11052021-TT-01.qxd 5/10/2021 11:37 PM Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | vol.141 no.129 | 12 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2021-2023 established in 1881 haryana BRITAIN LOWERS COVID ALERT LEVEL WORLD /thetribunechd VEHICLE REGISTRATION DIPS 30% IN FY21, SAYS FADA BUSINESS 16 NEW FACES IN MAMATA CABINET BACK PAGE /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com tuesday | 11 may 2021 2/3rds of ICU beds occupied; states told to ramp up infra as virus enters villages 48 bodies found near Ganga ghats in Buxar Aditi Tandon New Delhi, May 10 Nearly four dozen bodies were today found floating in the Ganga in Bihar’s western district Buxar, which borders Uttar Pradesh. A few bodies were found near the Mahadev and Simri cremation ghats on the banks of the Ganga in Chausa block. According to locals, who talked to The Tribune on phone, several bodies were seen floating from west to east (from UP to Bihar), while a few of them landed on the banks near the Mahadev and Simri ghats. “Even as the district administration has claimed that these bodies have come from the adjoining UP districts of Varanasi and Ghazipur with the flow of river water, a few of the bodies were seen tied to bamboo sticks, indicating that they had been abandoned by Tribune News Service New Delhi, May 10 Nearly two-thirds of India’s current Covid ICU bed capacity and more than half the available oxygen bed capacity has so far been utilised, indicates government data on Monday, with the Centre urging the states to fast-track the ramp up of hospital infrastructure as the disease burden of the second Covid wave grows. The central database shows there are in all 75,667 ICU beds in the country—50,408 in dedicated Covid hospitals and 25,459 in dedicated Covid health centres. The corresponding count for oxygen-supported beds is 1,54,993 and 1,00,175. In the latest meeting of the group of ministers held on Saturday, experts informed the government that 1.34 per 3.66 LAKH FRESH CASES TOTAL DEATHS Plasma use could trigger virulent variants: Experts ACTIVE CASES 2,46,116 37,45,237 NEW DELHI: Top Indian scientists and clini- 3,754 DEATHS IN 24 HOURS ODISHA REPORTS FIRST BLACK FUNGUS CASE Odisha has detected its first case of mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ in a 71-year-old Covid patient with a known history of uncontrolled diabetes, officials said on Monday. The patient, a resident of the Jajpur district, was admitted to a leading private hospital in Bhubaneswar. PTI 34 SERVING, RETD FACULTY DIE IN 18 DAYS AT AMU After 34 deaths among teachers and retired colleagues, the AMU V-C has written to the ICMR, urging it to study if a particular variant is circulating around the campus. PTI cent of the current active cases—37,45,237—were on ICU support and 1.34 per cent of Wailing family members at Nigambodh Ghat cremation ground in New Delhi. MUKESH AGGARWAL cians on Monday wrote to government Covid strategists, demanding removal of convalescent plasma therapy from national Covid clinical protocols and warned against possibilities of plasma use triggering virulent Covid variants. “Research evidence indicates there is no benefit offered by convalescent plasma for treatment of Covid-19. However, it continues to be prescribed rampantly in hospitals... Some early evidence indicated a possible association between emergence of variants with lower susceptibility to neutralising continued on back page ~8,923 CR RELEASED FOR RURAL BODIES IN 25 STATES, ~205 CR FOR PUNJAB The Centre has released ~8,923 crore to 25 states for providing grant to rural local bodies (RLBs). It may be used, among other things, to combat the pandemic. The grant released for 2021-22 includes ~205 cr for Punjab, ~187 cr for Haryana, ~63 crore for HP and ~85 crore for Uttarakhand. the active patients were on oxygen support. That translates to occupancy of 50,186 Covid ICU beds and 1,38,573 oxygen-supported beds. The occupancy rate for ICU beds stands at 66.3 per cent (two-thirds) as of today while continued on page 9 Tribune News Service Nepal PM Oli loses trust vote Tribune News Service Turmoil in neighbourhood New Delhi, May 10 India is closely watching the situation after terrorism and political unrest have rocked three countries in the neighbourhood with Nepal being the latest where a leadership tussle for the top post is being played out after Nepal PM KP Oli lost the vote of confidence in the House of Representatives on Monday. After a horrendous spell of killings over the fortnight that has left 150 dead in IN BRIEF Sun TV donates ~30 cr for fight against Covid NEW DELHI: Sun TV, owners of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, on Monday donated Rs 30 crore towards Covid-19 relief work being undertaken by the state and Centre along with various NGOs. — PTI Act against Sidhu, say 3 Punjab ministers CHANDIGARH: Cabinet ministers Brahm Mohindra, SS Arora and Sadhu S Dharamsot have asked the high command to act against Navjot Sidhu for his outburst. INSIDE NUMBER GAME ■ PM Oli secured 93 votes in the 275-member House ■ Required at least 136 as four members are under suspension ■ 124 voted against the motion while 15 stayed neutral ■ The session was attended by 232 lawmakers KP Oli Vibha Sharma Tribune News Service New Delhi, May 10 The Centre today said the switchover to the direct benefit transfer (DBT) of the MSP in Punjab has been “beyond expectations”, crediting the “smooth change” to state and Central governments and their procurement agencies. Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said of the total DBT of Rs 49,965 crore transferred directly into the accounts of NATIONWIDE ~49,965 cr PUNJAB HARYANA ~21,588 cr ~11,784 cr Solan, May 10 The Nalagarh SDM today directed the managements of industrial houses in the BaddiBarotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) area to strictly ensure that migrants have negative RTPCR test reports before they rejoin duty after leave of five days or more. Though the district admin- 2ND WAVE IN BBN AREA Total cases Cured Deaths Active cases 5,691 3,968 55 1,230 istration had directed the industrial managements in December last year to enforce this norm, it was observed that workers were being let in merely after a INS Trikand carrying a shipment of cryogenic containers with liquid medical oxygen from Qatar arrives in Mumbai. PTI 3 NAVAL WARSHIPS BRING 80 MT LIQUID OXYGEN I 4,300 O2 CYLINDERS INS Airavatarrived in Visakhapatnam from S’pore with 8 cryogenic tanks & 3,898 oxygen cylinders farmers across the country for procurement of wheat this rabi marketing season, Rs 21,588 has gone to those in Punjab and about Rs 11,784 crore to Haryana. Speaking to mediapersons, Pandey said both Punjab and Centre worked together to bring in the change. He also screened videos of “satisfied Punjab farmers” to make his point. Responding to a question on somewhat different “ground realities” and “pres- self-declaration note. SDM Mahinder Pal said, “It has also been made mandatory to upload these reports while seeking e-passes for the employees.” “In case the employees do not furnish these reports, they will have to undergo 14day mandatory quarantine before rejoining. The industrial associations have been continued on page 9 Pvt labs in Pb overcharging for RT-PCR test Ajay Joshi Tribune News Service Jalandhar, May 10 In spite of a cap on the price of RT-PCR tests by the Punjab Government, private laboratories and hospitals have been found overcharging. The state government has fixed Rs 450 for the RT-PCR test and Rs 300 for the rapid antigen test. However, pri- Price capped at ~450, but labs charge ~900-1,200 vate labs and hospitals in the district are charging Rs 900 to Rs 1,200 for the RT-PCR test. If the samples are collected from home, the charges are between Rs 800 and Rs 1,500. During a sting operation, Tagore Hospital charged Rs 900 for the RT-PCR while Atulya Lab asked for Rs 9001,200. Another lab near Doaba Chowk charged Rs 900. Phillaur resident Radhey (29), who got two of his family members tested, said he paid Rs 1,200 per head. Randeep Gill, public grievances officer with the district administration, said, “Based for fear of Covid, say locals ■ District admn claim corpses came with river current from UP Indian strain variant of concern, says WHO Decomposed bodies on the banks of Ganga in Buxar. PTI locals out of fear of Covid infection. Bodies coming from as far as 70 km away (from Varanasi) can get untied,” said Kalicharan Singh, a resident of Chausa block. He went on to add: “The cremation charges, which used to be between Rs 5,000 continued on page 9 United Nations, May 10 The B-1617 Covid variant, first identified in India, has been classified as a “variant of concern” at the global level by the WHO. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 technical lead at the WHO, said the variant had demonstrated increased transmissibility in some preliminary studies. “But we need much more information… so we need more targeted sequencing to be done, and to be shared in India and elsewhere so that we know how much of this virus is circulating,” she said. — PTI Tribune News Service In HP, Covid -ve report must for industrial labour rejoining work Tribune News Service NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police have issued a lookout notice against wrestler Sushil Kumar in connection with the Chhatrasal Stadium brawl that led to the death of a wrestler. — PTI DIRECT TRANSFER FOR WHEAT PROCUREMENT ■ May have been abandoned CWC defers party president’s election INS Trikand arrived in Mumbai, bringing 40 MT of liquid oxygen and other supplies from Qatar DBT in Pb a smooth show, says Food Secy Ambika Sharma Lookout notice against wrestler Sushil Kumar Afghanistan and a murderous attack on Maldives Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, Nepal was headed for political uncertainty after its Prime Minister KP Oli was beaten in the vote of confidence by a formidable combination of Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and Janata Samajbadi Party. The leaders of the three parties have asked President Bidya Devi Bhandari to start the process of appointing a continued on page 9 COVID FEAR on the videos provided to the Deputy Commissioner by The Tribune, we have issued notices to the hospital and the lab concerned.” The DC, Ghanshyam Thori, said action would be taken against guilty labs and hospitals. In March, an FIR was registered against Atulya Lab for allegedly charging Rs 1,500 for the RT-PCR test. sure” on farmers due to strong ‘arhtiya links’, Pandey said: “No change is very smooth, but this change has been much beyond our expectations, smoother. Both Punjab and Central governments worked together to ensure that. Arhtiyas also realised their commission is intact, and that the government is committed to providing it to them.” “They (arhtiyas) may be having arrangements with continued on page 9 INS Kolkata reached New Mangalore with 2 oxygen containers & 47concentratorsfromQatar,Kuwait TRAIN SERVICES OFF ■ Services between Banihal- Baramulla section in J&K suspended till May 16 ■ In Himachal, Kalka-Shimla rail motor special suspended ■ Services on 120-km Kangra valley narrow gauge rail line off ■ Before Covid crisis, seven trains on this route daily covered 33 stations, like Nurpur, Jwali, Kangra, Nagrota Bagwan, Chamunda, Palampur, Baijnath and Jogindernagar, all tourist attractions ■ The Railways will review the situation after a fortnight Sexual assault: SKM forms panel for women plaints New Delhi, May 10 Elections to the post of Congress president were deferred temporarily in the wake of Covid pandemic with the party’s working committee on Monday unanimously deciding in favour of postponing the internal organisational poll. The CWC resolution said: “In view of the nationwide emergent conditions prevailing on account of unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, the CWC was unanimous that all our energies should be channelised towards saving every life and helping every Covid-affected person. The CWC, therefore, unanimously resolved to defer the elections temporarily.” After a three-hour meeting that reviewed Congress’ electoral reverses in Kerala, Assam, Puducherry and West Bengal, party president Sonia Gandhi said she would in the next 48 hours form a committee to go into all aspects of electoral defeats and report back to the CWC. Former PM Manmohan Singh and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi were absent from the meeting. Digvijay Singh questioned Congress PANEL TO ANALYSE POLL RESULTS I intend to set up a small group to look at every aspect that caused poll reverses and report back very quickly. ❝ Sonia Gandhi, CONGRESS CHIEF AZAD, ANAND SHARMA QUESTION POLL PACTS ■ Veterans Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma questioned the alliance strategy, with Sharma urging for inclusive inner party consensus on poll pacts ■ Azad asked who had approved the pact with radical Indian Secular Front in WB ■ Sharma also spoke of the need for ‘tolerance to debate’ within the Congress alliance with Muslim outfits in Bengal, Kerala and Assam saying elections should “not have been polarised.” Tribune News Service Jhajjar, May 10 Following an alleged sexual assault case involving a 25year-old West Bengal woman at Tikri border, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday decided to form an internal complaints committee where female protesters would be able to lodge their complaints. Morcha leader Hannan Maula said this during a virtual interaction with the media in connection with the sexual assault case. The woman had died of Covid on April 30, but her father later lodged a police complaint that she was allegedly sexually assaulted by two men, Anil Malik and Anup Singh, who ran a farm outfit, Kisan Social Army. Reiterating the SKM’s support for the victim’s family, Maula said they would ensure continued on back page Covid cremation norms being flouted in Rohtak Amid pandemic, Punjab fires 1,400 NHM workers Ravinder Saini Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Rohtak, May 10 With reports emerging that Covid patients dying in home isolation were being cremated without following due procedure, Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar today asked the municipal authorities to ensure strict adherence to the government protocol. Kumar, also the chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority, has ordered deployment of police personnel at crematoriums. The families of patients passing away in home quarantine are learnt to be conducting their last rites without informing the local BLAMED FOR SPIKE ■ Home isolation patients are being cremated at nonCovid crematoriums ■ Administration sees it as a reason for the spread of cases in the district ■ Officials have asked to ensure strict compliance with norms administration. The factor is being blamed for the recent surge in cases in the city and other parts of the district. It could also have a link to the sharp rise in the number of cremations at non-Covid crematoriums in the city over the past fortnight. The administration has designated two continued on page 9 Chandigarh, May 10 As Punjab grapples with the pandemic, the state government today terminated the services of 1,400 protesting contract employees working under the National Health Mission (NHM). At least 3,000 employees on strike for the past one week, demanding regular jobs, were asked to join work by 10 am today or their services would be terminated. The National Health Mission Director said the strike posed a threat to the lives of the people amid the raging pandemic. District civil surgeons have been asked to recruit staff. INSIDE
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).