HYDERABAD MONDAY JUNE 07, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION DELTA VARIANT IS 40% MORE INFECTIOUS THAN ALPHA: UK British authorities said the Delta strain is 40% more virulent and leads to twice the number of hospitalisations than Alpha DATA SHOWS VACCINATED ARE PROTECTED CABINET TO DECIDE ON UNLOCK ON JUNE 14 While Delta was first found in India, Alpha preceded it and was detected in UK initially. Health secretary Matt Hancock said of the 9,427 cases in hospital due to Delta in the last two days, only seven (0.07%) were from the fully vaccinated group. However, Britain’s former health advisor Neil Ferguson pegged the Delta strain’s virulence at 60% higher than Alpha ■ ■ ■ Amid an intensified vaccination drive, the Delta variant would figure on top of the June 14 Cabinet meeting to decide on unlock The Alpha variant was estimated to be 40-80% more infectious than the Covid samples collected in November last year Britain’s R-rate, or rate of infection, has risen over the past week >50% OF ENGLAND’S POPULATION HAS BEEN FULLY VACCINATED 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 Twitter will not lose legal cover, contend experts Say consequences of it losing intermediary status may not be visible for quite some time K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi summons to Twitter to stand trial, as police investigations do AMID the ongoing face-off be- not happen in criminal defamatween the Centre and social me- tion cases. So, Twitter losing dia platforms, legal experts intermediary status only plays opined that the latter would not out slowly and the consequencbe liable directly for messages es may not be visible for quite posted by users on their web- some time.” sites, in view of Section 79 of Domain expert and lawyer the Information and Technolo- Akur Raheja said, “Though the gy Act, 2000. government is right now conMicroblogging site Twitcentrating on giant social ter was on Saturday media companies only, served a final notice to the scope of new intercomply with the new IT mediary guidelines is rules that mandate the wide enough to bring in platform to appoint Inits preview many SMEs dia-based compliance as well like domain/ and grievance officers hosting or other small As the law among other clauses, online companies. stands failing which it will Many of them could be Section 79 of the unaware of the comface consequences. IT Act protects But Supreme Court pliance requirements advocate K V Dhanan- intermediaries if right now.” jay said, “If we assume they unknowingAnother Supreme that Twitter loses pro- ly host illegal or Court lawyer D K Maunlawful contection under Section hant cited messaging 79, even then it does tent. When alert- platform Telegram’s ed about any not automatically sufcase, which he fought objectionable fer because user A before the Delhi High posts a message that content through Court. “There have user B thinks is defam- a court order or been various litigation by the Centre, atory to him. User B against Telegram, insimply cannot rush to they are expect- cluding a copyright ed to remove it a criminal court lawsuit, which I fought against Twitter on the before the Delhi High ground of criminal defama- Court this January. Telegram tion.” He reasoned that “if undertook before the high court Twitter cannot be shown to be to not only remove the identispecifically aware of such con- fied content but also any future tent on its website, it cannot be content within 48 hours of Telimputed with criminal intent. egram being informed of the Unless a criminal court is pri- copyright infringement. Hence, ma facie satisfied with Twitter in my view the provisions are intentionally hosting the con- working, the intermediaries tent in question, it cannot issue are following them,” he added. NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JUNE 5 JUNE 6 1,20,529 1,14,460 1,97,894 1,89,232 3,380 2,677 June 5 TAKE 31,20,451 doses YOUR June 6 SHOT 33,53,539 doses TOTAL DOSES: 23,13,22,417 JAB-O-METER Announce sector-specific relief packages, says SJM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, on Sunday urged the Centre to announce relief packages for sectors facing stress due to the pandemic. In a resolution at its two-day national council meeting, the SJM also expressed concern at the astronomical cost of cost of medicare at private hospitals. Private healthcare providers should realise this is not the time for making profits, and ensure treatment with minimum cost, the outfit said. Its resolution also sought enhanced fund allocation for the rural jobs scheme, called the Ma- hatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), which was conceived during the UPA regime and mocked at initially by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The outfit also demanded that the government come out with specific packages for varous sectors affected by the pandemic. “The SJM firmly believes that the mayhem caused by the pandemic can be overcome only by concerted efforts of every section of the society In . this unprecedented difficult situation of the country, the SJM suggests to consider and extend fiscal support to the vulnerable sections of the society , besides substantially increasing the fund allocation for MGNREGA,” it said. Clean Ganga crematoriums could have offered dignity to the dead R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi HUNDREDS of Covid-19 victims whose bodies were thrown into the river Ganga or were buried in the river banks could have got a dignified final farewell if only the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) had finished constructing crematoriums along the serpentine river in time. The NMCG was sanctioned to construct 33 ghats and crematoriums at a cost of `833 crore in Bihar and UP under the Centre’s ambitious Namami Gange Programme. A majority of these projects were sanctioned between 2016 and 2019 with a target to complete them by March 2021. But an analysis of the progress data available with the NMCG shows that just over 51% of the projects have been completed. In the rest, work is either still in progress or tenders are being floated for identifying the contractors. Of the 33 projects, 17 have been completed, 13 are under progress, two are in the tendering stage while one is yet to be tendered. Eighteen of the ghats and crematoriums are in UP and 15 in Bihar. Last month, bodies of suspected Covid patients were found floating in the Ganga. The decomposed bodies were first found in Bihar’s Buxar but later more were discovered in UP districts also. Although an inquiry is still under way to ascertain the cause, it is suspected that the existing crematoriums in Bihar and UP could not take the load of the pandemic victims and the bodies had to be thrown into the river. Days after the bodies washed ashore, hundreds of bodies were found loosely buried in the river banks in Unnao and Badohi districts of UP, begging the question that had the ghats and crematoriums been completed, would the suspected Covid victims be insulted in death. The bodies were found in six districts of UP — Mirzapur, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Ballia and Ghazipur — and three of Bihar: Buxar, Saran and Patna. CONTINUED ON P8 STATUS CHECK 33 Total ghats & crematorium projects in UP, Bihar sanctioned H833 cr FUNDS ALLOCATED FOR THE PROJECT PROGRESS OF PROJECTS UP Bihar Fully completed 13 4 75-99% work done 1 3 50-75% work done 1 1 25-50% work done - 3 Less than 25% work 1 3 STATE-WISE BREAKUP OF GHATS & CREMATORIUMS IN FIVE GANGA STATES Work in State Total Completed progress Tendering process Bihar 15 4 10 1 UP 18 13 3 2 West Bengal 29 24 5 Jharkhand 4 3 1 Uttarakhand 13 11 1 1 Tendering process on for 2 others; not even that for one project Nipping 3rd wave in the bud on TS Cabinet agenda EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE Telangana State Cabinet, which will meet on Tuesday is , expected to discuss pre-emptive measures against a potential third wave of Covid-19. Official sources say that the meeting is likely to examine coronavirus incidence and how the existing measures have reined in its spread so far. The second wave’s impact on the State’s revenues might also be assessed at the Cabinet meeting. With the second wave exhibiting a downward trend, the Cabinet may chart a department-wise future course of action and discuss preventive measures to be taken up by the Medical and Health Department. The Cabinet may also review the ongoing works of various irrigation projects and the availability of water for irrigation during the monsoon sea- son. Financial benefits under the Rythu Bandhu scheme, crackdown on the sale of spurious seeds, availability of fertilisers and pesticides, and other agricultural issues are likely to be addressed by the Cabinet. Launch of diagnostic centres postponed Meanwhile, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to postpone the launch of diagnostic centres in 19 dis- trict headquarters to Wednesday. It was previously scheduled for Monday. The CM wanted all the Ministers to be present at the ceremony. At places where there are no Ministers, prominent personalities must be invited to launch the centres, the CM said. TELANGANA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JUNE 5 JUNE 6 2,070 3,762 18 1,436 3,614 14 Heroin worth `78 cr seized at RGI airport E N S @ Hyderabad IN two separate drug hauls, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Hyderabad Unit, caught two women passengers from Zambia and Uganda smuggling heroin at the RGI Airport. Around 12 kg of heroin worth `78 crore was seized from them. Both the passengers were travelling on business visas. The Zambian woman concealed the drug under a gas pipe roll in her checkin baggage, and was caught immediately after she landed at the airport in the early hours of Sunday. Powdered heroin was wrapped and stuck to the wheel under the pipe roll. The Ugandan passenger, meanwhile, hid heroin in her baggage, which was being transported in the cargo. The luggage went missing in transit and did not follow her to Hyderabad. When the woman came to collect her missing parcel on Saturday, DRI sleuths, who had already found heroin in it, arrested her. The duo could be working for the same network, suspected the DRI. A PRICK IN TIME... Beneficiaries get vaccinated against Covid-19 at Hitex, where Hyderabad’s biggest inoculation drive was jointly organised by Medicover, SCSC and Cyberabad police on Sunday | S SENBAGAPANDIYAN | P4 Centre’s policy impeding vax drive: TS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THE Telangana government is reportedly upset over the Centre’s latest policy of allocating only 25 per cent of the total Covid-19 vaccine doses produced in the country to the States, while reserving 50 per cent for itself and the remainder for private hospitals. According to official sources, the highly ‘discriminatory’ policy was making it difficult for the States to procure vac- cines by floating global tenders. They said that though Hyderabad was the producer of one of the Covid-19 vaccines, the Centre’s policy came in the way of procuring it for Telangana as vaccines were allocated regardless of their place of manufacture. The Telangana government is of the view that the Centre, instead of strengthening the States’ hands in their fierce battle against Covid-19, is hampering their vaccination drives. There are about one crore people in the State above 45 years of age, but the government only has 66.63 lakh vaccine doses till June 5, of which 65.75 lakh doses have already been used. Moreover, the State had decided to vaccinate everyone in the age group of 18 to 45 years, and had placed orders for 23.25 lakh vaccine doses with manufacturers to buy them with its own money But . the companies delivered only 7.4 lakh doses owing to the restrictions imposed by the Centre, the sources said. MONSOON MISHAPS Left unrestored, Hyd’s trenched roads are death traps in the making S B A C H A N J E E T S I N G H @ Hyderabad THE Southwest monsoon has arrived in Hyderabad ahead of schedule, but many roads in the city that were dug up for laying sewer lines, telecom cables or water pipelines have still not been restored yet. In the event of a deluge, these stretches may instantly turn into death traps for citizens. The Greater Hyderabad Mu- nicipal Corporation (GHMC) and neighbouring Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have banned road cuttings from June 1 to October 31, including those that come under the Comprehensive Road Maintenance Programme (CRMP). Agencies undertaking cabling work were told to restore trenched roads owing to the onset of monsoon. Various government and private agencies have permissions A road dug up at Secunderabad has still not been restored yet | S SENBAGAPANDIYAN for road cuttings to lay underground cables or pipelines. They include Transco, HMWS&SB, BGL, Airtel, and Jio. Sources in the GHMC told Express that these agencies have been told to restore roads as soon as possible. If they fail to comply the GHMC would un, dertake the work and recover the costs from the agencies. “We had clearly told them that the roads need to be restored as soon as possible. The ban period came into effect on June 1, but many of them have still not done it. We will certainly take action against them,” a GHMC official said. On Saturday trenched roads , were spotted near KBR Park, Wipro Circle at Nanakramguda, Microsoft Office at the Financial District, Narsingi Circle, Raidurgam, Tolichowki and Secunderabad Railway Station. NURSES WIN Day after, govt hospital nixes ban on Malayalam S O M R I TA G H O S H @New Delhi A day after its offensive circular directing Keralite nursing staff not to speak in Malayalam at work created an uproar, the Delhi governmentrun GB Pant Institute of PG Medical Education and Research Hospital on Sunday revoked the order and launched a probe to contain the damage. Shortly after the order was revoked, the Delhi Malayali Nurses Committee called off its proposed agitation. Saturday’s order had barred Kerala nurses from speaking in Malayalam at work, citing the inconvenience caused to patients who could not understand the language. The order had advised the nurses to stick to only Hindi and English or face serious action. Nullifying the order, medical director R Anil Kumar said: “It was issued by the Nursing Superintendent without knowledge of the hospital administration and the Delhi government.” Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter to slam the order. While Rahul called for stopping language discrimination, Tharoor said the order was ‘crude, offensive’. Captured Maoist dies of Covid in Hyd E N S @ Hyderabad THE divisional committee secretary of the Maoist party (Dandakaranya special zone) Gaddam Madhukar, who was arrested in Warangal a few days ago, died while undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at Osmania General Hospital (OGH) in Hyderabad on Sunday. Madhukar carried a reward of `8 lakh on his head. He tested positive for the virus when he was on the run in Chhattisgarh. He travelled to Warangal for better treatment, but was caught hiding in a car’s dickey by the police at Mulugu Crossroads. He was initially treated at MGM Hospital in Warangal and was later sent on judicial custody to Cherlapally Central Prison in Hyderabad. Soon, he got unwell and was moved to OGH, where he died.
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