SAMBALPUR l wednesday l june 16, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION Retail sales decline 79% in May over pre-Covid levels North, West India regions suffer the most Pandemic-induced restrictions have brought retail businesses to their knees, according to the Retailers Association of India (RAI) The impact on sales was the steepest in western and northern parts of the country, which witnessed a whopping 83% dip in May 2021 compared to May 2019. The eastern region, according to the retailers’ body, witnessed a 75% fall, while South India suffered a 73% drop in sales. The government should step in to ameliorate the financial woes of the sector, RAI said ■ 70% Beauty products among worst hit ■ ■ The retailers’ body said the sector is struggling to pay salaries, rentals, electricity charges and various taxes Beauty, personal care products saw the steepest decline at 87% Food and grocery business, however, was relatively better off with a decline of just 34% in May 2021 compared to May 2019 Fall IN Quick service restaurants sales in May 2021 over May 2019 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 Beware the equity market bubble, warn experts, raise the red flag D i pa k M o n da l & A rs h a d K h a n @ New Delhi The Indian equity markets seem to be going through a purple patch. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic wrecked the backbone of the economy in 2020 and 2021, the markets don’t seem to mind a bit. In the past year, the BSE 30 Index Sensex has sprung from 33,228 to 52,773 points, gaining 59% on the way Since 23 March . political play Chirag removes rebel MPs, gets sacked by Paras New Delhi: The Lok Janshakti Party faction headed by Chirag Paswan on Tuesday expelled the five party MPs who had rebelled against him, while the group led by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras removed him from the post of the party president. Both factions moved swiftly to take control of the party a day after Paras, the youngest brother of Chirag’s father and party founder Ram Vilas Paswan, was recognised by the Lok Sabha secretariat as the leader of the Lok Janshakti Party in the House. The matter is now likely to reach the Election Commission | P8 2020, when the lockdown was first announced, the equity markets have returned almost 100%. The Sensex during the period rose from 27,600 points to 52,773, gaining 91%. The ‘bull run’ continues even if regulators and a few market experts have already raised the red flag. The RBI in its recent annual report warned of a possible equity market bubble, subtly cautioning investors against irrational exuberance. Lucknow: The going may be tough for BSP supremo Mayawati as at least five rebel MLAs, who were suspended from the party last year, are likely to contest the upcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh on Samajwadi Party ticket. After meeting SP leader Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday at his party office in Lucknow, Sushma Patel,an MLA from Mungra Badshahpur constituency in Jaunpur district, said, “I have decided to contest 2022 polls on Samajwadi Party ticket. We met Akhilesh ji to discuss our future. We were expelled wrongly last year.” | P8 AVERAGE SENSEX P/E RATIO 35 97 97 55 54 69 61 76 72 68 88 99 77 76 32.31 30 26.44 25 20 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 d e c em b e r d a t a 15 18.05 18.73 17.09 17.38 28.1 23.78 23.71 20.62 20.18 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22* Source: BSE of Russia meet, US eases EU trade friction Rules invoking stringent UAPA against them in connection with the Delhi riots were illegal K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi Faulting the state for blurring the line between the right to protest and a terrorist activity in order to suppress dissent, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to a couple of activists and a student, who were arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the northeast Delhi riots in February last year. A bench of justices Siddhartha Mridul and Anup J Bhambhani granted bail to Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal and Jamia Milia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha in three separate verdicts. Over a year after they were arrested, all three can expect to be free on bail. While Kalita was booked in four cases, Narwal had three FIRs registered against her. They already have bail in all the other cases. The UAPA case against them pertains to the larger conspiracy angle behind the riots, being probed by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell. “We are constrained to say, that it appears, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent and in the morbid fear that matters may get out of hand, the State has blurred the line between the constitutionally guaranteed ‘right to protest’ and ‘terrorist activity’. If such blurring gains traction, democracy would be in peril,” the order to grant bail to Narwal said. observations peaceful protest without use of arms Stressing that the right to peacefully protest without arms is a fundamental right, the court said, “Considering, however, that the right to protest is a fundamental right that flows from the Constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble peaceably and without arms enshrined in Article 19(1)(b) of our Constitution, surely the right to protest is not outlawed and cannot be termed as a ‘terrorist act’ within the meaning of the UAPA, unless of course the ingredients of the offences under sections 15, 17 and/or 18 of the UAPA are clearly discernible from the factual allegations contained in chargesheet and the material filed therewith.” Ambit of the ‘terrorist act’ phrase The court said the phrase ‘terrorist act’ under UAPA could not be permitted to be applied in a cavalier manner to criminal acts or omissions that fall squarely within the definition of conventional offences as defined under the Indian Penal Code. “Even if we assume for the sake of argument, without expressing any view thereon, that in the present case inflammatory speeches, chakka jams, instigation of women protesters and other actions, to which the appellant is alleged to have been party crossed the line of peaceful , protests permissible under our Constitutional guarantee, that, however, would yet not amount to commission of a ‘terrorist act’ or a ‘conspiracy’ or an ‘act preparatory’ to the commission of a terrorist act as understood under the UAPA,” the bench said. P7 THE iconic replica of the famous sculpture of Sun Temple at Konark showcasing a warrior with the horse - adopted by the State government as part of its emblem - is set to be shifted from Master Canteen Square to Raj Bhawan Square. An identity of Bhubaneswar for decades, the stone work will have to make way for the ongoing Smart Janpath project. The Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) had proposed relocation of the sculp- ture to another place for development of Master Canteen and was approved at a meeting chaired by the Director of Culture Ranjan Das on June 8. The `80-crore Smart Janpath project is part of the Bhubaneswar Smart City Mission. Sources in the Culture department said, the permission was accorded as the statue is not an ancient structure. As per the decision, the replica along with other statues placed within the Master Canteen roundabout will be shifted to another roundabout in front of Raj Bhawan and placed adja- President Joe Biden on Tuesday moved to end a long-running dispute with the European Union over subsidies for aircraft manufacturers, a major breakthrough in the US-EU trade relationship that comes on the eve of his highly anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Hanging homes PAGE 9 A weaver bird busy building its nest on a tree in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday | Biswanath Swain Unlock Green Zone on the cards More questions than answers E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar With Covid-19 positive cases showing a declining trend in Odisha during the last week and test positivity rate (TPR) falling below five per cent (pc) in several districts, the State government is likely to start the unlock process in a day or two. While announcing Covid package for western Odisha districts recently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had hinted that the government is considering to start the unlock process in areas where the infection rate has started decreasing. Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday Director of Health , Services Bijay Mohapatra said the government is analysing the data of the last 15 days received from the districts and based on this, fresh guidelines will be issued. He said the government will start the unlock process at an appropriate time. Sources maintained that while some relaxations in Dist-wise TPR Status 1.4% 0.4% cent to the statue of Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das. The Culture Director said the statue will lose its visibility as well as significance since widening of roads and construction of a multi-modal hub has been planned in the area under Smart City project. “That is why it was decided to shift it to the vicinity of Governor House where it would get proper visibility . Another reason to shift it near the statue of Madhu Babu was his connection with the black horse and State emblem,” Continued on: P5 he said. 7.9% 7.9% 1.3% 5.41% 3.32% 4.2% 0.88% 5.59% 2.8% 5.78% 2.6% 6.29% 11% 9.6% 3.5% 8.3% 8.9% 1.5% 4.7% 22.3% 3.37% 7.8% 5.4% 8.9% 8.4% 3% Green zone (14 dists) Yellow zone (6 dists) Red zone (10 dists) 4.9% The government is analysing the data of the last 15 days received from the districts and based on this, fresh guidelines will be issued 7.2% Bijay Mohapatra, Director of Health Services business hours are likely to be considered for districts in green and yellow zones, strict lockdown is likely to continue in red zone districts. As per the TPR status released by the government on Tuesday Jharsuguda (0.4 pc), , Balangir (0.88 pc), Sambalpur (1.3 pc), Sundargarh (1.4 pc), Ganjam (1.5 pc), Kandhamal (2.6 pc), Kalahandi (2.8 pc), Nuapada (3 pc), Bargarh (3.32 pc), Dhenkanal (3.37 pc), Kendrapara (3.5 pc), Sonepur (4.2pc), Rayagada (4.7 pc) and Koraput (4.9 pc) are in the green zone. Continued on: P5 Scratch the surface of the Covid fatality data in various districts and they throw up searching questions. Kamrup: Take Assam. Its Kamrup (Metropolitan) district includes the Guwahati Municipal Corporation. During the first corona wave in April 2020, altogether 183 death certificates were issued in that district, but there was not a single recorded case of Covid death. In April 2021, as many as 912 death certificates were issued in the same district, during which time 78 Covid deaths were recorded. How does one explain the big year-on-year difference in the number of deaths in April, which is 729? Health officials said it could be because of various factors. “It could be that more people came of age this year compared to last year. Also, a number of deaths this year could be due to comorbidities. There was hardly any road accident death last year due to strict lockContinued on: P8 down. express read Iconic warrior-horse replica to make way for Smart Janpath project @ Bhubaneswar five-year average of 21. However, experts are not impressed by such high valuations. According to Geojit Financial Services’ chief investment strategist V K Vijayakumar, robust foreign institutional buying, select highquality buying by domestic institutions and enthusiastic retail activity are positives for the market, but the froth building up in the broader market is a big worry continued on: P10 . Ahead Monument shift Sudarsan Maharana RBI’s concerns are not without reasons. Valuations have gone through the roof, and yet the markets have climbed new peaks driven by easy liquidity provided across the globe by governments to support growth to pandemic-hit economies. India’s current market cap to GDP ratio is 112%, against the historic average market cap to GDP ratio 76%. The Sensex is currently trading at a price-toearnings ratio of 32 against the Delhi HC upholds right to protest, activists get bail significant Rebel BSP MLAs meet Akhilesh, may join SP Market Cap to GDP Ratio (%) 146 4th round sero survey in 3 dists from today NATIONWIDE june 14 june 15 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 70,421 1,19,501 3,921 60,471 1,17,525 2,726 June 14 22,15,947 doses June 15 25,68,858 doses Total doses: 26,17,40,273 Jab-o-meter Take your shot odisha june 14 june 15 Fresh cases 4,339 3,405 Recoveries Deaths 8,182 44 6,799 42 Police rescue family from gun-toting youth Bhubaneswar: The RMRC, Bhubaneswar, is all set to start the fourth round serosurvey in three districts of Odisha from Wednesday. The four-day exercise to be undertaken in Ganjam, Koraput and Rayagada districts will determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the community. For the first time, children above the age of six years will be a part of the survey | P2 Balangir: Police on Tuesday put on display a professional act of hostage crisis handling by rescuing three members of a family from a love-lorn youth who had pinned them down at gunpoint in their Shantipada home in the town on Tuesday. He was nabbed by police after a five-hour-long operation that included a prolonged negotiation. The youth was identified as Bikram Panda, a resident of Talapada in Balangir town | P4 Robotic ship set to retrace 400-yr-old Atlantic trip Four centuries and one year after the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, on a historic sea journey to America, another trailblazing vessel with the same name has set off to retrace the voyage. This Mayflower, though, is a sleek, modern robotic ship that is carrying no human crew or passengers | P12
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