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Delhi’s cremation crisis resolved as MCD reserves more crematoriums

Sabyasachi Roy Choudhury

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With the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the national capital, the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) have been facing heavy blows of the cremation crisis. Reserved for Covid-19 funerals, the Punjabi Bagh cremation ground, on Thursday reached its maximum capacity and had to divert dead bodies to other centres. To tackle this problem in the long run, the South MCD has increased the number of Covid-19 reserved crematorium centres so that people who have lost their relatives do not have to wait longer. It is also planning to announce rewards for the workers deployed in the crematorium centres as they are highly exposed to chances of infection.

 The same issue was also raised by Lok Nayak Hospital which is the largest corona-only hospital of the Delhi government. On Thursday until 4 pm, 34 bodies were brought to the hospital’s mortuary, putting the staff under immense pressure. The hospital, on special request, directed the bodies to the cremation grounds in Nigambodh Ghat, Mangolpuri, ITO and Panchkuian Road. Despite this, 23 bodies were still remaining in the mortuary.

 Standing committee Head of South MCD, Bhupender Gupta said, “The cremation crisis has been resolved now. Previously, we had Punjabi Bagh, Lodhi estate, Kotla, ITO and Madanpuri Khadar crematoriums. Now we have declared two more crematories for disposal of Covid-19 bodies only. The capacity of these venues has been increased to 150-200 but yes, 1-1.5 hours time is required for creating one body. Earlier, everyone at the Punjabi Bagh cremation ground wanted to perform the last rites of their relatives in CNG-furnaces which is time consuming so we have replaced it with wooden furnaces to deal with the rising crisis.”

“We are prepared for the coming times and as directed by the government, we have marked crematory grounds which are away from human habitat. Monetary and nonmonetary incentive ideas for the people working in the cremation grounds have also been thought about to increase their courage. They are taking all precautions, wearing PPE kits and regular sanitization is mandatory,” Gupta added.

A senior official of the South MCD said, “Till recently, the MCD facilities had a capacity to perform 95 funerals as per COVID protocol per day. This has now been increased to 360. We have also reorganised our structure on the basis of which hospital will be sending bodies to which facilities to ensure people are not forced to wait. Now, bodies from Lok Nayak Hospital will be sent to Nigambodh Ghat instead of Punjabi Bagh. There are clear instructions not to refuse anyone.”

Out of Delhi’s 13 cremation grounds, 4 graveyards and 1 cemetery, a total of 6 cremation grounds, 4 burial grounds and 1 cemetery have been authorised to conduct the last rites of COVID-19 positive or suspected cases. Protocols issued by the centre have to be strictly followed in these reserved crematoriums. The option of wood-based cremations as per COVID protocol have been allowed by the MCDs at 6 new places – Inder Puri, Mangolpuri, Beri Wala Bagh, Seemapuri, Wazirpur and Ghazipur cremation grounds.

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Bank licences to corporates a ‘bad idea’: Rajan

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New Delhi: Days after an Internal Working Group (IWG) of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) recommended allowing large Indian corporates to enter the banking sector, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and Deputy Governor Viral Acharya have hit back at the suggestion and questioned the timing for it. Terming the recommendation as a “bombshell”, in a blogpost, they said that although several recommendations of the report are worth adopting the one to allow corporate houses into banking should not be taken up. “To the contrary, it is even more important today to stick to the tried and tested limits on corporate involvement in banking,” said the article.

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Foreign Secretary to visit Nepal on 26 November

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Kathmandu: Resuming the high-level visit and exchanges with Nepal, India is sending its top diplomat to Kathmandu on 26 November. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will pay an official visit to the Himalayan country on November 26-27, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday. The announcement was made in New Delhi too. The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two neighbours and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in its statement. Shringla’s visit comes after two back-to-back high-level visits from new Delhi by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane (November) and Research and Analysis Wing head Samant Goel (October).

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Market opens higher, Sensex hits fresh high

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Mumbai: The key Indian equity indices opened in the green on Monday with the BSE Sensex touching a new record high within just minutes into the trade. Healthy buying was witnessed in metal, energy and oil and gas stocks. Sensex touched an all-time high of 44,271.15 points. The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 12,930.85, higher by 71.80 points or 0.56 per cent from its previous close.

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Covid-19: Vibrant Gujarat summit may be postponed

Abhijit Bhatt

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The biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, organised by the Gujarat government to attract investors, is unlikely to be held this year, due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in Gujarat. The summit, considered the foremost among all industrial summits of Gujarat, may be postponed till January 2021.

A senior Gujarat government official told The Daily Guardian that Vibrant Gujarat would be held in the first or second week of January. However, given the pandemic situation at the moment, it is difficult to say whether the summit will take place in just a month and half’s time for sure. However, an official decision is yet to be taken. No announcements have been made about cancelling the January event.

Narendra Modi started the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2003 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat to attract foreign investors to the state.

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Military storage bunkers spotted in Chinese village near Doklam

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NEW DELHI: China’s new villages close to the Line of Actual Control, meant ostensibly for settling civilians from far-flung areas close to the border, are part of strategy to enhance its military infrastructure in the area, top sources said.

One such village has also come up near Doklam where military storage facilities have been observed, as per intelligence reports. Construction of the new hardened bunkers appears to be an effort at militarily reinforcing the larger Doklam region, the source said.

There are dozens of similar settlements along the LAC, most of them coming up in areas facing Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Part of their integrated model villages that the Chinese intend to put to dual use – for civil and military purposes, some villages however remain uninhabited and are only turning out to increase military infrastructure to cater to additional deployment of the People’s Liberation Army.

Shelters have also come up at Bumdro which is opposite Kameng. Six to seven concrete huts have been constructed at Bumdro near Domsongrong to accommodate PLA personnel during their patrolling activity in Mera La, Thag La and Yangtse Area.

China has also constructed a road from Tirkangto Shivung La. The work was being undertaken from uphill side of Tirkang village in the south west direction towards Shiyung La.

IANS

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Farmers’ union refuses to budge, Punjab CM expresses concern

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CM Captain Amarinder Singh.

Expressing serious concern over the decision of one farmers’ union not to allow passenger trains to ply till the Centre accedes to their demands on the issue of farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said this would put the people to major inconvenience and could have grave consequences for the state.

Reacting to the announcement of Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) that they would not budge on their rail blockade of passenger trains till the farm laws’ issue is resolved, the Chief Minister said that, by striking this discordant note, the union was acting against the interests of Punjab and its people.

When all the other 31 farmers’ organisations had decided unanimously to withdraw from the tracks to allow both goods and passenger trains to move in the state for the next 15 days, this one union’s decision was not understandable, said Captain Amarinder, adding that this would alienate Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) from the people.

He cautioned the Committee against taking such a harsh stand, which could lead to them losing the support of the masses, who had so far wholeheartedly backed the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws. “When the state government and every person in Punjab has been extending their full support to the farmers, why is this Union taking a stance against their own state?” he asked.

Given that both the Centre and the other farmers’ unions had taken conciliatory steps to resolve the crisis triggered by the agricultural laws, the Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) should not do anything to derail the process of negotiation and discussion, he added. It was in the interest of all, including the farmers themselves, to find a solution to the problems unleashed by the central laws, on which every section of Punjab’s populace, as well as his government, was standing shoulder to shoulder with the farming community, said the Chief Minister.

The message that was emanating from the stand of the Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) was that the union was not really interested in breaking the stalemate on the farm laws issue, Captain Amarinder said. In any case, said the Chief Minister, blocking a one-odd track would serve no purpose even for the Committee, which, incidentally, had chosen to stay away from the meeting convened by him on Saturday to urge the farm unions to lift their blockade.

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