340c. 270c. Sunrise: 06:12 am Sunset: 07:00 pm Jio, ByJu's in Time's firsT-ever lisT of 100 mosT influenTial cos Pg 7 HospiTals or deaTH Traps? celeBs speak aBouT govT’s decision To allow covid vax for 18+ age group Pg 20 Happiness is not in acquisition. Happiness is in inner realization. His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj Vol. 64 No. 308 | THURSDAY | APRIL 29, 2021 | 13 Pages | ` 4 | EDITIONS: MUMBAI*, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, E-Paper EDIT WORST-HIT STATE TO WAIT TILL MAY END Pg 15 PETROL ` 96.83 Per litre DIESEL ` 87.81 Per litre www.freepressjournal.in twitter.com/fpjindia Reg. No. Mcs/048/2018-20; RNI No. 1541/1957 M.p.c.s office Mumbai-400001 80 LAKH FANCY THEIR FREEDOM Shortage on vax front forces Maha Govt to defer rollout for 18-44 age group SANJAY JOG Mumbai There will be free vaccines for all adults at government hospitals but it's not going to be from May 1.The Maharashtra government has been forced to postpone the launch of its universal immunization drive for 5.71 crore people - those aged 18-44 years – to the end of May instead of May 1, for want of sufficient supply from the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech. The SII has orally communicated it can supply 1 to 1.50 crore doses of Covishield in phases only after May 20, while Bharat Biotech has con- veyed it can supply 85 lakh doses in phases - five lakhs in May 10 lakhs , each in June and July and 20 lakhs each in August, September and October. Earlier, the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday had okayed free vaccination for all those in the 18-44 age group. The government will shell out Rs 6,500 crore to procure 12 doses to vaccinate this age group. The resources will be mopped up from its kitty as both the finance and plan, ning departments have given their approval. “The state needs 12 crore doses to inoculate 5.71 crore citizens in the 18-44 age group. However, it is not possible to launch the drive from May 1 because of constraints in the procurement of vaccines. The government proposes to complete the vaccination in six months, after it gets the required doses. A committee comprising bureaucrats and doctors has been formed to decide on the vaccination of the 18-44 age group in sub-groups, such as 18-25, 25-35, 35-44. The committee will also look into whether citizens with comorbidities can be inoculated first,” said Tope. He added that the state had the capacity to administer two crore vaccines per month. Tope made it clear that the regis- tration on the CoWin portal was mandatory to confirm the date and time of the vaccination session and only after that could the vaccine be obtained. He further said people were not to queue up directly at the vaccination centres. He urged people to take precautions so that the vaccination centres themselves did not spread the coronavirus due to crowding. Only citizens above 45 years of age would be vaccinated at the centres where vaccination was currently underway There will be separate . vaccination centres for citizens for the18-44 age group, Tope said. CONTD. ON P12 FIRE, AS USUAL; 4 DIE Ward boy Sadiq Engineer showing where the short circuit started VOICES FAISAL TANDEL ‘Saw fire when I went to replace cylinder’ Sadiq Engineer, a ward boy in his 30s was on night duty. Having finished most of his work, he was sitting near the counter with another ward boy, Ramzan. “There was the sound of an ‘oxygen cylinder empty’ alarm, so I went out to replace it. Usually, we remove the empty one and connect the refill. I noticed a short circuit had resulted in a fire at the meter room of the hospital. I got the fire extinguisher and sprayed it on the fire but it was no use and the flames spread further inside the hospital. So, we went inside and almost used three more extinguishers to douse the fire, but by now, it had spread to the first floor and the fire brigade was called. The ground floor meter wires are connected to the first floor,” Sadiq explained. Locals helped them to carry out rescue work and later on, police and the fire brigade joined them. ‘Didn’t know it would be our last meeting’ “My mother blessed me and my wife, placing her hand on my head. We discussed our spiritual leaders and left the hospital at 10.30pm on Tuesday. I never thought it would be our last meeting and her last blessing,” says Niyaz Salami, the son of Halima Salami, a 70-year-old woman among the four dead in the Mumbra Prime Criticare hospital fire. ‘Was about to move father to hospital’ Another of the four dead was Harish Sonawane, 57, who was admitted in the hospital on Saturday with breathing problems. “He was undergoing treatment and as he had breathing problems, we had conducted a Covid test. On Tuesday, a positive report was received and doctors suggested that I shift my father to a Covid-19 hospital on Wednesday. In the morning the first news we heard was about the fire. My father was shifted to a Covid hospital, but before we could get a bed there, he was declared dead due to suffocation,” said Vishal Sonawane, waiting at the civic hospital to claim his father’s body. All the four bodies were sent to Chhatrapati Shivaji hospital in Kalwa for post mortem. CONTD. ON P12 Alert locals to the rescue Nashik Municipal Corporation after an oxygen tanker leaked. In March, fire broke out at a Covid hospital in Mumbai’s suburban Bhandup, which claimed nine lives. In January 10 in, fants died after a fire broke out at a special newborn care unit of the Bhandara district hospital in the Bhandara district of Vidarbha. According to the regional disaster management cell (RDMC), the fire broke out at 3.40am at Prime Criticare Hospital on the first floor of Hasnain Tower, Shimla Park on the old Mumbai-Pune Road in Kausa, Mumbra. The fire brigade, RDMC and Mumbra Police, along with locals, carried out the rescue operations. Five ambulances, Torrent officials, three fire engines, two water tankers and one rescue vehicle were rushed to the spot. Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad, MLA from the Mumbra-Kalwa constituency also visited the spot and , confirmed news of the four patients’ death in the incident. He said the reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained. “A committee will be formed to investigate the reason behind the fire. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the kin of the deceased,” said Awhad. CONTD. ON P12 FAISAL TANDEL Thane Four patients died of suffocation after fire broke out at a private hospital, a nonCovid facility housed in a seven-storey building in Mumbra early on Wednesday This is the fourth such . incident this year. The four were among the 20 patients who were rescued but died after being shifted to other hospitals in Mumbra. A short-circuit in the meter box of the hospital is suspected to have sparked the fire, according to preliminary inquiry . According to official sources, the hospital, located in a residential building, was not fire-compliant. Because of the short circuit, there was a power cut in the four wings of Hasnain Tower until Wednesday evening. The deceased have been identified as Yasmeen Zafar Sayyed, 46, Nawab Majid Shaikh, 47, Halima Salmani, 70, and Harish Sonawane, 57. A week ago, 15 Covid patients died in a fire in a hospital in the Virar area, around 50 km from Mumbai. On April 21, 24 Covid patients lost their lives at the Dr. Zakir Hussain Hospital run by the NATIONWIDE, nearly 80 lakh people applied for vaccination in three hours INITIALLY, when appointment slots were not available, beneficiaries were asked to be patient, understanding and check again AFTER the glitches were fixed, people said the site was working and appointments were being slotted CoWin sign-up is marred by snags, crash SWAPNIL MISHRA Mumbai Soon after registration began for vaccination of those aged 18 and above, the CoWin portal crashed on Wednesday Similar glitches . were also reported in the Aarogya Setu App. The complaints poured in from people who were either unable to load the CoWIN website or did not receive the OTPs -the key for logging into the platform. Many users took to social media and started sharing screenshots of hurdles they faced while attempting to schedule a date on the CoWin portal during the registration process. While some said they were seeing error messages while trying to register, a few others complained they were not receiving the OTP required to log in to CoWin on their phones. Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Mumbai Municipal Corporation on Wednesday said that the 73 vaccination centres in private hospitals would be increased to over 100 and they would cater to all those above 18 years of age. The civic body reiterated that along with this, 227 centres would be set up across all wards in the city for preventing overcrowding. GLITCHES over, the CoWIN site was getting almost 27 lakh hits a minute “I am not able to schedule a slot after getting registered. Is there anything that I am missing in the procedure?? @mygovindia @mybmc #Cowin #cowinregistration #mumbai,” tweeted @sunnysiroya. in some cases, it took as many as three attempts to complete the registration process on cowin.gov .in, but no appointment could be booked thereafter. While, registration is supposed to be through OTP sent to the mobile number entered by a user, despite receiving the OTP the , website was not allowing one to 'verify and proceed' even after entering the OTP . “ soon as the registration As started I tried to log in, but as the portal was sluggish, the OTP took its time and when we finally entered the OTP , the page showed ‘504 error’. After three attempts I managed to complete the registration process but couldn’t book an appointment slot as it fagged 'no slot available' for the next one week,” said Nikhil Mishra. “First you don't get the OTP and then once you are lucky enough to step inside the portal, you get to see what you haf-expected! Mumbai has no centres accepting #cowinregistration for 18+. TaDa” tweeted @brshah176. CONTD. ON P12 Lockdown till May 15 SANJAY JOG / Mumbai The Maharashtra Cabinet has unanimously decided to extend the lockdown from May 1 to May 15, to break the virus chain and also to use the window to ease the burden on medical and health infrastructure. Several MVA ministers had argued that reopening will spur infection and add to the caseload. The government will issue a formal notification on April 30. As reported by the Free Press Journal, several ministers, including Chhagan Bhujbal, Rajesh Tope, Vijay Wadettiwar and Uday Samant, made a strong case for extending the lockdown beyond May 1 saying that the relaxation in curbs will lead to crowding and growth in COVID 19 cases. ‘’The lockdown will be extended by 15 days," said Tope. A senior bureaucrat said the extension of lockdown will partially reduce pressure on the health machinery which is currently struggling to provide beds, oxygen, Remdesivir vials and other medicines. ‘’If the cases continue to diminish the government expects the daily demand for medical oxygen to come down to 800 to 900 metric tonnes from the present level of 1,700 MT plus. This will also reduce the pressure to arrange for tankers and procure cylinders,'' the bureaucrat explained. CONTD. ON P12 India surpasses 2 lakh fatalities ‘Charitable’ Adar cuts price OUR BUREAU New Delhi After a day's dip, the brutal second wave of Coronavirus continued with its onslaught, crossing the grim milestone of 2 lakh fatalities. It also recorded a new high of 3,60,960 cases in a single day in 24 hours ending at 8 AM, while the deaths hit the highest single-day tally of 3,293. India has seen more Covid cases in the last seven days than any other country though experts believe the ac, tual number is much higher. According to experts, the true toll could be double that or even higher as official agencies only count those who die in hospitals, and not the many patients left to die at home or in the streets. Also, some states are not logging fatalities as Covid-related if there is a comorbidity that contributed to the death. According to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejrilwal, the wave is being driven by a 'supremely contagious' variant of the disease which is causing more severe cases that take longer to recover from. In a dismal state of affairs, Delhi began converting dog crematorium sites to deal with Covid fatalities; this is in addition to public parks, car parking lots, and abandoned plots which are being used to dispose of the pile of bodies. Maharashtra, which witnessed a drop in daily fatalities to 524, showed the highest 895 deaths in the past 24 hours, followed by Delhi 381, Rajasthan 321, Uttar Pradesh 264, Gujarat 170, Karnataka 180 and Punjab 100. The positivity rate in Delhi stood t 32.72% as per the latest bulletin of Delhi government. This was the sixth day that Delhi recorded more than 300 deaths due to Coronavirus. CONTD. ON P12 FROM OUR BUREAU New Delhi Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest vaccine producer in the world, on Wednesday cut the price of Covishield to be supplied to the States to ₹300, instead of ₹400 per dose, as a "philanthropic gesture." The gesture came after widespread criti- Stop the loot, HC tries to rein in Yogi yet again blackmail: PIL LAST WORD SRAWAN SHUKLA / Lucknow T he Allahabad High Court has slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for its failure to control the second surge of coronavirus and urged the government yet again to impose a 14-day lockdown in the state. A two-member bench comprising Justice Siddharth Varma and Justice Ajit Kumar rejected the state government’s proposal on controlling the pandemic saying that the government should give up it’s “my way or no way” attitude and follow the court’s directives on tackling the situation. “It is shameful that the state government is failing to provide oxygen to patients dying due to the deadly virus,” rapped the High Court. Passing orders on a PIL, the two-member bench also pulled the State Election Commission (SEC) for its failure to enforce Covid-19 guidelines during the ongoing panchayat polls resulting in deaths of 135 government employees on poll duties. Issuing a notice to the SEC, the High Court warned that it will initiate criminal proceedings against the commission officials if they failed to persuade the people follow COVID guidelines and protocol during the last phase of panchayat polls. CONTD. ON P12 cism of its pricing policy and the Supreme Court putting the Centre on the mat, asking STAFF REPORTER / Mumbai Stating that the vaccine for Covid-19 virus is presumed to be an "essential" commodity and thus its management and distribution cannot be left in the hands of private companies, an advocate has approached the Bombay High Court seeking a uniform rate of Rs 150 for both the vaccines in India. The PIL filed by advocate Fayzan Khan and three other law students has sought a direction to the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Bharat Biotech, the manufacturers of Covishield and Covaxin, respectively to sell their products at Rs , 150 to both the Union as well as the state governments. Khan, in his PIL, has stated that the SII has decided to sell its vaccine at Rs 150 per dose (plus the GST) to the Union government. The company has further decided to sell the same vaccine to the state governments at the rate of Rs 400 per dose and Rs 600 for private hospitals. CONTD. ON P12 it to control the vaccine prices in two days. The reduction also came on the heels of a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court on Wednesday to fix the selling price of both Covaxin and Covishield at ₹150 per dose as agreed by the two vaccine makers in an initial deal with the Centre. CONTD. ON P12 SII CEO gets 'Y' category spl security NEW DELHI: Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla will get 'Y' category security across India, the Union government officials said on Wednesday The . Centre's decision came after Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs, at Punebased Serum Institute, Prakash Kumar Singh, wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah requesting for security In this letter, . Singh had submitted that Poonawalla was getting threats from various groups regarding the COVID-19 vaccine supplies.