CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 19 APRIL 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR NAVALNY COULD DIE ANY MOMENT, WARNS DOCTOR VACCINATION IS KEY: MANMOHAN TO PM P5 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky . Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 36 °C and 26 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Trace RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 84% TEMPERATURE THUMBNAILS Ladakhis at the apricot blossom festival in Leh district of Ladakh on Sunday. SNS Poll panel imposes campaign ban: The Election Commission on Sunday imposed a 24-hour campaign ban on BJP leader Sayantan Basu and Sujata Mondal of the Trinamul Congress for their controversial remarks during the ongoing assembly polls in West Bengal. The bar on campaigning by the leaders will be in force from 7 p.m. on April 18 to 7 p.m. on April 19. Basu was pulled up for remarks that amount to inciting violence, while Mondal was accused of making remarks denigrating the Scheduled Caste community. US-China agreement: The United States and C China, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to cooperate to curb climate change with urgency, just days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss the issue. The agreement was reached by US special envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua during two days of talks in ShangP10 hai, according to a joint statement. NEW DELHI, 18 APRIL Engineering entrance exam JEE-Mains scheduled to be held from April 27-30 has been postponed in view of the Covid-19 situation, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' announced on Sunday. “Given the current #covid19 situation, I have advised @DG_NTA to postpone the JEE (Main) 2021 April Session. I would like to reiterate that safety of our students & their academic career are @EduMinOfIndia's and my prime concerns right now,” Nishank tweeted. The revised dates of the exam will be announced later, according to an official order by the National Testing Agency. PTI P9 P12 Govt restricts supply CM writes to PM, seeks of oxygen to industry adequate supply of PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Max: 34.7°C (-1) Min: 24.5°C (-1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:31 hrs 17:58 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 10:16 hrs --:-- hrs Next moon quarter on 20 April JEE-Mains postponed P10 Focus also on ramping up O2 production; India added 2.6L Covid-19 cases Min. 51% BARCA WIN COPA DEL REY CALLS MOUNT FOR BORIS JOHNSON TO CANCEL INDIA TRIP NEW DELHI, 18 APRIL eeking to address the shortage of medical oxygen as active Covid-19 cases surpassed the 18-lakh mark, the Centre on Sunday banned the supply of the gas for industrial purposes except in nine specified areas and expedited installation of 162 PSA plants in health facilities across the country, while the Railways announced special trains to transport the life-saver. Several industry majors pitched in by diverting oxygen supply to hospitals as a record single-day rise of 2,61,500 coronavirus infections took India's total tally of Covid-19 cases to 1,47,88,109 and authorities in the worst-hit states admitted they were running short of of oxygen, beds, ventilators and medicines. Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said all support is being extended to states to double production of Remdesivir drug, ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen and Covid-19 vaccines, besides enhancing healthcare infrastructure. The setting up of 162 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants in public health facilities is being expedited and a 24X7 cell is coordinating with the states, he said. “These will augment medical oxygen capacity by 154.19 MT," the health ministry tweeted. Earlier, the ministry had decided to float a tender for the import of 50,000 MT of medical oxygen. In a communication to all states, Union home sec- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 18 APRIL STATE OF SIEGE S 1,47,88,109 18,01,316 Connaught Place area wears a deserted look, during 2nd day of weekend lockdown imposed in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases on Sunday. SUBRATA DUTTA Over 25,000 people have tested COVID-19 positive in the last 24 hours in Delhi and less than 100 ICU beds remain available in hospitals, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, delivering more bad news in an unprecedented public health crisis sweeping the nation. In the wake of rising Covid-19 cases, beginning April 20, Tamil Nadu will once again see night curfew between 10 pm and 4 am every day. The state has also brought back Sunday lockdown that was in place during the peak of the pandemic last year. The Bihar government on Sunday decided to impose night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. as part of new measures to check spread of the coronavirus. Educational institutions in the state will remain closed till 15 May. Amidst mounting Covid-19 numbers in Bhopal, authorities decided to extend the coronavirus curfew in the city for another week up to 26 April. retary Ajay Bhalla said the central government-constituted Empowered GroupII has recommended to prohibit the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers from April 22 till further orders, with exceptions of nine specified industries.He cited the rapid rise in Covid19 cases and resultant rapid demand for medical oxygen, particularly in high-burden states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. vaccines, medicines, O2 The Railways said it will run 'Oxygen Express' trains over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments had approached the Railways Ministry to explore whether liquid medical oxygen tankers could be moved by the rail network, officials said. The country's largest steel-maker SAIL, Tata Steel and ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India said they were 2,61,500 1,38,423 1,77,150 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 18 APRIL 2021 supplying oxygen to hospitals. According to the steel ministry, 28 oxygen plants located in the steel facility of both public and private sectors are supplying about 1,500 tonnes of medical oxygen every day. Also, an additional stock of 30,000 MT, including the safety stock, is being made available for medical use. The positivity rate has doubled in the last 12 days to 16.69 per cent and 10 states ~ Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan ~ reported 78.56 percent of the new infections. Maharashtra and Delhi, which are among the worst hit, have already sounded the Centre on the shortage of beds, oxygen, medicines and Covid vaccines. Amidst the rapid surge in Covid-19 cases across the state, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to make available adequate supplies of vaccine, medicine and oxygen so as “to significantly scale the capacities to tackle the pandemic on war footing”. In her two-page letter, Miss Banerjee highlighted three important issues where the state is looking for active cooperation from the Centre. Alongside, she said that the state is ready to extend its resources to the fullest extent to the Centre to tackle the pandemic so that the country can overcome the situation. Reminding the PM that the state wanted to purchase the vaccine doses directly using state funds, Miss Banerjee noted that she had written to him earlier asking for Bengal to be allowed to purchase the vaccine doses directly and launch a free vaccination campaign to cover the state’s population. “However, the state has not received the requisite clearance yet,” she wrote. In her fresh letter, Miss Banerjee said that the density of population in West Bengal and particularly in the city of Kolkata is extremely high and a focused and aggressive vaccination against Covid-19 is very important. “Unfortunately for us, the supply of vaccines from the GOI (Government of India) Unfortunately for us, the supply of vaccines from the Centre has been scarce and erratic, which is negatively affecting our vaccination programmes Bengal logs 8K new cases; over 2,000 in Kolkata alone MAMATA BANERJEE side has been scarce and erratic which has been negatively affecting our vaccination programmes. While West Bengal is one of the best performers in vaccination, it is now suffering because of uncertainties of supply from GOI end. We have to vaccinate around 2.7 crore, and for that we need 5.4 crore doses. We request for an urgent intervention to ensure that the state gets its requirement of vaccine doses fulfilled at the earliest," she wrote. Miss Banerjee said that the supply of essential medicines like remedesvir and tollizumab (Actemera) is extremely scarce and uncertain which has become a matter of grave concern. “We need around 6,000 vials of remedesvir and 1,000 vials of Tollizu-mab daily. However, pre-sently only 1,000 vials of remedesvir are available daily and no fresh supply of tollizumab is coming. It may be seen that the relevant authorities step up their efforts to ensure steady supply of these most essential supplies of medicines as soon as possible," she further said. Finally, she urged Mr Modi to increase the supply of oxygen. KOLKATA, 18 APRIL Over 8,000 people were detected Covid-19 positive in Bengal in a 24hour period on Sunday, of which more than 2,000 cases were in Kolkata. The state registered its highest daily spike yet, 8,419 fresh cases, along with 28 deaths, of which Kolkata alone recorded 2,197 cases and 5 deaths. These figures took the state’s total Covid-19 tally to 6,59,927 with the death toll at 10,568 while there are 49,638 active cases. Amidst the surge, the state home department has issued an advisory on Saturday extending restrictions in combating Covid up to 30 April. Amongst other instructions, the department has asked businesses and commercial units to maintain staggered timing to maintain social distancing. Henceforth, police will strictly enforce wearing of masks in SNS public places. "The supply of oxygen, as you know, must be assured and certain. SAIL is meeting our need for the moment and we shall be grateful if you kindly instruct them too for ensuring steady supplies," she wrote. Maha cops grill pharma director over Remdesivir; BJP fumes 6 Covid patients die ‘due to low oxygen pressure’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA At least six Covid-19 patients died in the ICU of a government hospital in Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol allegedly due to low pressure in the medical oxygen supply. The incident occurred at the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH) here on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. However, the district administration denied that these deaths were caused due to the “shortage of oxygen”. “Out of 62 patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward of the medical college's Covid-19 centre, six patients died following the low pressure of liquid oxygen late last night,” the facility's dean, Dr Milind Shiralkar, said, MUMBAI, 18 APRIL Mumbai police questioned a pharma company director following information that thousands of vials of the Remdesivir drug critical in coronavirus treatment were to be flown out of the country, an official said on Sunday. Police said they had information that the Remdesivir stock was going to be flown abroad by air cargo, despite a ban on the export of the drug. While Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis claimed the director was picked up because the BJP managed to get permissions in place for the supply of the drug to Maharashtra, activist Saket Gokhale wondered how did a “private individual like Fadnavis” procure Remdesivir stock from Gujarat when the sale is allowed only to the government. Police on Saturday night questioned Rajesh Dokania, director of Bruck Pharma, a Daman-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company that manufactures Remdesivir vials. He was summoned from his home in north Mumbai suburb Kandivali by Ville Parle police, questioned and allowed to leave the police station around midnight. Police had information that at least 60,000 Remdesivir vials are being exported by air, a police official told PTI. The BJP objected to the executive's grilling by the PRESS TRUST OF INDIA SHAHDOL, 18 APRIL police, saying the state government was playing politics amid the pandemic. On learning that Dokania was being quizzed, Fadnavis and another BJP leader rushed to the police station. They said the BJP was reaching out to pharma firms due to the shortage of Remdesivir in the state. “Four days ago we had req-uested Bruck Pharma to supply us Remdesivir but they co-uldn't until permission was given. I spoke to Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya and also got FDA's permission,” Fadnavis said. The former CM claimed that a state minister's officer on special duty called Dokania and ob-jected to the firm providing Remdesivir on the BJP's appeal. PROBE ORDERED INTO RAIPUR HOSPITAL DEATHS: Authorities have ordered an investigation after five coronavirus patients died in a fire at the Covid-19 ward of a private hospital in Chhattisgarh's capital city Raipur, police said on Sunday. Officials have also been directed to conduct safety check at coronavirus hospitals in the city. The fire broke out at Raipur's Rajdhani hospital on Saturday, police said. “Five coronavirus patients died in the incident. One was charred to death and the others died due to suffocation,” a police official said, adding a case of negligence will be registered PTI against the owners of the hospital. adding that the other critical patients are safe. The hospital has 62 ICU beds where critical Covid-19 patients are admitted. However, Shiralkar later said had low oxygen pressure been the cause, other patients would also have been impacted. “But the low pressure of oxygen didn't affect the other patients,” he said. He said experts have been called in to find out the exact cause behind the death of the six patients. He said the liquid oxygen supply at the hospital started running out by late Saturday evening. “Suppliers were being contacted constantly, but the vehicle could not reach till late night, due to which the pressure of oxygen supplied to the patients was reduced,” he said, adding that there is a pressure on suppliers across India for making available medical oxygen. He also said there was a shortage of oxygen supply since the last few days. The oxygen plant on the campus of the hospital has a storage capacity of 10 kilolitres per day, Shiralkar said, adding that liquid oxygen is brought from other states. Shahdol district collector Dr Satyendra Singh told reporters that all the six patients who died at the hospital were in critical condition. “The hospital dean had told me that six patients had died till 8 a.m. but the cause of their death was not the shortage of oxygen. They were critical patients and none of them died due to the shortage of oxygen,” he said. Bengal, seven other states highly vulnerable to climate change: Report PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 18 APRIL Eight Indian states ~ Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal ~ are highly vulnerable to climate change, according to a national climate vulnerability assessment report. These states, mostly in the eastern part of the country, require prioritisation of adaptation interventions, the report pointed out. Among all states, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand have over 60 per cent districts in the category of highly vulnerable districts. Lack of forest area per 100 rural population was found to be one of the major drivers of vulnerability for Assam despite the fact that the state has a forest cover of 42 per cent, fol- lowed by low road density, the report said. In the case of Bihar, the report cited poor health infrastructure to be the key vulnerability driver in 36 districts, followed by a high percentage of marginal and small operational holders in 24 districts. The lack of implementation of the rural employment scheme MGNREGA, causing a lack of alternative livelihood opportunities, appeared as a key driver in 14 districts of Bihar, followed by a lack of women's participation in the workforce in 11 districts. Lack of crop insurance and rainfed agriculture were key drivers of vulnerability for Jharkhand. For Bengal, high proportion of natural resource-based income, prevalence of marginal and small landholdings, lack For Bengal, high proportion of natural resource-based income, prevalence of marginal and small landholdings, lack of forest area per 1,000 rural population, lack of women’s participation in workforce, and high incidence of water-borne diseases were identified as major drivers of climate change vulnerability. of forest area per 1,000 rural population, lack of women’s participation in workforce, and high incidence of waterborne diseases were identified as major drivers of climate change vulnerability. The report, titled 'Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework', which identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India with respect to current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability, was released by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Secretary Ashutosh Sharma this week. Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim and Punjab have been categorised as lowermiddle vulnerable states. CMYK Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Maharashtra have been categorised as states with low vulnerability. “We have seen how extreme events are on rise both in terms of their number and severity. Mapping the parts of India that are vulnerable to such changes will help initiating climate actions at the ground level,” said Sharma. Assessing vulnerability was the first step towards assessing climate risk. There are two other components like hazard and exposure that need to be also assessed to arrive at overall climate risk. DST would take up these assessments in the next phase along with sectoral vulnerability assessments and assessments at sub-district levels, said Akhilesh Gupta, Head, Climate Change Programme (CCP), DST. Prof N H Ravindranath, retired climate change expert from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), explained that the report has helped identify the most vulnerable states, districts and panchayats and will aid in prioritising adaptation investment, developing and implementing adaptation programmes. Director of IIT Mandi Professor Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi and Director of IIT Guwahati T G Sitharaman hoped that the report will be taken up by the states for initiating climate action. A total of 94 representatives from 24 states and two Union Territories participated in the nationwide exercise jointly supported by the DST and the Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC). Corinne Demenge, Head, Swiss Cooperation Office, Embassy of Switzerland in India, hoped that the assessments will contribute to the development of more targeted climate change projects and that they will support the implementation and the potential revisions of the State Action Plans on Climate Change. The assessments can further be used for India's reporting on the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. And finally, these assessments will support India's National Action Plan on Climate Change, she added. The assessment will help policy-makers in initiating appropriate climate actions. It will also benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.