Amidst a surge in the number of Covid cases in Maharashtra, new restrictions have been announced in the state. In a virtual address on Sunday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that it would be ascertained in two weeks whether this is a second wave of Covid-19, adding that there might be a need for another lockdown in the state soon if people do not follow coronavirus protocols
Maharashtra reported a total of 6,971 new infections on Sunday, which is the highest since October 2020, along with 35 deaths. The state’s tally is now at 21,00,884 cases and 51,788 deaths. Mumbai alone reported 921 new positive cases in 24 hours.
Thackeray gave Maharashtra residents an eight-day ultimatum in his address, urging them to be responsible if they do not wish to see another lockdown. “Do you need a lockdown again? I want you to take a call on this. People who want a lockdown will not wear a mask. People who don’t want a lockdown will follow safety rules and wear a mask. The decision on the same will be taken by the government in the next eight days, depending on the discipline of citizens. We may have to bring a strict lockdown if discipline is not followed,” Thackeray said.
CM Thackeray’s warning came shortly after the total lockdown was imposed on Amrawati and Achalpur for a week. Partial lockdown has been also imposed in five districts including Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Washim and Yavatmal.
Meanwhile new guidelines have been announced for Pune and Nashik. No public movement from 11.00 pm to 5.00 am will be allowed, except for essential services. Schools and colleges in Pune district are to remain closed till 28 February. Meanwhile, Nashik residents seen without a mask will have to pay a Rs 1000 fine.
A 24-hour curfew was also imposed on Pandharpur, which has the famous Vitthal temple which attracts thousands of devotees, and on ten other villages surrounding the temple town.
The BMC has also sealed more than 1,300 buildings which have five or more cases. The civic body has also taken strict action against pubs, bars and hotels which had been violating safety norms.
Prohibiting religious, social or political gatherings, the Maharashtra CM further said, “Any events that will draw large crowds, whether political rallies or protests, will not be allowed in Maharashtra from tomorrow.”
Thackeray also urged people to wear masks, saying that it is the only defence against the coronavirus. “What to do till we get the vaccine? Mask is our defence in this war. Please wear a mask,” he said, adding, “When we eased restrictions we did with the hope that rules would be abided by. But slowly we felt there was no coronavirus and we and many of us stopped wearing masks,” said Thackeray.
He added that health infrastructure in the state has improved, as compared to last year’s situation. «We have more beds and testing centres now. But I don’t want to boast about the preparations,» he said.
«Coronavirus started in March this year. There was no medicine then, there is no medicine now. But we have a vaccine. In Maharashtra, there are 9 lakh beneficiaries of the Covid vaccine till now. There were myths regarding the vaccine but with 9 lakh beneficiaries those concerns are resolved,» said Thackeray.
He also took a swipe at the Centre, commenting, «When will the common man get the coronavirus vaccine? Balasaheb used to say ‘uparwale ko marzi’ [it is up to the almighty],” said Thackeray, referring to the Centre as “uparwala”.
«It’s in the hands of the Centre. They are deciding on how many vaccines to give. We have been carrying on the vaccination drive. I request our frontline workers to come forward and get vaccinated; it’s safe. But how much we vaccinate will also depend on how many vaccines we get from the Centre. How many we get and how many other countries get is the call of the Central government,» he added.
Thackeray further requested all allies and opposition parties to ‹cooperate and not organise programs where crowds gather›.
“The coronavirus figures are rising… the state was reporting around 2,000-2,500 daily cases; now, it is reporting nearly 7,000…active cases have jumped from 40,000 to 53,000…last year, the numbers that we had been getting during the Covid peak are almost equal to what we are getting now… just think what would be the figures when we hit the peak again,” he said.
Maharashtra’s case fatality rate stands at 2.47 percent now, well above the national figure of 1.42 per cent.
India, on the whole, reported 14,264 new Covid-19 cases and 90 deaths in the last 24 hours, with Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh witnessing an upsurge in daily cases amid rising fears of the spread of new variants from South Africa and Brazil, whose first cases were reported on February 16.
4,070 new Covid-19 cases and 4,345 recoveries were reported in Kerala on Sunday. The total number of active cases in the state is 58,313, as per the state government. 9,71,975 people have recovered so far.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh reported 299 coronavirus positive cases, taking its tally to 2,59,427, while four deaths pushed the toll to 3,854, a health official said.
Gujarat’s Covid-19 tally rose to 2,67,104 after 283 cases were detected on Sunday. The day also saw one death and 264 people being discharged, a state health official said. So far, 2,61,009 people have been discharged in the state, and a recovery rate of 97.72 percent has been recorded, while the death toll stands at 4,405, he added. “The number of active cases is 1,690, including 29 on ventilator support. Of the new cases, Ahmedabad led with 68, followed by Vadodara with 65, Surat 47, Rajkot 22, Kutch 11, Gandhinagar nine, Jamnagar seven, Bharuch six, and Morbi, Panchmahal, and Sabarkantha five each,” he said.
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NIA files chargesheet against 4 Tritiya Prastuti Committee members
Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], February 25 (ANI): The National Investigative Agency (NIA) filed a second supplementary charge sheet before the special court here on Thursday against four members of Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) including its Zonal Commander, for pertaining to the recovery of cash and arms and ammunitions.
In a statement, the NIA, said that the charge-sheet against the group members of TPC, a Jharkhand-based terrorist group, namely, Vikas Ganjhu, Avinash, Dashrath Ganjhu, Varun Ji, pertaining to the recovery of Rs 5 lakhs cash along with arms and ammunitions from Shyam Bhokta, a TPC operative.
The case was initially registered at Panki, Police Station, on November 23, 2017.
Tritiya Prastuti Committee is a break-away terrorist group of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and an unlawful organisation proscribed by Jharkhand under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908.
TPC is involved in extortion and levy collection from the businessmen, industrialists, contractors involved in the government developmental projects in several districts of Jharkhand and Bihar, NIA said.
The absconding accused were remanded on September 2, 2020, and an investigation was established in which the arrested people were actively involved in extortion and levy collection for further strengthening TPC and to carry out various terrorist activities.
Earlier, NIA had filed the first supplementary charge sheet on July 23, 2017, against eight accused people, namely, Shyam Bhokta, Uchit Mahto, Premsagar Mahto, Amit Singh, Akraman Ji, Laxman Ganjhu, Kohram Ji, Mukesh Ganjhu, Nageswar Ganjhu, and Tarun Ji in this case. (ANI)
Crime branch busts prostitution racket in Goa’s Calangute, 3 women rescued, 2 arrested 45
Calangute (Goa) [India], February 25 (ANI): As many as three women were rescued on Wednesday night after the Goa crime branch busted an on-going prostitution racket. Two accused have been arrested in the case so far.
According to police, the crime branch team led by police inspector Narayan Chimulkar conducted raid at Royal Village Hotel, situated at Goa’s Calangute.
“The two accused have been identified as Dipak Sarkar and Ranjita D’Costa. Both the accused are residents of West Bengal,” the police said.
“Three women were rescued and have been sent to protective homes,” he added.
Further investigation into the matter is underway. (ANI)
45-yr-old man sets aside rooms in his house for protecting birds in Bihar village
By Surya Pratap Singh
Gaya (Bihar) [India], February 25 (ANI): At a time when a large number of birds are perishing due to lack of food, water and shelter, a 45-year-old man at Niskha village in Gaya, Bihar, has set aside several rooms of his house to provide a habitat for birds, especially sparrows.
This bird lover is Tanzilur Rahman Khan, a resident of Niskha village. He said he is thinking of making more rooms in the same way so that birds could have a habitat. According to Tanzilur, after watching the National Geographic Channel, the idea of conserving and protecting came to his mind. “It is said that the air of the sparrow’s wing protects from 38 kinds of diseases,” said Tanzilur.
Meanwhile, his elder brother Tousufur Rahman believes that at the pace at which the mobile tower is being built in the city, the birds are being harmed.
“My younger brother looks after them. We all try to keep these birds safe,” he said.
Conservation of birds matters in terms of keeping the environment balanced. Many species of birds are becoming extinct. The sparrow is also disappearing from courtyards. Tanzilur has taken an initiative to conserve birds, especially sparrows. (ANI)
Car with explosive materials found near Mukesh Ambani’s house in Mumbai
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 25 (ANI): A car carrying unassembled explosive materials was found abandoned at Carmichael Road in South Mumbai on Thursday evening, near the house of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.
Bomb squad and police teams have rushed to the site and a probe is underway.
“A car carrying Gelatin was found near Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai today. Mumbai Police Crime Branch is investigating the matter,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Vij said.
According to Mumbai Police, the vehicle was examined by a Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS), and gelatin, a substance often used to make explosives was recovered from it.
“A suspicious vehicle was found on Carmichael Road today evening under the limits of Gamdevi Police Station. The police was alerted and BDDS team and other police teams reached the spot immediately The vehicle was examined and some explosive material Gelatin was found inside. It is not an assembled explosive device,” the police said.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)
Nandi hills will be developed as international tourist destination, says Karnataka Minister
Chikkaballapur (Karnataka) [India], February 25 (ANI): Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Thursday announced plans to develop Nandi Hills, a hill station situated in Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka, as an international tourist destination.
Sudhakar was on his visit to Nandi Hills to inspect the ongoing works here.
“Nandi hills and surrounding places are very attractive. Along with beautiful flora and fauna Nandi Hills also have historical and spiritual significance. They have all that qualifies to be developed as an international tourist destination. Government has already sanctioned Rs.10 crore for the purpose,” Sudhakar told media here.
“There was a popular demand from the public for a ropeway for 15 years. The dream is becoming reality. More than 10 acre land will be allotted in the foot hills to convert it into a parking area. The work will be completed in 3-4 months,” the state health minister said.
Sudhakar said Nandi hills are 30 kilometres away from Bengaluru International airport and just an hour away from Bengaluru.
“We are making efforts to develop this area. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has extended full co-operation in this regard. Tender will be called soon to allocate the work order,” he said.
The minister also informed that it is decided to completely ban use of plastic in the Nandi Hills.
“Trekking trails to five hills surrounding the Nandi hills, eco-tourism, conservation of archeological monuments, beautification, infrastructure development will be done in the coming days,” he added. (ANI)
PM Modi to inaugurate ‘The India Toy Fair 2021’ on Feb 27
New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate “The India Toy Fair 2021” on February 27 at 11 AM via video conferencing.
The India Toy Fair 2021 is being organized in line with this vision of the Prime Minister.
In his Mann ki Baat address in August 2020, the Prime Minister had said that toys not only augment activity but also give flight to aspirations. Noting the importance of toys in the holistic development of a child, the Prime Minister has earlier also emphasized boosting toy manufacturing in India.
The Fair will be held from February 27 to March 2, 2021.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), it aims to bring together all stakeholders including buyers, sellers, students, teachers, designers etc. on a virtual platform to create sustainable linkages and encourage dialogue for the overall development of the industry.
Through this platform, the Government and the Industry shall come together to discuss how India can be made the next global hub for manufacturing and sourcing of toys by way of attracting investments in the sector and promoting exports.
Over 1000 exhibitors from across 30 States and Union Territories will display their products in an e-commerce enabled virtual exhibition. It will showcase traditional Indian toys as well as modern toys including electronic toys, plush toys, puzzles and games.
The fair will also host numerous webinars and panel discussions with eminent Indian and international speakers with proven capabilities in toy design and manufacturing. (ANI)
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