YK MYK WEATHER TODAY MAX 25 C MIN 12 C FOR OPPN, 2021 SHOULD BE TAKEN AS THE YEAR OF VIGOROUS RENEWAL OPINION Sky will be partly cloudy. KOLKATA SATURDAY, 2 JAN, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—226 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) INTENSE COLD WAVE TO HIT NORTH INDIA FROM JAN 7, SAYS MET DEPT NEW DELHI: Cold wave in North India will continue till January 2 and it will get intense from next week, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday. The weather department also predicted light rain in eastern Rajasthan, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana between January 2 and January 6. “Cold wave will continue in north India tomorrow. From January 2, the cold spell will decrease. Light rain is expected in eastern Rajasthan, Delhi, western UP, Punjab and Haryana between January 2 and January 6,” IMD senior scientist RK Jenamani told ANI. NATION Morning India Rs. 3 AT A GLANCE NORTHERN PLAINS COLDER THAN ‘QUEEN OF HILLS’ Oxford-AstraZeneca PM lays foundation for vax cleared by 1008 houses for urban poor expert panel, DCGI CM HEMANT SOREN URGES MODI TO HIKE CENTRAL SHARE RAJ KUMAR RANCHI: Rs 7 lakh is too much for the poor to pay for a flat with an area of 315 square feet in Jharkhand capital, said Chief Minister Hemant Soren. So, the chief minister on Friday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider increasing the share of central funds under the Light House Project, initiated by the Union government for the economically weaker section (urban poor) during the online foundation stone laying ceremony. Modi laid the foundation for LHPs in Ranchi and five other cities in the first phase. As many as 1008 houses will come up in Ranchi's Dhurwa area on about seven acres of land with an estimated budget of Rs 133.99 crore. Other cities included Indore, Rajkot, Chennai, Agartala, and Lucknow. As per the modalities of this scheme, besides central and state's share, every bene- ficiary will have to invest about Rs 7 lakh to avail the house. Soren believed that the individual's share amount is beyond the reach of the poor in the state. He said, "Dear sir, you are aware of the poverty in this MONDAL TAKES OVER AS NEW CHAIRPERSON OF SAIL NEW DELHI: Soma Mondal on Friday took over as the new chairperson of PSU maharatna Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). She takes over from Anil Kumar Choudhary who superannuated a day earlier. Mondal has the distinction of not only being the first woman functional director of SAIL but also the first woman chairperson. A graduate in electrical engineering from National Institute of Technology in Rourkela during 1984, she has over 35 years of experience in the metal industry. Mondal started her career as a graduate engineer trainee at NALCO and rose through the ranks to become director (commercial) in 2014. In March 2017, she joined SAIL as director (commercial). CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,02,95,960 TOTAL DEATH: 149,148 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 84,070,273 TOTAL DEATH: 1,830,141 state. The poor in Jharkhand will find it difficult to spend Rs 7 lakh. I urge you to increase the central share so that the individual's investment amount can come down." Urban Development Department officials said that anyone earning up to Rs 3 lakh per annum will be eligible for this scheme. Director of municipal administration under state urban development department, Vijaya Jadhav speaking to reporters on Thursday said that the idea of LHPs is to offer state of art houses at affordable rates which are to be built in record time using the latest technology. "In Ranchi, the houses will be built using prefabricated structures, most of which will first be constructed at the work stations and will be brought here to just customize it to make houses. This way, the technology will be easy to install houses quickly and at the same time will reduce environmental hazards," she said. On the size of the houses, she said that each flat will be 315 sq feet having a bedroom, kitchen, balcony, and toilet. "There will also be water and power facilities, lifts, park,s and other facilities in the complex," she said, adding that Rs 133.99 crore is earmarked for this project. The department has roped in a Mumbai based agencyM/s SGC Magicrete LLP for the job and set a target of completing works in 12 months. CCMB TO ASSESS AYURVEDA'S EFFICACY AGAINST CORONAVIRUS Kolkata Zoo at Friday. Prabir BHATTACHARYA HYDERABAD: The CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad has entered into an agreement with Arya Vaidya Sala (AVS), Kottakkal to check for the efficacy of ayurvedic formulations in the fight against coronavirus. AVS will provide standardised ayurveda formulations, and the CCMB will test them on the lab-grown coronavirus strains in cell culture system, and check for their anti-viral efficacy. AVS is a 118-yearold charitable institution headquartered at Kerala's Kottakkal which has been engaged in the practice and propagation of Ayurveda. They have manufactured more than 500 formulations. The CCMB is a premier life science research institute, and it has been testing, sequencing and growing coronavirus strains in their labs. "If it yields tangible results, the project will lead to a major progress in pharmaceutical industry in India. While India possesses a lot of ancient wisdom, it has lacked defined regulatory protocols for testing the efficacy of formulations that are based on the ancient texts," CCMB Director Dr Rakesh Mishra said. clearance awaited NEW DELHI: India is one step away from its first coronavirus vaccine, with the nod of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) awaited on the Subject Expert Committee's recommendation for emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine. According to official sources, the panel's recommendation, which came at its meeting here on Friday, has been sent to DCGI V.G. Somani for approval. The approval will pave the way for the vaccine's rollout in India, which also has the highest number of infections in the world, after the US. The rollout will begin from January 6, according to ministry sources. The UK and Argentina have already approved Covishield. More than five crore doses of the vaccine have already been stockpiled by its manufacturer, the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The expert panel had convened a meeting on Friday afternoon to take a call on the emergency use authorisation sought by the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech for their coronavirus vaccine candidates. Recommendations on latter's application is still awaited. The Serum Institute had partnered with OxfordAstraZeneca for conducting clinical trials and manufacturing 'Covishield' while Bharat Biotech has collaborated with the Indian Council CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC of Medical Research (ICMR) to make 'Covaxin'. America's Pfizer was the first one to apply for the accelerated approval on December 4, followed by Serum and Bharat Biotech on December 6 and 7, respectively. Pfizer has, however, sought more time to present the data. As India await a silver bullet against coronavirus with bated breath, the DCGI, on Thursday, hinted at the approval of vaccine and said that the country will have a "Happy New Year with something in hand". The meeting of the expert panel came a day before dry run of the vaccine is slated to commence in all the states and Union Territories to equip the administration in management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management. The Central government plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of drive. It will be offered to one crore healthcare workers. ‘India-UK flight services Will have to take firm steps if talks with govt on Jan 4 fail: Farmer unions to resume from Jan 8’ NEW DELHI: Resolute in their demands for the repeal of three new farm laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops, protesting farmer unions on Friday said they will have to take firm steps if the government does not take a decision in their favour in the next meeting scheduled for January 4. Addressing a press conference at the Singhu border protest site, farmer leaders warned of multiple actions if their main demands are not met. They said that only five per cent of the issues raised by them have so far been discussed in meetings with the government. "If the January 4 meeting with the government fails to Farmers carry the body of fellow farmer who lost his life during a protest against farm law, at Ghazipur border in New Delhi on Friday. ANI end the deadlock, we will announce dates for shutting all malls, petrol pumps in Haryana," farmer leader Vikas told reporters. Farmers protesting at Shahjahanpur on the Haryana-Rajasthan border will also move towards the national capital, Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said. Another leader Yudhveer Singh said that a tractor march will be held on January 6 if no concrete decision is taken in the next round of talks. After the sixth round of formal negotiations on Wednesday, the government and farm unions reached some common ground to resolve protesting farmers' concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP. After the talks between three union ministers and a 41-member representative group of thousands of farmers protesting on Delhi borders, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said at least 50 per cent resolution has been reached with mutual agreement on two out of four items on the agenda and discussions would continue on the remaining two on January 4 at 2 PM. Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at various borders of the national capital for more than a month against these three new laws. NEW DELHI: The flight operations between India and the United Kingdom, which have been banned due to the emergence of new strain of coronavirus, will be resumed from January 8 till 23, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday. "It has been decided that flights between India and the UK will resume from January 8, 2021. Operations till January 23 will be restricted to 15 flights per week each for carriers of two countries to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad only," the Minister said in a tweet. On December 30, the Ministry had decided to extend the temporary suspension of flights to and from the UK till January 7. The government has imposed a ban on flights coming to India from the UK with effect from December 22 in the view of a new strain of COVID-19 detected in the UK. According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a total of 20 people have been found in the country with the mutant variant of SARS- CoV-2 virus found in the UK. Meanwhile, the Government of India extended the suspension of scheduled commercial international flights till January 31, 2021 in the wake of COVID19. However, restrictions shall not apply on special flights and international air cargo operations approved by the Director General of Civil Aviation. How scientists studied coughs to model COVID-19 spread NEW DELHI: When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, IITBombay Professor Rajneesh Bhardwaj was studying how droplets evaporated for applications in spray cooling and inkjet printing, and his collaborator Amit Agrawal was working on point-of-care medical devices and electronic cooling. But once it became clear that the pandemic was mainly spreading through cough and sneeze aerosols from infected individuals, the duo began applying their knowledge to understand the evaporation of respiratory droplets from surfaces and the spread of cough clouds. "Our plans were to continue in the domain of thermal and fluid engineering. However, the pandemic came as an opportunity to diversify and explore other research areas. We thought of extending and applying our knowledge to several unanswered questions in the context of COVID- 19," Agrawal, Institute Chair Professor from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, IITBombay, told PTI. Bhardwaj and Agrawal, both experts in the field of fluid mechanics, said their understanding of the motion of fluids helped them model how the novel coronavirus spread. "Air and water are the most common fluids, and also the carrier of most viruses and bacteria, it is not that surprising that the subject is playing an important role in understanding and managing the current pandemic," Bhardwaj told PTI. Numerous studies, over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, applied principles of fluid mechanics to provide scores of important insights about the distance over which different size respiratory droplets travel, the safe distance between people, and the efficacy of various types of masks in reducing the transfer of contaminated droplets. Scientists also probed into the process by which larger droplets underwent evaporation and subsequently precipitation to turn into microdroplets called aerosols. "During this process, big droplets settle on the ground after a short distance in flight while the smaller ones remain airborne for a longer period forming aerosols," explained Saptarshi Basu, from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. "In short, the entire story of droplets leading to infections is a fluid dynamics problem," Basu, Chair Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, told PTI. Two studies by Basu and his team, both published in the journal Physics of Fluids, applied fluid dynamics experiments to show how the respiratory droplets dried and formed aerosols, and how virus particles are distributed within them. According to the IISc scientist, factors such as people's mask wearing behaviour, social distancing, population density, and movement of individuals contribute significantly to the infection rate and severity in a region. However, he believes some of the primary contributors include how respiratory droplets evaporate after ejection, how far they travel, and how they disperse. "All the above control how droplets can infect other people and norms like safe distance for social distancing," said Basu, who has been studying the physics of droplets in applications ranging from 3D printing, surface patterning, combustion, and biomedical engineering. As economies slowly opened across the world post lockdowns, and travel restrictions eased, scientists and engineers also applied fluid mechanics to shed light on the indoor spread of the coronavirus. Scientists, led by Verghese Mathai from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, US, performed computer simulations to understand the aerosol spread of the coronavirus inside car cabins. "I had gained industrial experience with this specific type of computational fluid dynamics simulations while I was in India, and my suggestion to use these simulations was primarily motivated by the fact that we could not perform experiments due to the stay-at-home orders, and the pandemic situation required results with a short turnaround time," Mathai said. The scientists could quickly apply principles used to test flows inside an aircraft engine and suggest the safest way to prevent possible transmission of COVID19 when people travel in cars in a study published in the journal Science. "This is an excellent example of how the pandemic made researchers revisit their complementary skills and come together to work on an important topic," Mathai said. "So this simulation approach can be extended to trains or buses and we can answer important questions about airflows and aerosol type of particles. We can also look into confined buildings, or long queues of people and how potentially pathogen laden airflows around them might get diluted," he said.