chennai l tuesday l may 11, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l vellore EDITION Nepal Prime Minister Oli loses vote of confidence Needing 136 votes to win the motion in a 275-member House of Representatives, KPS Oli could muster support of only 93 culmination of long-drawn power tussle The result means Oli’s premiership ends with immediate effect. Monday’s voting was the culmination of a tussle between Prachanda and Oli for NCP’s control. Matters came to a head in December last when Oli dissolved the House, claiming Prachanda was attempting to run a parallel government. On May 6, Prachanda walked out, leaving Oli at the helm of a minority govt ■ 28 Prachanda to ally with opposition ■ The Prachanda faction is likely to join hands with Nepali Congress and other parties to form a coalition government at the earliest The alliance between Oli-led CPN (UML) and Prachanda’s CPN (Maoist Centre) had won a majority in the 2017 elections. After their victory, the two parties had formally merged in May 2018 P9 members of oli’s Party abstained during the voting 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 EPS elected legislature party leader of AIADMK express news service @ Chennai AFTER the heated discussions that lasted three hours at the AIADMK headquarters on Monday former Chief Minister , Edappadi K Palaniswami was elected the legislature party leader. He will eventually become the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly. While the majority of MLAs supported Palaniswami, a few stood in support of former deputy CM O Panneerselvam. An AIADMK release said Palaniswami has been elected unanimously by the new MLAs. However, perhaps for the first time, the leader of AIADMK legislature party has been announced after prolonged discussions within the party The . first meeting ended without electing the leader on May 7. The party is yet to announce its deputy leader and Whip in the State Assembly . p2 Vax strategy equitable, little room for judicial independence: Centre Says any overzealous intervention could squeeze room for innovative solutions on the go CoWIN platform helps tracking Centre justifies online registration on the CoWIN platform, saying it allows govt to track those who have received one dose and send them reminders for their second dose. Also, the database would strengthen the Centre’s ability to undertake macro-health planning in future Door-to-door vaccination was impossible due to logistical requirements. For example, the 30-minute observation window during at-home vaccination would needlessly tie up the healthcare worker Three-tier health infra to manage cases - Covid care centres for mild cases, Covid health centres for moderate cases and Covid hospitals for severe cases. For admission to a Covid health facility, positive RT-PCR or rapid antigen test report is not required Express News Service @ New Delhi The Centre put up a stout defence of its Covid-19 vaccine policy before the Supreme Court and asked it not to interfere, claiming the ‘wisdom of the Executive should be trusted’ in times of grave crisis. In its 218-page affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Sunday night, the Centre addressed the bench’s queries on handling the crisis in great detail. “In the context of a global pandemic, where response and strategy of the nation is completely driven by expert medical and scientific opinion, there is little room for judicial interference. Any overzealous, though well-meaning, judicial intervention may lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences, in absence of any expert advice or administrative experience, leaving doctors, scientists, experts and executive very little room to find innovative solutions on the go,” the Centre said. However, a three-judge bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat could not continue its hearing on the suo motu case because of technical glitches and the matter was put off till Thursday . Elaborating on the vaccine drive, the Centre said it is the biggest ever and completely different from the immunisation drives of the previous decades. Also, unlike the vaccination campaigns of the past, the Covid-19 immunisation drive did not have the luxury of time. “Earlier, there had been no requirement of an emergency vaccination drive like the sudden emerging situation since 2019 onwards. Secondly, scientists in the field of medicine and vaccination had enough time to develop the vaccine and thereafter, there was enough The executive functioning of the government needs discretion to formulate policy in larger interest - Centre’s affidavit BJP-ruled states join free dose chorus, govt to assess fiscal viability of vaccines. The finance ministry is going to reassess the fisAs the chorus for free Covid cal viability and will hold a vaccine doses for states grows meeting in a day or two after louder with even BJP-governed consultation with the health states raising the demand, the ministry the PMO and the Niti , finance ministry is looking at Aayog,” said the senior official whether such a move is fiscally cited above. feasible. Not just states, even econoAccording to highly placed mists are questioning the difsources, apart from Odisha, ferential pricing policy which West Bengal and Kerathey say creates supla, NDA-ruled Madhya ply side bottlenecks. `35,000 cr Pradesh and Bihar, They say India could vax spend too, have urged the have used its `35,000 Provisioning Prime Minister’s Ofcrore vaccine fund `35,000 crore fice to tweak the vaccreated during Budget expenditure for cination policy to for FY22 to vaccinate vaccines in the make the jabs availaa l l . H oweve r, t h e FY22 Budget ble to states for free. amount of `35,000 under the title A senior official in crore has been repack‘Transfers to the finance ministry aged under the Detold TNIE that states States’ does not mand for Grants to have questioned the inhibit the Centre states in the Budget. from using the logic behind the CenMeanwhile, the fifunds to buy tre forcing them to arnance ministry has reCovid-19 shots, range for vaccines on futed criticism from a the finance their own or import section of economists ministry said them at a higher rate. that there is no provi“Many states have sion for expenditure informed the PMO that despite on Covid-19 by the Central govplacing orders, the process is er nment. “The amount of slower than expected. Also, `35,000 crore has been shown there is a lot of pressure for a under the Demand for Grants rethink over the “transfer of No. 40, titled ‘Transfers to grant” and differential pricing States’,” it said. Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths May 9 6,71,646 doses Take your May 10 shot 24,30,017 doses Total: 17,26,33,761 h a r i s h m u r a l i @ Chennai The Madras High Court on Monday sought a twin-pronged approach to tackle the Covid menace. While directing the Centre to ensure that Tamil Nadu’s needs are attended to, until the Supreme Court-appointed National Task Force commences its work, it also pushed the State government to think of a ‘plan B’. Stressing on the need for a plan B in the wake of the severe crisis, the first Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy not, ed: “Considering the present allocation of medical oxygen and the rising need of the State, it is necessary to think of a plan ‘B’. Oxygen generators have apparently been set up by the Defence Research and Development Organisation at short notice at some places. If, as the experts suggest, a third wave may be in the offing, it is necessary to be over-prepared and not require the resources being put to use, rather than being unprepared and rue for not having garnered additional resources.” The first Bench made these observations while passing directions on the suo motu plea on Covid-19 management in the State. Observing that oxygen is the need of the hour and immediate measures to augment its supply to the State has to be taken, the Court, in its order, said, “ In view of the comprehensive directions, including the rational and equitable distribution of oxygen, CM urges Centre to provide more vials Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday urged the Centre to allocate at least 20,000 Remdesivir vials per day to the State to meet the requirements of government and private hospitals. He said that the present allocation of 7,000 vials per day is insufficient tamil nadu MAY 9 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 10 28,897 28,978 23,515 20,904 236 232 vaccines and drugs, it is for the National Task Force to come out with plans and allocations. However, till such time that the National Task Force announces the allocations in consultation with local officials, it is the Union government which is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the continuous supply of oxygen, vaccines and drugs to the States and UTs.” The Bench adjourned the plea to Wednesday for the Union government to file a detailed report on oxygen allocation and availability of drugs. P4 Dozens of decaying bodies spotted on the Ganga add to Bihar’s worries R a j e s h K u m a r T h a k u r @ Patna to go back home As the city went into complete lockdown on Monday, migrant workers thronged Central Railway Station to catch a train back home | DEBADATTA MALLICK ‘Oxygen Pandal’ in Tiruppur helps Covid patients breathe easy AN 80-year-old woman Covid patient in Tiruppur, whose oxygen levels plummeted on Sunday evening, was left gasping for breath as her family members frantically called up all the hospitals in the textile town for a bed. The response they got from various hospitals was the same that many patients across the country have been getting: “No bed!” Just then, one of her relatives got to know about an MAY 10 4,03,738 3,66,161 3,86,444 3,53,818 4,092 3,754 Jab-o-meter life-saver “Oxygen Pandal” in the town and immediately called up the facility at 1.50 am. “Within 10 minutes, they arranged for a bed and she began to receive oxygen at the pandal. In the morning, we shifted her to a private medical facility in Tiruppur city her rela,” tive said. The Oxygen Pandal, on the lines of Oxygen Langar that has been running in many Gurudwaras in the country, is MAY 9 NATIONWIDE A n u r a d h a S h u k l a @ New Delhi S a r a v a n a n MP @ Tiruppur time to manufacture, distribute and administer the vaccines,” the affidavit read while assuring that there is equitable allocation of vaccines to states based on their population size. On pricing, the Centre said, “Citizens would not be affected by the pricing as all the state governments have already declared that they would administer the vaccines free of cost.” As for citizens who can afford to pay, the Centre said it encourages them to take their jabs at private hospitals, as this would reduce the operational stress on the government vaccination facilities. On the money it gave to vaccine producers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, the Centre said it was not an i nve s t m e n t b u t a dv a n c e payment. Centre has to ensure TN’s needs are met to tackle Covid-19: HC the joint effort of a nursing home and an NGO for Covid patients in Tiruppur city. The pandal gives Covid patients emergency oxygen support for free, while their relatives scout for a hospital with a vacant oxygen bed. “In order to mitigate the rampant rush for oxygen facilities, we had installed a liquid oxygen plant in our hospital,” Sakthi Nursing Home CEO Dr S Sakhtivel told Express. P4 Dozens of bodies, in various stages of decay, of suspected Covid-19 victims were spotted in the Ganges at Chausa block of Bihar’s Buxar district on Monday morning, sparking a scare. While the locals said such sights were frequent ever since officials started dumping bodies into the river after running out of firewood at the crematoriums, authorities claimed the bodies had flowed into the state from upstream Uttar Pradesh. The Ganges flows into Chausa from the adjoining Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh. After the bodies were retrieved from the shallow waters and sandy banks, Buxar DM Aman Samir ordered an inquest and said that the expens- Cases surged from 16 to 1,216 in one month As per official estimates, Buxar has registered a huge uptick in the number of Covid patients during the second wave. The number of positive cases was 16 on March 31 and it jumped to 1,216 on May 8. It registered 26 deaths in the period es of Covid-appropriate cremations would be borne by the state. While the locals claimed that 40-45 bodies were spotted, the DM pegged the numbers at 30-35. “These bodies are not of the people from Buxar. It has come from upstream Ganges,” Samir told media. Locals said that spotting carrion birds and stray dogs eating half-burnt, bloated bodies had become common in Chausa. “Everyday bodies of Covid Sputnik V ready for rollout, will be available in pvt and govt facilities SUMI SUKANYA DUTTA @ New Delhi Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V will be available at both government and private facilities within the next few days, TNIE has learnt. This could boost India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, which has failed to gather pace due to an acute shortage of Covishield and Covaxin. Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Labs, which conducted Sputnik V’s clinical trials, has the rights to supply 12.5 crore doses of the vaccine. The firm received the first lot of 1.5 lakh doses on May 1. “The rollout of the consignment will be subject to the necessary clearances, which will be processed over the next few days,” Deepak Sapra, CEO (API and services) at Dr Reddy’s told TNIE. The clearances include testing at the Central Drugs Laboratory at Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. Sapra said the initial quantity will be used as a pilot to test the robustness of the supply chain for the larger vaccination program rollout. “Subsequent consignments will arrive in the next few weeks,” he added. Three other companies in India have tied up with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Sputnik V’s sponsor, for local production. The Russian embassy said the target is 85 crore doses per year. patients, either half-burnt or wrapped in plastic, are dumped into the river as there is a shortage of firewood at local crematoriums,” a local said. Chausa and Chitravans are two major cremation grounds in Buxar. However, the authorities refuted the allegations, saying the local crematoriums had abundant stock of firewood and bodies were being cremated as per prescribed guidelines at Chausa ghats. Buxar SDO KK Upadhayay later told media that the bodies had flowed into the state from faraway places. Meanwhile, health experts like Dr Rajiv Ranjan and Dr Madhusudan from Patna said such unceremonious disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims may lead to the spread of infection among humans and animals, too. express read Indian mutant classified as ‘variant of concern’ Geneva: The World Health Organization on Monday said it was reclassifying the highly contagious triple-mutant Covid variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern” at the global level. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said the agency will provide more details in its Situation Report on Tuesday but added the variant, known as B.1.617, has been found in preliminary studies to spread easier than the original virus and that there is evidence it may able to evade vaccines. “Even though there is increased transmissibility, we need more information. So we need targeted sequencing to be done,” she said | P12
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