SAMBALPUR l thursday l december 02, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION Heavy rainfall TO CONTINUE in southern states till Feb The India Meteorological Department has forecast above-normal rainfall between December and February in most southern states WARMER WINTER LIKELY IN nORTH iNDIA La nina conditions may play out: IMD The weather department said coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, south interior Karnataka, inner Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will continue to get abundant showers. In its winter forecast released on Wednesday, the IMD predicted normal or above normal (warmer) minimum temperature over north Indian states during the 3-month period ■ ■ However, below normal minimum temperature is most likely over some parts of north-interior peninsula that comprises north Karnataka, parts of Telangana and Marathwada, the IMD said La Nina conditions are likely to strengthen and peak to moderate conditions during the upcoming winter season, it added 169% Excess rains in andhra, Tamil nadu, Kerala & interior k’taka in november 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 Suspended since March ’20 to deal with second Covid wave; special flights, however, operating since July last year International flights back on hold to handle Omicron K u m a r V i k r a m @ New Delhi Days after announcing resumption of international commercial flights from December 15, the Centre on Wednesday indefinitely put it off in the wake of concerns over the spread of the newly detected Omicron strain of Covid globally . “In view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said. The decision came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked officials to review plans to ease international travel restrictions by factoring in the Omicron outbreak in countries labeled at-risk. The at-risk na- tions are: Europe, UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. International commercial flights have been suspended for as many as 21 months since March 2020. However, special passenger flights have been operating since July last year under air bubble arrangements with around 28 countries. Many state gover nments have already urged Modi not to resume flights from ‘at risk’ countries for now. Maharash- Six positive cases from at-risk countries Six Covid-positive cases were reported on Wednesday after screening 3,476 passengers from 11 flights that arrived in India from ‘at-risk’ countries. Their samples have been sent for genomic sequencing, the health ministry said tra went much further and directed all international arrivals to take mandatory RT-PCR tests and 14 days of home quarantine, even if they are not from at-risk nations, prompting a rebuke from the Centre. It directed the Uddhav government to align itself with the guidelines already issued by the Union health ministry . Maharashtra had also made it mandatory for those from at risk countries to be placed in institutional quarantine of seven days, during which they had to take three RT-PCR tests (on the second, fourth and seventh days after arrival). A positive test during this period would land them in hospital. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan’s missive said the state’s order is in divergence with the Cnetre’s SoPs. “I would, therefore, urge you to align the orders issued by the state with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, Government of India,” he said. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar AROUND 380 foreign returnees have landed in Odisha after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron a ‘variant of concern’ but the Health and Family Welfare department is yet to gather information about their travel history and details of those who flew in from ‘at risk’ countries. While states like Maharashtra have issued fresh guidelines asking all international passengers to furnish details of countries they have travelled to and domestic passengers to carry RT-PCR negative report, absence of whereabouts of 380 returnees has put officials incharge of Covid management here in a tight spot. Two foreign returnees - one from Togo and the other from Sri Lanka who landed on Tuesday –tested negative. “From the Centre, we received a list of 380 people who returned to the State in the last few days. The list does not, however, have any information about the countries they travelled from and their local addresses,” said a senior health official. The Odisha government has now moved the Union Health Ministry seeking access to Air Suvidha portal with filtration facility so that they can get details of foreign returnees easily . “The only possibility is to get 2nd highest GST collections zoom to `1.31 cr in November E x p r e s s ne w s s e r v i c e @ New Delhi NCP president Sharad Pawar with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after their meeting at his residence in Mumbai on Wednesday | PTI UPA is over, says Mamata after meeting Pawar S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is aggressively pushing the idea of a non-Congress opposition front against the BJP said on Wednesday that , regional parties must come together as the Congress-led UPA is defunct. “There is no UPA now,” she told reporters after meeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar at residence in Mumbai on Wednesday. “UPA is over. Now, the regional parties who are opposed to the BJP must come together and put up a joint fight,” she added. Earlier in the day Mamata , held a meeting with activists and civil society members. Taking a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, she said one can’t do politics in India by staying in a foreign country “If a person wants to . stay in a foreign country most of the time, how will it work in politics? If you are not on the ground, the BJP will defeat you,” she said. While extending support to Mamata, Pawar asked NCP ministers to meet her to boost their fight against the BJP in Maharashtra. On who will lead the anti-BJP front, Pawar said it will be sorted out after the polls through consensus. Meanwhile, the Congress pooh-poohed Mamata’s political moves. “Thinking that anybody can defeat the BJP without the Congress is merely a dream,” said party General Secretary K C Venugopal. Maharashtra PCC chief Nana Patole said only the Congress can give a strong alternative to BJP . On Tuesday, Mamata had met Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and Maharashtra environment minister Aaditya Thackeray. She could not meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as he was hospitalised for a surgery . Signalling India’s gradual economic recovery Goods and , Services Tax (GST) collections grew 25% year-on-year to `1,31,526 crore in November, surpassing October’s `1.30 lakh crore mop-up. Tax collections from import of goods also contributed to the numbers, which were 43% higher, while revenues from domestic transactions, including import of services, were 20% higher compared to November 2020, government data showed. According to the government, rising demand and better compliance by taxpayers contributed to the growth in GST collection. Officials claimed the numbers will be even better in the coming months. November’s GST mop-up is the second largest on record. The highest was in April this year, at `1.40 lakh crore. Experts say GST collection will maintain healthy momentum for the rest of the fiscal. “We expect Central GST collections to rise to `5.8 lakh crore in FY22, exceeding the BE by `50,000 crore,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA. Another data set released on Wednesday, IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), bolstered the argument that economic recovery is gathering pace. The PMI survey showed manufacturing zoomed to a 10-month high in November on high domestic demand. Thursday and intensify into a cyclonic storm in subsequent 24 hours. SUSPENSE over the low presUnder its influence, heavy sure hitting Odisha-Andhra rainfall is likely to occur at isoPradesh coast continued as lated places in Gajapati, Ganmany weather models includ- jam, Puri and Jagatsinghpur ing India Meteorological De- districts on Friday The region. partment’s multi-model en- al met office has forecast heavy semble and National Centers to very heavy rainfall and exfor Environmental Predic- tremely heavy rainfall (over tion’s (NCEP) Global Forecast 200 mm) in the four districts System have indicated the on Saturday. storm’s north-northeastwards Heavy to very heavy rainfall re-curvature from December 4 is likely to occur in Kendramorning. para, Cuttack, Khurda, NayaThis could mean once garh, Kandhamal, Rayathe system approaches g a d a a n d Ko r a p u t the coast of AP and districts and heavy Odisha, it might rerainfall is expected at curve in a north-east isolated places in direction. Balasore, Bhadrak, “Whether the Jajpur and Malkanstorm will re-curve giri districts during after making landfall the same period. near north AP and Interestingly, no south Odisha coast or cyclone has crossed Whether the skirt the east coast storm will re-curve Odisha-West Bengal after making would be ascertained coasts in December once the system con- landfall near north between 1891 and AP and south centrates into a de2020. The last storm Odisha coast or pression,” said Scienwas severe cyclone skirt the east tist of Bhubaneswar Phethai which coast would be Meteorological Cencrossed Andhra ascertained once tre Umasankar Das. Pradesh coast near the system However, there is concentrates into south of Yanam. a depression unanimity in the fact The regional Met that rainfall activity office said squally Umasankar Das, will continue in the winds reaching a Bhubaneswar State till Sunday. The Meteorological Centre speed of 45 km to 55 State is expected to km per hour and receive heavy rainfall gusting up to 65 km is this week under influence of likely to commence along and the system which is likely to off north AP-Odisha coasts intensify into a cyclonic storm from December 3 and increase around Saturday morning. gradually up to 70-80 km and In a bulletin, the IMD said gusting up to 90 km from Dethe low pressure is likely to cember 4 morning for subsemove west-northwestwards, quent 12 hours. Fishermen concentrate into a depression have been advised not to venover south-east and adjoining ture along and off coasts beeast-central Bay of Bengal by tween December 3 and 5. @ Bhubaneswar Arriving passengers leave a terminal at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai on Wednesday | AFP Covid-19 patients are airlifted to get them to ICUs in Germany amid a surge in cases 16 02 12 2021 THURSDAY VELLORE MAPPING THE OMICRON FOOTPRINT HEALTH INDIA Positive cases WHERE CASES OF THE VARIANT HAVE BEEN FOUND, EITHER DETECTED IN A TRAVELLER OR LOCALLY TRANSMITTED Sweden Germany Canada Italy Britain Belguim Israel Portugal Spain EXTREME MEASURES T478K Japan S Ara S Korea bia Nigeria Hong kong Oman Ghana Japan, Israel and Morocco have suspended all foreign travel in a desperate bid to stop Omicron, despite the WHO and health experts warning against such bans. In fact, Japan told airlines to not take reservations until the end of December Brazil Botswana Australia Reunion 209 Confirmed cases of Omicron reported globally thus far South Africa L452R E484A S477N SPIKE PROTEIN 156-157 R158G T547K T478K K417N Q493R T19R P681R D950N N764K N856K Q954H 3-D renderings show the positions of mutations (red) DELTA Researchers need about two weeks time G4965 Q498R Y505H G4465 N501Y N440K S375F S373P S371L G339D To know how Omicron attacks cells, researchers need to build an arsenal of spike proteins G142D/143-145 L981F N969K 69-70 A67V T95| ins214EPE 211/L212| D614G H655Y P681H N679K D796Y OMICRON FACT OF THE MATTER TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS TO CHECK OMICRON SPREAD BROKEN DOWN BY COUNTRY Source: Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium With prior variants such as Delta, mutations were few, hence scientists had to make only a handful of changes to a previously-built spike version Omicron has about 30 mutations (Delta has nine) in its spike alone (see images on left). So, a lab has to start from scratch to make the gene in a DNA synthesis machine COMPILED BY: ARAVINDAKSHAN S Understanding new guidelines What kind of RT-PCR tests 1 have been approved by ICMR for use at airports? Open system RTPCR; TrueNat; GeneXpert; RTLAMP; CRISPR/ TATAMD CHECK/FELUDA; Abbott ID Now; Accula by Thermofisher; Rapid RTPCR; CoviDx DirectPlex (airports to facilitate testing) Should travellers 2 excluding from those countries “at risk”* need to wait at airports till their postarrival test result is declared? Travellers may give the sample and leave. Random sampling, self-paid, would be limited to 2%. Airlines may check with state govt officials to select the passengers If travellers from countries 3 excluding those “at risk” are transiting through airports of countries “at risk”, but staying within airports, can they be exempted from the post-arrival testing? Yes After submission of sample for post-arrival test at the point of arrival, travellers will be required to wait for results before taking a connecting flight? 4 After negative results are in, the passengers can take connecting flights to reach their destinations Source: Ministry of Civil Aviation w US FDA nod for Merck pill expected Fliers from “at risk”* countries should carry negative RT-PCR test reports and they will be tested again upon arrival at an Indian airport. Passengers who tested negative will have to undergo home isolation for seven days, followed by repeat testing on the eight day of arrival, followed by seven days of selfmonitoring. For fliers from not “at risk” countries, two per cent of passengers in each flight will be tested randomly CHINA The Chinese mainland is not imposing any new travel curbs, but Hong Kong has barred foreigners who have been in eight African nations, Japan, Portugal and Sweden for the past 22 days. Hong Kong residents travelling from those countries will have a 7-day quarantine at a government facility with daily testing and monitoring by health professionals. After seven days, they will be quarantined for 14 days in a hotel BRITAIN Ban on foreigners travelling from six southern African nations. Ten-day quarantine and testing for citizens UNITED STATES Restrictions on foreigners travelling from eight southern African nations AUSTRALIA Flights from nine African nations suspended for at least 14 days and foreigners with a travel history to those locations barred from entering. Two-week quarantine still in place UAE Restrictions on travel for fliers from or transiting through eight African nations SAUDI ARABIA Flights from seven southern African nations banned, as is anyone who has been in those countries in the last 14 days. Five-day quarantine for citizens returning from that region KUWAIT Commercial flights from nine southern African nations suspended. Seven-day quarantine for citizens travelling from those countries, while non-Kuwaitis would be barred from entering within 14 days of visiting the countries OMAN Flights from seven southern African nations suspended, ban on entry for anyone who has been there SINGAPORE Tight restrictions on travel from seven southern African nations. No entry or transit through for non-nationals who have been in that region. Ten-day quarantine for citizens and residents CANADA Any foreigner who has been in seven southern African nations barred from entering. Canadian citizens need to test prior to departure and post-arrival, followed by 14-day home quarantine SRI LANKA Ban on foreigners who have been in six southern African nations in the last 14 days. Two-week quarantine for citizens returning from those countries INDONESIA Ban on any foreigner who has been in eight southern African nations in the last 14 days. Two-week quarantine for citizens flying in from those countries MALDIVES Tourists who travelled to or transited for more than 12 hours through seven southern African nations within 14 days will be denied entry PAKISTAN Travel banned from five southern African nations and Hong Kong. Citizens returning from those countries need to negative for Covid-19 and be vaccinated RUSSIA Ban on non-Russians travelling from nine southern African nations. Citizens only need to undergo testing ARGENTINA Fliers who have been anywhere in Africa in last 14 days to be quarantined after landing. Full vaccination proof and negative RT-PCR test needed, as well as an antigen test, upon arrival *At-risk nations are European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel New species of snail named afr Djokovic An easy guide to track Omicron spread and how countries are tackling it How fungi can Endangered rhinos shifted s RESEARCH CONSERVATION S T cientists from the United States and Europe announced plans Tuesday to create the biggest map of underground fungal networks, arguing they are an important but overlooked piece in the puzzle of how to tackle climate change. By working with local communities around the world the researchers said they will collect 10,000 DNA samples to determine how the vast networks that fungi create in the soil are changing as a result of human activity — including global warming. “Fungi are invisible ecosystem engineers, and their loss has gone largely unnoticed by the public,” said Toby Kiers, a professor of evolutionary biology at Amsterdam’s Free University and cofounder of the non-profit Society for Protection of Underground Networks. hirty endangered white rhinos ar rived in Rwanda on Monday after a long journey from South Africa in a Boeing 747, conservationists said, hailing it as the largest single transfer of the species ever undertaken. The majestic animals, which can weigh up to two tonnes, travelled some 3,400 km from South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve as part of a programme to replenish the species’ population, decimated by poaching since the 1970s. Once plentiful across sub-Saharan Africa, white rhino suffered first from hunting by European settlers, and later a poaching epidemic which largely wiped them out. The rhinos began their 40-hour journey to Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda following months of preparation. Renewable energy and net zero CLIMATE G lobal growth in renewable electricity production is set to accelerate but needs to speed up even more to meet targets to reach net zero carbon emission targets, the IEA said on Wednesday. In its latest report on the sector, the International Energy Agency said that the installation of new renewable electricity generation capacity is expected to hit a record 290 gigawatts (GW) this year. Over the next five years, renewable capacity is expected to be added at a rate 50 percent higher than in the 2015-2020 period. In five years time global renewable electricity capacity is expected to have increased by 60 percent from 2020 levels to 4,800 GW, the IEA said. For comparison, this is the equivalent to the current total global 2% random sampling Norms for travellers vary widely around the world. We list the new rules, many of which went into effect on Wednesday, for select countries. Governments could of course change these rules at a moment’s notice FILE Just when the world was getting comfortable with managing the Covid-19 outbreak, a completely new variant called Omicron emerged out of nowhere and disturbed ambitious plans of opening up economies and learning to live with the virus. Just a few days after first cropping up on the radar of South African scientists, the variant has now been detected in travellers in at least 20 countries (see map). Here’s an overview of how countries are trying to protect themselves from the variant. We also present a list of frequently asked questions to clear some doubts on new guidelines for fliers travelling to India MEDICINE WASHINGTON: A panel of US health experts have voted to recommend Merck’s Covid pill for high-risk adults -- a new form of treatment that is easy to administer and could prove better able to withstand variants, including Omicron. Molnupiravir, already author- ized in Britain, has been shown to reduce the rate of hospitalizations and deaths among people at high risk of developing severe Covid, when it is taken within five days of symptom onset. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which convened Tuesday’s meeting, is now expected to grant an emergency use authorization for the treatment. The independent scientists appointed by the FDA voted 13 in favor and 10 against authorization -- a narrow win that reflected some concerns over a recent downgrading of the treatment’s efficacy results, as well as misgivings over potential side-effects. Page 12 COLOUR-CODED FEST A reveller covered in turmeric powder rejoicing the festivities during the Bisket Jatra Festival at Thimi in Bhaktapur district on the outskirts of Kathmandu in Nepal on Thursday | AFP ODDITY CANBERRA: A cutomer thought he was watching a huge wor m writhing in plasticwrapped lettuce he’d just brought home from a Sydney supermarket — until a snake tongue flicked. “I kind of completely freaked out when I saw this little tongue come out of its mouth and start flicking around,” Alex White said on Thursday It was a ven. omous pale-headed snake that authorities say made an 870-km journey to Sydney from a packing plant in the Australian city of Toowoomba wrapped in plastic with lettuce. The refrigerated supermarket supply chain likely lulled the cold-blooded juvenile into a stupor until White bought the lettuce at an innercity ALDI supermarket on Monday. White phoned the WIRES rescue organization and a snake handler took the snake away that night. Investigations are underway to find out how a snake could have found its way to supermarket.stigations are underway to find outtion and a snake handler took the snake away that night. Investigations are underway to find out how a snake could have found its way to supermarket.stigationd let- tuce he’d just brought home from a Sydney supermarket — until a snake tongue flicked. “I kind of completely freaked out when I saw this little tongue come out of its mouth and start flicking around,” Alex White said on Thursday It was a ven. omous pale-headed snake that authorities say made an 870-km journey to Sydney from a packing plant in the Australian city of Toowoomba wrapped in plastic with lettuce. The refrigerated supermarket supply chain likely lulled the cold-blooded juvenile into a stupor until White bought the lettuce at an innercity ALDI supermarket on Monday. White phoned the WIRES rescue organization and a snake handler took the snake away that night. Investigations are underway to find out how a snake could have found its way to supermarket.stigations are underway to find outtion and a snake handler took th NEVER SEEN BEFORE Coolest dino ever? Critter fought off predators with bladed tail PALAEONTOLOGY FOSSILS found in Chile are from a strange-looking dogsized dinosaur species that had a unique slashing tail weapon, scientists reported. Some dinosaurs had spiked tails they could use as stabbing weapons and others had tails with clubs. The new species, described in a study in the journal Nature, has something never seen before on any animal: seven pairs of “blades” laid out sideways like a slicing weapon used by ancient Aztec warriors, said lead author Alex Vargas. “It’s a really unusual weapon,” said Vargas, a University of Chile paleontologist. “Books on prehistoric animals for kids need to update and put this weird tail in there. ... It just looks crazy .” The plant-eating critter had a combination of traits from different species that initially sent paleontologists down the wrong path. The back end, including its tail weapon, seemed similar to a stegosaurus, so the researchers named it stegouros elengassen. After Vargas and his team examined the pieces of skull and Jab-o-meter did five different DNA analyses, they concluded it was only distantly related to the stegosaurus. Instead, it was a rare southern hemisphere member of the tank-like ankylosaur family of dinosaurs. (Though the stegouros name stuck and can be easily confused with the well-known stegosaurus.) Vargas called it “the lost family branch of the ankylosaur.” The fossil is from about 72 million to 75 million years ago and appears to be an adult based on the way bones are fused, Vargas said. It was found with its front end flat on its belly and Take your shot Nov 30 72,49,189 doses Dec 01 71,55,049 doses Total: 1,24,86,09,652 Further revising its advisory, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday said only 2% of passengers from non ‘at-risk’ countries will be subject to random sampling for Covid as against 5% earlier All such passengers will be permitted to leave the airport after giving the samples, the ministry explained in a set of Frequently Asked Questions | P12 the back end angled down to a lower level, almost as if caught in quicksand, Vargas said. From bird-like snout to tail tip, stegouros stretched six feet but would only come up to the thighs of humans. The tail was probably for defense against large predators, which were also likely turned off by armor-like bones jutting out that made ste gouros “chewy,” Vargas said. Not only is this “a really bizarre tail,” but it is from far southern Chile, a region that hasn’t yielded these types of animals before, an expert said. NATIONWIDE nov 30 dec 01 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 6,990 8,954 10,116 10,204 190 267 odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths nov 30 dec 01 228 203 02 237 186 02 Odisha govt on toes to track 380 foreign returnees Hemant Kumar Rout Storm forms, suspense brews over track the travel history of a passenger from his/her self declaration form available in the portal. Once we get access, it will be easier for us to track the returnees,” the official sources said. The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has released a list of countries ‘at risk’ from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country including post-ar- rival testing. These include European countries including United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. Although the State government has made RT-PCR and quarantine mandatory for all foreign returnees, the Health department is yet to formally notify its detailed guidelines for air travellers despite the r i s k s p o s e d by t h e n ew CONTINUED ON: P5 variant. Protests against Dibya Shankar echo in Assembly E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar WINTER session of the State Assembly started Wednesday on a rocky note with MLAs of Opposition Congress staging dharna at the entry gates to prevent entry of Minister of State for Home, Dibya Shankar Mishra into the House. The Congress legislators also locked the main gate in protest. The party has been demanding Mishra’s ouster from the Council of Ministers as well as his arrest for alleged links with Gobinda Sahu, prime accused in the sensational Mamita Meher murder. The Congress lawmakers, led by Taraprasad Bahinipati, sat at the entry point of the Assembly holding placards. “We will Cong MLAs staging dharna at the entrance of the Assembly on Wednesday | Express not allow Mishra to destroy the sanctity of the Assembly which is a temple of democracy Ba,” hinpati told mediapersons. The Minister of State for Home, however, reached the Assembly before the Congress legislators could sit on dharna. Members of the BJP, the principal Opposition party in the Assembly, urged Speaker SN Patro not to allow Mishra to participate in the House proceedings. They also protested outside the chamber of the Speaker for allowing the Minister into the House. Amid Opposition protest, the House assembled for the day as scheduled while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik attended the proceedings from his residence through virtual mode. This evoked strong reaction from the Opposition. Coming down heavily on Naveen for his stoic silence on the sensitive issue, senior Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja said the CM is visiting all districts to distribute smart health cards under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) but avoiding the CONTINUED ON: P5 Assembly . Sudha Bharadwaj granted default bail E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted default bail to lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj who has been under arrest in the Bhima Koregaon case since August 2018. However, it refused bail to eight other accused in the case. Bharadwaj will now be produced before the Special Court, NIA, Mumbai on December 6 to define the terms and conditions for her bail. A default bail is granted when the probe agency fails to file its chargesheet within 90 days of arrest of the accused. The eight other accused who sought bail were Surendra Gadling, Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Rona Wil- son, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira. The petition by Bharadwaj had argued that two additional sessions judges of the Pune sessions court, who remanded them in custody, had not been designated as special judges and therefore, could not have taken cognisance of their case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The high court bench comprising N J Jamadar and S S Shinde agreed that a special court alone can try offences under the UAPA. “So long as an application has been made for default bail on expiry of the stated period before time is further extended to the maximum period of 180 days, default bail, being an indefeasible right of the accused under the first proviso to Section 167(2), kicks in and must be granted,” the order read. The HC bench said denial of default bail to Bharadwaj would amount to breach of her fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Justifying its decision to deny bail to the other eight accused, the bench said they never claimed to have filed applications for default bail after the expiry of the initial period of 90 days from the date of their production till the filing of the chargesheet. JSPL builds `3,000-cr war chest for port; bids for dock at Paradip Port Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, one of the country’s major private sector steel manufacturers, is planning to invest up to `3,000 cr in developing a port on the eastern coastline to secure transportation of steel from its plant in Angul, Odisha | P10
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