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Former Himachal Pradesh Minister Sujan Singh Pathania passes away

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Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], February 12 (ANI): Former Himachal Pradesh Minister and Congress MLA from Fatehpur in Kangra, Sujan Singh Pathania passed away on Friday aged 78.
He breathed his last on Friday morning after remaining ill for a long time.
Pathania was re-elected to the thirteenth Vidhan Sabha for the seventh term in December 2017 and nominated as Member Public Accounts and Human Development Committees.
He was first elected to the Himachal Pradesh State Legislative Assembly in 1977 and re-elected in 1990, 1993, 2003 November 2009 (by-election) from Jawali Assembly Constituency and in 2012 from Fatehpur Assembly Constituency.
He served as Himachal Pradesh Minister of State for Agriculture (Independent charge) from 1995 to 98 and Transport Minister from August 2007 to December 2007.
The Congress leader also served as Power Minister with an additional charge of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, Agriculture from December 2012 to December 2017. (ANI)

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Kerala NCP to finalise candidates after seat sharing with LDF: Saseendran

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], February 28 (ANI): Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will initiate the candidate selection for Kerala polls after seat-sharing with Left Democratic Front (LDF) is finalised, said State Transport Minister and NCP leader AK Saseendran on Sunday.
Speaking to the media in Kochi during NCP’s state executive meeting, Saseendran said the key factor while choosing the candidate will be their chances of victory in the upcoming polls.
“The seats which the NCP is contesting will be decided after discussion in the LDF. After that, we will meet and decide on the candidates. It needs the approval of the central leadership. The key factor of a candidate is the chances of victory. Giving seats to newcomers will also be discussed,’ he said.
When asked if he will be contesting in the upcoming, the NCP leader said, “It is up to the party to decide whether I will contest or not. Whatever the party decides, I will be happy.”
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6.
The tenure of the 14th Kerala legislative assembly will come to an end on June 1, 2021. A total of 2,67,88,268 electors will elect the candidates in Kerala for the 15th legislative assembly.
For Assembly poll 2021, the number of polling booths in Kerala has been extended from 21,498 to 40,771. The counting of votes will be held on May 2.
According to the commission, of the 140 Assembly seats, 14 seats are reserved for SC category and two are reserved for ST category candidates. (ANI)

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3 killed after car falls into ditch in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu

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Kullu (Himachal Pradesh) [India], February 28 (ANI): Three people were killed after their car fell into a ditch near Marogi in Kullu district on Sunday morning.
The bodies were taken out by the police officials and sent for post-mortem in a hospital in Mandi.
The accident occurred around 6 am today when the three persons were moving towards Kullu from IIT Kamand. They were riding a Tata Tiago vehicle, which fell 800 meters in the ditch.
The deceased were identified as Delhi residents – Harveen Sandu, 34 years, Ramesh Chander, 49 years and Yogesh.
“After receiving information, a police team also reached the spot, informed their relatives and have registered a case,” informed Lokander Negi, DSP, Mandi.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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Contempt plea moved in Delhi HC against IHBAS for not filling pending vacancies

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By Sushil Batra
New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): A contempt petition has been moved in Delhi High Court for initiating the contempt of proceedings against the Officers of Central/Delhi Government and Director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) for allegedly not willfully complying the court’s directions to tackle the shortage of doctors at IHBAS.
The plea has been filed by lawyer and social activist Amit Sahni alleging that the order passed by Delhi High Court on September 2, 2020 asking to fill pending vacancies at IHBAS, is not being adhered by the concerned authorities. The contempt petition will be heard by Justice Najmi Waziri on Monday.
Plea states, IHBAS, the premier mental health and neurosciences institute of the country has been suffering from an acute shortage of doctors as it is functioning with 24 doctors against the sanctioned strength of 103.
It also states that the petitioner had made a representation in August last year for filling the pending vacancies of faculty and other medical staff at IHBAS, but no action was taken.
It added that the petitioner had earlier too approached the court and division bench of Delhi High Court.
“The division bench had on September 2, 2020, directed the concerned respondent authorities to treat this writ petition as a representation and to look into the grievances ventilated by the petitioner in this petition in accordance with law, rules regulations and government policies applicable to the facts of the case. Court had also said that, we expect that the concerned respondent authorities shall fill up the vacancies as early as possible and practicable,” the plea said.
The petition states that even the Faculty Association of IHBAS (FAI) also took note of the situation on January 29, 2021, in its minutes of the meeting. They brought the grievance regarding the shortage of doctors at 23 per cent which is leading to over-burdening the existing faculty members.
FAI also noted that even pursuant to the directions of Delhi High Court to fill vacancies as early as possible, nothing has happened till date, the plea said.
It added that the shortage of faculty and staff is a matter of serious concern and despite the directions of this Court, the grievance raised by the petitioner has not been addressed even after five months.
The National Medical Commission considering the assessment report dated August 31, 2020 declined to recommend the recognition of the DM (Neurology) Course of the Institute due to deficiencies of Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor, plea said. (ANI)

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6 states continue to report surge in fresh COVID-19 cases

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): As many as six states including Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat – have shown a surge in new cases in the last 24 hours, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday.
According to the Ministry, 86.37 per cent of the new cases are from these six states. As many as 16,752 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours.
Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 8,623. It is followed by Kerala with 3,792 while Punjab reported 593 new cases.
Tamil Nadu continues to report 486 cases, Karnataka reported 523, while Gujarat reported 451 new cases.
The Centre has been engaging with the states and UTs exhibiting a higher caseload of active cases and those reporting a spike in the daily new COVID-19 cases.
The Cabinet Secretary reiterated that states need to maintain a continued rigorous vigil in terms of containing the spread and not squander away the gains of the collective hard work of the last year.
“They were advised not to lower their guard, enforce COVID appropriate behaviour and deal firmly with violations. It was strongly underlined that they need to follow effective surveillance strategies in respect of potential super spreading events,” the Ministry said.
The Centre has also deputed high-level multi-disciplinary teams to Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir to ascertain reasons for the surge and coordinate with the State Health Departments in COVID-19 control and containment measures.
84.96 per cent of the new deaths in the six states- Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. India reported 113 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Moreover, a total of 1.07 cr people has recovered so far. 11,718 patients have recovered and got discharged in the last 24 hours, while 84.19 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in six states.
According to the Health Ministry, India is all set to start the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination on March 1, 2021, for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
To ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination capacity, around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY and more than 600 private hospitals under the Central Government Health Scheme will be utilised.
Other private hospitals empanelled under State Govts Health Insurance Scheme can also participate as COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs). (ANI)

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Kumbh Mela 2021: Indian Raiways sets up centralised control room in Haridwar

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Haridwar (Uttarakhand) [India], February 28 (ANI): A centralised hi-tech control room has been set up by Indian Raiways at Haridwar railway station ahead of Kumbh Mela 2021, informed Senior divisional commercial manager of Moradabad railway division on Saturday.
“A centralised control room has been set up at Haridwar railway station ahead of Kumbh Mela 2021. All the nearby railway stations have been connected through CCTV, with their feed being streamed at this control room. A telephone line has also been set up at the centre,” they said.
The preparations are underway for Kumbh Mela 2021 to be held from 1st to 30th April in Haridwar.
The Uttarakhand government has decided to limit the Kumbh this year to 30 days due to pandemic.
Officers in charge of the Kumbh Mela said that those who attend the religious congregation should do prior registration at a portal and should have a COVID-19 negative report.
Kumbh Mela is not only a religious pilgrimage, but one of the largest mass gatherings at one place. It is celebrated four times over a course of 12 years and spans four locations namely Prayagraj, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.
The Maha Kumbh is celebrated in a cycle of 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites across India. (ANI)

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Pune extends night curfew till March 14; Schools to remain shut

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (ANI): In view of the spike in COVID-19 cases in Pune, the Pune district administration on Sunday extended the night curfew and shutdown of schools till March 14.
The essential services are exempted from the curfew.
“COVID-19 restrictions imposed in the Pune city till February 28 have been extended to 14 March,” said Murlidhar Mohol Mayor Pune.
“As per the new order issued today, schools, colleges and private coaching classes in the city have to remain closed till March 14,” Mohol said.
“No public movement except essential services will be allowed between 11 pm and 6 am,” he added.
In Pune, the total number of cases are 4,06,453, total recoveries are 3,87,527. The active cases in Pune till Saturday are 9860 while the death toll is at 9235.
The State Health Department informed on Saturday that Maharashtra reported 8,623 new COVID-19 cases, 3,648 recoveries, and 51 deaths in the last 24 hours,
The COVID-19 death toll reached 1,56,938 on Saturday with additional 113 deaths.
Earlier Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had directed senior officials to take strict action against people or organisations who flout COVID-19 guidelines.
The chief minister directed the municipalities in the state to spray disinfectant at public places regularly. (ANI)

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