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INDIA SETS ANOTHER COVID-19 RECORD AS PM MODI MEETS CMS

Country registers 126,789 fresh coronavirus cases in 24 hours as PM Narendra Modi tells CMs to focus on micro-containment zones, vaccination.

Aishvarya Jain

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With India registering 1,26,789 fresh Covid cases in 24 hours, setting another one-day record in battling the second wave of infections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday interacted with the Chief Ministers of states and Union Territories via video conference to take stock of the Covid-19 situation.

The Chief Ministers gave feedback about the Covid situation in their states. The total deaths shot up to 1,66,862 with 685 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases since the first recorded infection in India in January last year now stands at over 1.29 crore.

PM Modi said, “Instead of calling it a night curfew, we should call it ‘Corona curfew’. I want to appeal to all CMs to go for pro-active testing so that we can track asymptomatic patients.” He added, “April 11 is Jyotiba Phuleji’s birth anniversary and April 14 is Baba Saheb’s birth anniversary, in the meantime, let us all celebrate ‘Tika Utsav’.” Notably, PM Modi was administered the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine at AIIMS.

“Our emphasis should be on micro-containment zone, we have to keep the maximum focus on it,” the PM said at the meeting of Chief Ministers.

“The world has also accepted the night curfew. Curfew makes people remember that they are living in the age of corona. It is good that we promote night curfew as ‘Corona curfew’. This will not affect work too much,” the PM said.

Setting a target of 70 per cent RT-PCR tests for the states, the PM said this is the only way to identify and fight the virus. “Proactive testing is very important… Now more cases are asymptomatic. People feel that they have some mild pulmonary disease and then they infect the whole family,” he said, adding, “Testing and tracing is the most important thing right now and we have to bring the positivity rate below 5 per cent.”

The Prime Minister said that at least 30 contacts of a positive case must be traced, tested and quarantined, preferably within the first 72 hours. Similarly, boundaries of containment zone should be clear. The Prime Minister said that there should not be any relaxation in our efforts due to “Covid fatigue”. He also asked for adherence to the Health Ministry SoPs in containment zones. He also emphasized the need for comprehensive data on deaths with detailed analysis. He asked states to join webinars organized by AIIMs, Delhi, every Tuesday and Friday.

The Union Home Minister outlined efforts undertaken by the government in the battle against Covid. He also gave an overview of the progress in the vaccination drive in the country. The Union Health Secretary gave a presentation on the Covid situation in the country, focusing on states that are experiencing high caseload at present, and emphasized the need to increase testing in these states. He also shared details of vaccine production and supply in the country.

Meanwhile, Mumbai’s tally of daily Covid-19 cases went below the 10,000 mark in the last 24 hours. The city, which has been witnessing a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, added 8,938 new infections in the last 24 hours. With this, the total caseload in Mumbai reached 4,91,698. The city also saw 4,503 people recover from the disease and 25 related fatalities. The total recoveries and death toll stood at 3,92,514 and 11,881.

Maharashtra, meanwhile, added 56,286 new cases to its tally and the total number of cases has now reached 3,229,547. Maharashtra is among 10 states which have shown a steep rise in the daily Covid-19 cases, the Union health ministry said. These states account for 84.21 per cent of the 1,26,789 new infections recorded by India.

The national capital saw the surge of 7,437 cases in its daily new Covid-19 infection tally, the highest daily count this year. Currently, Delhi has the fifth highest tally of Covid19 cases. The positivity rate has now shot up to 8.10 per cent. As many as 24 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours. The death toll in the city has reached 11,157. Uttar Pradesh reported a record-breaking surge of 8,490 fresh coronavirus cases in last 24 hours. Lucknow recorded an all-time high of 2369 Covid-19 infections, Prayagraj recorded 1040, Varanasi 794, Kanpur 368 and Gorakhpur 259 cases respectively.

Uttarakhand reported 787 new Covid-19 positive cases, pushing the tally to 1,05,498. Three more coronavirus patients succumbed in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 1,744.

There was another highest single-day spike in Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 835 new positive cases were reported in the last 24 hours, 280 from the Jammu division and 555 from the Kashmir division.

WITH INPUTS FROM AGENCIES

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HARYANA GOVT SETS UP 100-BED COVID CARE ICU

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In order to ensure quality healthcare facilities even in the deepest pockets of the State, Government of Haryana has set up a 100-bed critical COVID ICU in Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College located in the outskirts of Nuh in Nalhar.

The hospital will cater to the medical needs of patients from adjoining NCR-region, Alwar, Mathura, Rewari and Palwal as well, easing off the burden on health institutes in this area.

Sharing information in this regard an official spokesperson of Department of Medical Education and Research said: “As per the instructions of GoI (Government of India), a triple layer oxygen planning has been done in medical colleges and the constituent hospitals. Taking steps in this regard, the State Government through the Department of Medical Education and Research has started this 100-bedded ICU where Liquid Medical oxygen tanks of 10,000 L capacity along with 3000 LPM capacity PSA plants along with 1026 D- type oxygen cylinders have been installed in Nalhar Nuh.”

The spokesperson said that the existing capacity of Gas Manifold has been augmented to cater to the need along with the medical gas pipeline work. During the second wave there was a rush of thousands of patients from Delhi-NCR region towards the State of Haryana especially in adjoining districts to seek the medical care, he elaborated. Considering such demand, the existing capacity has been augmented and a 100 bed Critical COVID care ICU has been set up to meet the rising requirements and needs of the people.

“Thus, this completes the oxygen triad for COVID patients care. First being PSA plant, second being Liquid Oxygen tank and third being D-Type cylinders. In case of demand for oxygen the same will be pressed into the service as per the need basis,” he added.

The spokesperson said that man and material is the desired combination which is required to achieve the goal of providing superlative healthcare facilities. Thus, ventilators and equipment along with drugs and consumables have been purchased to make it functional. In addition to equipment 143 SRs (Senior Resident doctors) have already joined Government medical colleges along with 54 more specialist doctors as faculty have been offered joining.

Further, as many as 275 staff nurses’ recruitment is under process and another 85 faculty of specialist doctors’ recruitment process is about to commence soon. With such a large skilled manpower the State Government is ready to meet any eventuality in days to come wherever and whenever the need arises.

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HARYANA NOTIFIES WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR INDUSTRIES

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Haryana Government has notified the ‘Assistance for Waste Management Scheme’ for Industrial Sector under which incentives will be provided to the industries in the state to encourage them to carry out waste management activities including collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of waste which is not just environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable but is also economically viable. Giving information in this regard an official spokesperson of Industries and Commerce Department said that the Scheme shall commence with effect from January 1, 2021 and shall remain in operation for a period of 5 years. The assistance shall be admissible on the purchase of land, machinery and equipment on or after January 1, 2021 and before December 31, 2025.

He said that under Assistance for Waste Management Scheme, a financial assistance of 50 percent of project cost (land and building subject to maximum of 25 percent of Project cost) including machinery and equipment up to Rs 50 Crore will be provided to facilitate setting up of electronic waste management and e-waste recovery projects for industries operating in Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector.The spokesperson said that New Ultra-Mega Projects, Mega Projects, Large Industries, Micro, Small and Medium enterprises operating in Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector anywhere in the State shall only be provided financial support by way of reimbursement of expenditure incurred.

The spokesperson said that the restrictive list of the Industries notified under HEEP-2020 shall not be applicable for this assistance. The eligible Units shall also comply with the conditions i.e. the unit shall file IEM/Udhyam Registration Certificate (URC) and Haryana Udhyam Memorandum (HUM) on the portal for the statistical purpose, at any stage. He said that the unit should have obtained NOC/CLU from Competent Authority if applicable. The unit should be in commercial production. He said that the unit should be in regular production at the time of disbursement and the subsidy shall not be released to a closed unit.

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NO TREE CUTTING, SALE ALLOWED IN PUNJAB TILL FURTHER ORDERS

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There would be no stumpage permission in Punjab till further orders as mentioned in the recent notification of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Punjab.

This comes after the orders issued by t the Punjab and Haryana High Court under PIL and Writ petition that the department released the notification vide no. 25/04/2020/LD-3/3994-3996. The notification said that the tree selling policy is under reconsideration and till then there would be no tree cutting and sale in the State of Punjab.

As per the Notification, there was a tree selling policy in the Panchayat area which was made in the year 2000 but the policy was never taken into action, hence the panchayat used to severe the trees and sell them at their capacity. The respected Court took the notice of the matter and has asked the respective departments to stop this practice till the policy is reconsidered.

The notification referring to the Punjab and Haryana Court order read, “On the subject of alleged illegal felling of 2,058 trees in the premises of the Faridkot Cooperative Sugar Mills Limited, we direct the PCCF (Hoff), Punjab to look into the grievance.

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EC NOTIFICATION FOR BENGAL CIVIC POLLS SOON

Arup Kali

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The West Bengal Election Commission started preparations for the three municipal polls. It has recently come to light that the state government is keen to hold pre-polls in Kolkata, Howrah and Bidhannagar before Christmas in the third week of December.

However, neither the Election Commission nor any representative of the state government has publicly acknowledged this. But in the words of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, there was a hint that the vote could take place as soon as the festive season is over.

After winning the Bhabanipur by-election, she said efforts would be made to expedite the state’s municipal polls. After receiving such an indication from the Chief Minister, the State Election Commission has started tidying up the houses like themselves. According to sources, the polls of three municipalities may be held on December 12 or 19.

The Election Commission wants to end the voting in these three municipalities before the Christmas holidays. It will be able to complete a long-pending phase of the pre-vote. At the same time, the rest of the municipalities can go a long way in preparing for the polls.

According to the source, if the chatpujo is completed, the notification of voting may be issued on behalf of the commission. Incidentally, the Election Commission started preparations for the pre-poll in February 2020. But due to the corona infection, all the preparations got stuck. The pre-poll also went back. But at that time, the work of preparing for the referendum, including the rearrangement of seats, went ahead.

Therefore, according to the sources of the commission, they will not have to get too much speed in the preparation of the vote this time. “Our initial preparations were completed in March last year,” said an Election Commission official. But as the vote was delayed, we could no longer move forward. But with the vote in the third week of December, we have started preparations again. However, in the case of voting, there are some things that cannot be started unless the vote is declared. So as soon as the vote is announced, the work will start,” he said, adding,“Since the vote will be held in Kolkata, Howrah and Bidhannagar. So, it doesn’t seem like too much pressure will fall on us. I think the rest of the municipal polls will be held next year.”

It is to be noted that there are about one and a half years left for voting in Kolkata. It has been under the purview of the city administrator since May 2020. Howrah Municipality is again being managed by the Municipal Administration from October 2016.

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Bengal’s former Chief Secy moves Calcutta HC after CAT transfers case to Delhi

Arup Kali

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Retired Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay has approached the Calcutta High Court challenging the directive of the Principal Bench (Delhi) of the Central Administrative Tribunal. There is a possibility of that hearing to take place on Wednesday.

On October 22, the principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) directed the Calcutta bench to move the case to Delhi. Bandopadhyay has approached the High Court on Tuesday challenging that directive.

The Department of Personnel and Training launched an investigation into allegations of breach of discipline against Alapanbabu. He was summoned to Delhi on October 16 for a preliminary hearing. However, the hearing of his request has been postponed to November 2. He already filed an application in the High Court.

The incident dates to May 26 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a review meeting in Kalaikunda that day to assess the situation of Cyclone Yaas . Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the then Chief Secretary Alapan Banerjee were supposed to be present there. However, he did not attend the PM’s meeting as he was busy managing the damage.

Then came the question of his role. He was summoned to Delhi. He was given a letter to appear in the North Block in Delhi. But Alapana Banerjee decided to retire without appearing there.

As the Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Narendra Modi did not attend the meeting, Alapana Banerjee was accused of violating the Disaster Management Act. Why no action will be taken against him for violating the Disaster Management Act? That answer was sought from Alapana Banerjee. He then retired.

The Centre made a show-cause to Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay for not attending the scheduled time in Delhi. The letter was given to him on behalf of the Centre’s staff office under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. The protest was called to find out the reason why he did not show up despite the instructions. The Department of Personnel and Training then launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct.

He recently filed a case in the Calcutta Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal seeking dismissal of the inquiry. The hearing was held on October 22. The Department of Personnel and Training had applied to the Principal Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal to move the case from Kolkata to Delhi.

On the basis of this application, the Delhi Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal directed to transfer the case from Kolkata on October 22. This time he challenged that instruction and approached the High Court.

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CONTESTANTS MAY FACE INFIGHTING IN ELLENABAD BYPOLLS

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With 4 days left in Ellenabad by-poll, the contestants hailing from all parties are leaving no stone unturned to win the battle. Amid this, political experts are of the opinion that the most contestants are likely to face infighting due several reasons. Pawan Beniwal, who has been fielded by the Congress party, is most likely to face infighting after he was given a ticket and his uncle Bharat Beniwal was denied ticket. The Congress claims to convince him in support of his nephew Pawan. In continuation to this, Bharat has started canvassing for Pawan but possibility of infighting can not be denied. It is worth mentioning that Pawan and Bharat both were in Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) earlier and joined the Congress.

On the contrary, Govind Kanda who is fighting the election on the ticket of ruling faction BJP, will have to face more hurdles as he does not seem in a position to recognise who can harm him in terms of voting in the party. Although, he is putting his best to emerge as winner in this battle. He recently joined the BJP leaving his brother Gopal Kanda’s party Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) who continues to support the ruling party BJP.

n this series, Abhay Chautala, who believed to be the strongest claimant of the victory, is also facing hurdles as his own brother Ajay Chautala and his nephew Dushyant Chautala (both JJP leaders) continue to convass against him at large scale and may get. him decreased vote bank. Abhay has won this seat thrice back to back and Ellenabad has been considered as his bastion. Besides , the Congress stalwarts namely Bhupinder Singh Hooda,leader of opposition and the state party president Kumari Seleja are on toes to get their contestant victory. Besides, more than 20 Congress legislators along with Deepender Hooda, Rajya Sabha MP and son of Bhupender Singh Hooda are canvassing in support of the party candidate

Thus, the by poll has turned into a multi-cornered battle to some extent. All parties have fielded their star campaigners for canvassing and similarly, the Chief Minister and the BJP stalwart Manohar Lal has to visit Ellenabad for the canvassing. In wake of the ongoing scenario, the by-election has become a battle of prestige which is evident from the presence of all party stalwarts in Ellenabad. Thus, all party leaders are on the toes to woo the voters.

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