in sculpture, Mohapatra was an encyclopedia on Shilpa Sastra and began sculpting idols based on religious Hindu iconography from an early age. His passion for stone sculpting was a strong one which remained unwavering till his last breath. What made his craft unique is Mohapatra never took the help of machines and the only tools he used were a chisel and a hammer. In the 1960s when he was only 20, Mohapatra carved stone idols of deities and devadasis and sold them on the streets of Pathuria Sahi. The beauty of his craft came to the notice of officials of Handicraft Training and Designing Centre at Bhubaneswar and they offered him a trainer’s job in the institute. Here, he went on to become a senior instructor, a master craftsman and superintendent of the institute. A decade after, he won the prestigious Padma Shri in 1974 for creating a six-feet-tall grey stone statue of Sun god which is displayed at the Central Hall of Parliament. Twenty-seven years later in 2001, Mohapatra was honoured with the Padma Bhushan. And in 2013, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his contribution towards enriching the field of stone sculpting. In the period between, the legendary craftsman went on to create several masterpieces like Buddha statues in white sandstone at Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa, Konark horses at the Barabati Stadium and Master Canteen, Mukteswar Gate at Surajkund and a gigantic lotus at Rajiv Gandhi’s samadhi at Vir Bhumi, both in New Delhi besides, Buddha statues in monasteries at Ladakh, Japan and Paris. Within Odisha, one of his most ambitious works was the Tara Tarini temple in Ganjam district which he built as per the ancient Kalinga temple architecture style. Mohapatra also built Jagannath temples at Nigeria, Bangalore, Balasore, a Laxmi temple in Visakhapatnam and a Sai temple in Jharsuguda. Even after being nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2018, Mohapatra continued to mentor budding sculptors who can now take care of Odisha’s temple legacy. In his lifetime, he trained thousands of youths from within Odisha and other states in traditional sculpting and temple designing at his workshop at Sisupalg arh square on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. He dreamt of building another Sun temple. In 2018, he had laid the foundation stone for his dream project - an ‘Adityanarayan’ temple - near Satyabadi along Puri-Bhubaneswar Highway. The temple, he had said, would resemble the Sun temple at Konark. He, however, could never begin work on making the dream a reality . As the news of his death due to Covid-19 spread on Sunday evening, leaders across the country including the Prime Minister and Chief Minister, artists and art lovers from across the nation paid tributes to the sculptor.
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