COIMBATORE FRIDAY JUNE 04, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION ‘GAUTAM GAMBHIR FOUNDATION HOARDED COVID DRUG FABIFLU’ Delhi govt’s drug controller told the Delhi HC that the Foundation bought and distributed the Covid medicine without a licence CAUSED INCONVENIENCE TO PATIENTS: DELHI HC AAP MLA, TOO, GUILTY OF SIMILAR OFFENCE The HC was hearing a PIL alleging politicians procure huge quantities of Covid drugs even as patients were running from pillar to post to get them. The bench noted that while the BJP MP did a lot of charity, he also caused inconvenience to patients. The HC directed that action be taken against the Foundation as well as others who made unauthorised sales ■ ■ The court, however, ordered that no action be taken against those purchasing drugs on the black market out of desperation AAP MLA Praveen Kumar has also been found guilty for similar offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and action will be taken against him, the court was informed 2,628 STRIPS OF FABIFLU WERE BOUGHT USING A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION 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 Services activity contracts to 8-month low in May EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi ACTIVITY in India’s services sector, which contributes the most to the country’s economy , slipped into the negative territory in May as reintroduction of Covid restrictions across the country dented demand, a monthly survey said on Thursday The dismal performance of . the services sector, the worst in eight months, was accentuated by a drastic fall in new business orders, which forced companies to cut jobs at the fastest pace since October. The Nikkei/IHS Markit Serv- ices Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to an eight-month low of 46.4 in May from 54.0 in April, sliding below the 50-level by a big margin. An index below 50 means contraction. High demand for MGNREGA work Demand for work under the rural job scheme has shot up in the past two months, data from the MGNREGA portal show. In March, 3.36 crore people opted for rural work; this zoomed to 3.52 crore in May and 3.61 cr in April | P10 Despite active Covid cases falling, localised lockdowns in many states have kept the services activities low. “While PMI data released at the start of the month showed that the manufacturing industry managed to keep its head above water in May the servic, es sector struggled as the pandemic escalated,” noted Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit. “The intensification of the Covid-19 crisis and associated restrictions suppressed domestic and international demand for Indian services,” she added. The survey highlighted that the overall demand contracted at the sharpest rate since August with foreign demand shrinking at the fastest pace since November. A disturbing finding of the survey was that services companies are pessimistic about this quarter’s growth prospects as many firms intensified job cuttings. Decline in business expectation, according to the survey, may force firms to cut jobs further in the coming months. Last year also, the services sector had pushed thousands of people out of work. SC quashes sedition case against Dua EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a sedition case against senior journalist Vinod Dua filed in Himachal Pradesh, saying a citizen has a right to criticise or comment upon measures taken by a government and its functionaries so long as he does not incite people to indulge in violence or create public disorder. The verdict comes days after another SC bench decided to examine the interpretation of sedition law, particularly on media rights and free speech. S e d i t i o n ch a r g e s we re slapped on Dua last year following his talk show criticising the Modi government’s handling of the Covid lockdown. But a bench led by Justice U U Lalit noted that Dua’s statements could at best be termed as disapprobation of actions of the government so as to get the situation addressed quickly . “They were certainly not made with the intent to incite people... The petitioner was within the permissible limits laid down in the decision of this court in Kedar Nath Singh. It may be that certain factual details...were not completely correct. However, considering the drift of the entire talk show and all the statements put together it cannot be said that the petitioner crossed the limits set out in the decision of this court in Kedar Nath Singh,” the P7 bench said. COVID AND DISTRICT-WISE DYNAMICS IN TN A report that talks about finding the asynchrony in the timing of the momentum peak, the numerical peak and the active cases peak in different districts | P4 IN LOVING MEMORY Chief Minister MK Stalin pays tribute to M Karunanidhi on his 98th birth anniversary in Chennai on Thursday | R SATISH BABU ADVANCE PAYMENT TO BLOCK 30 CR BIOLOGICAL E VAX DOSES EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre on Thursday announced advance payment of `1,500 crore to Hyderabadbased vaccine maker Biological E for procuring its Covid vaccine, still under phase 3 clinical trials, marking its first such jab deal. The government had entered into purchase agreements with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech only after their shots had received regulatory approvals. The advance payment is to secure 30 crore doses of the vaccine candidate, which is a foreign construct, being produced in India. The candidate consists of JUNE 2 NATIONWIDE JUNE 3 1,32,788 1,34,154 2,31,456 2,11,499 3,207 2,887 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths June 2 TAKE 22,45,112 doses YOUR June 3 SHOT 26,24,971 doses TOTAL DOSES: 22,37,27,632 JAB-O-METER TAMIL NADU Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JUNE 2 25,317 32,263 483 an antigen developed by Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development, inlicensed from BCM Ventures, Baylor College of Medicine’s integrated commercialization team, along with Dynavax Technologies — all in the US. The Centre said the vaccine candidate is currently undergoing phase 3 clinical trials after showing promising results in phases 1 and 2, whose details are yet to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The vaccine, based on RBD protein subunit — had been tested in about 360 people between November and April in early-stage trials and has got approvals for latestage trials in 1,268 volunteers in the 18-80 age group. JUNE 3 24,405 32,221 460 Wait for a few months It is not yet fully clear whether phase 3 trials have started in India. Biological E’s proposal was accepted after due diligence by a national expert group. The vaccine is likely to be available in a few months EXPRESS READ Mettur dam to be opened on June 12 Chennai: The Mettur dam will be opened for irrigation on the traditional date of June 12 for the second consecutive year. The government took the decision based on the satisfactory water level in the dam and the forecast that the southwest monsoon would be normal. “Around 5.21 lakh acres of land would receive water,” said an official release | P2 DECISION SOON? TN, Bharat Biotech discuss vax unit set up C S H I V A K U M A R @ Chennai AMID shortage of vaccines, the State government has started the process to woo manufacturers to set up their units in Tamil Nadu. Currently, talks are being held with Bharat Biotech, the indigenous manufacturer of Covaxin, to take over the Integrated Vaccine Complex at Chengalpattu. Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday held a consultation with representatives of Bharat Biotech, led by Suchitra Ella, Co-Founder and Joint MD of the firm, along with its Executive Director, Sai Prasad, and other State government officials. This discussion comes in the wake of the State reaching out to the Centre to operationalise the unit. “Bharat Biotech’s executives will be visiting the Chengalpattu complex on Friday We have . extended support to them,” said the official. Meanwhile, sources also added that the State government will also offer all possible help if the Union government offers it to Bharat Biotech. “They have not seen the facility Once they visit . the site, a decision is likely to be taken by Saturday or Sunday said the official. ,” The Chief Minister had written a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, emphasising an urgency. “I wish to highlight to you the urgency of the moment, given the need for immediate commencement of production. Irrespective of whether it is the Union or the State, which is to find the partner to operationalise it, the need is to ensure there is absolutely no delay in the process,” the letter had said. No buzz The Integrated Vaccine Complex, which can produce one billion doses annually, has been lying unused for years after it was built on a sprawling 100acre land, under the Universal Immunisation Programme Chennai to get new super speciality hospital soon `250-crore worth hospital is to come up at King Institute, Guindy; Sources say process may start only after Covid cases decrease T MURUGANANDHAM, O M J A S V I N M D @ Chennai THE State gover nment on Thursday announced that it would establish a new `250crore worth multi-purpose super speciality hospital for south Chennai at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine & Research, Guindy, to mark the birth anniversary of for mer Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. According to official sources at the health department, the King Institute is currently functioning as an exclusive Covid hospital. Only after the cases decrease, steps may be taken to add additional departments and specialities. “It is a long process. After Covid cases reduce, we will get a clarity on how this will take shape as a multi-speciality hospital,” said sources. Presently, an exclusive 525bed Covid facility is functioning out of the campus. Apart from this, the institute also processes RT-PCR test samples. The facility was established by former Chief Minister Edap- OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS A library in memory of Karunanidhi in Madurai Ilakkiya Maamani award to be instituted in Karunanidhi’s name A house for award-winning writers in districts they choose Paddy godowns to be set up at regulated market across TN Free bus travel extended to transpersons, differently-abled padi K Palaniswami during the first wave of the pandemic. The move has however, given rise to speculation in some quarters that the super speciality hospital at Government Omandurar Estate, located in the northern part of the city, may be restored to its original status as the State Assembly cum Secretariat complex. However, senior officials in the State government said so far, there is no hint about this and that it is unlikely in the present situation. When asked about the possibility of restoring the Assembly hall and secretariat complex at the Omandurar estate, a senior official told Express, “As of now, there is no hint on this proposal. Since the new Assembly hall cum secretariat complex is a pet project of late CM M Karunanidhi, who took extraordinary interest in its building, it would remain a historical place for the present ruling party So, perhaps after . the pandemic subsides and after steps for building the new super speciality hospital at Guindy gains momentum, the issue may come up.” The complex was built in 2010 to mark Karunanidhi’s completion of 50 years as a legislator. The former CM had taken personal interest in the construction of this complex and got it inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on March 13, 2010. P2
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