OXYGEN LEAK KILLS 24 IN NASHIK HOSPITAL AS FRESH COVID-19 CASES NEAR 3 LAKH - The Daily Guardian
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OXYGEN LEAK KILLS 24 IN NASHIK HOSPITAL AS FRESH COVID-19 CASES NEAR 3 LAKH

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray calls the incident ‘shocking and painful’ and orders a high-level inquiry; India records 2,023 deaths and 295,041 new infections.

Preeti Sompura

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At least 24 patients died at the government-run Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, after their oxygen supply was disrupted by a leakage in the main storage tank.

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope rushed to Nashik and said about the incident, “As per information available with us, patients who were on ventilators at the hospital in Nashik have died. The leakage was spotted at the oxygen tank which was supplying oxygen to these patients. The interrupted supply could be linked to the deaths of the patients in the hospital.”

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called the incident “shocking and painful” and ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident and also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.

Zakir Hussain Hospital is a dedicated Covid hospital with over 150 patients either oxygen-dependent or on ventilators. A cork in the oxygen tank had malfunctioned which led to a reduction in pressure in the oxygen pipeline which goes straight to the Covid wards. It took an hour for technicians to plug the leakage.

Heart wrenching visuals showed families trying to help the patients as they gasped for breath.

Senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis conveyed condolences and said, “Priority should be given to assist and shift patients. The truth will come out after an inquiry, but immediate steps are needed to avoid such incidents in the future.”

News of this tragedy comes amid the current surge in the demand for oxygen supplies which has been triggered by the staggering spike in cases of Covid-19 in India. On Wednesday, 2,023 deaths due to the virus and 2,95,041 new infections were recorded nationwide, worsening the oxygen crisis in the country.

Only the United States had a slightly higher one-day rise of 297,430 cases in January this year, though its tally has since fallen sharply. India’s 2,023 deaths were also its highest in the pandemic.

Hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere have warned authorities about dwindling supplies of medical oxygen. Max Healthcare, the largest private sector healthcare provider in the national capital, stated that some of its hospitals had barely two hours’ worth of oxygen left.

“For the last few days the hospital has been facing serious difficulties in procuring adequate and regular supplies of oxygen,” it said in a statement. “Presently, most of the hospitals in the network are working on dangerously low levels of oxygen supply, which can lead to a very serious adverse patient incident,” the statement added.

In Uttar Pradesh, crowds of people with empty oxygen cylinders were seen at refilling facilities as they struggled to save severely Covid-stricken relatives in hospitals.

Some people in Haryana also attempted to loot an oxygen tanker, forcing authorities to increase security. “From now, I’ve ordered police protection for all tankers,” Haryana health minister Anil Vij told news agency ANI.

Adding to the sense of alarm, the Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine as Covishield, informed that it can raise its monthly output to 100 million doses from 60-70 million only by July, not the end of May, as per its previous timeline. There are concerns that this delay could slow down India’s vaccination drive, especially now that the Centre has announced that vaccines would be offered to all adults, starting May 1.

India has so far administered 13,01,19,310 doses of the Covid vaccines, which despite being the most in the world after the United States and China, is still inadequate relative to its population of 1.35 billion people.

The total cases of Covid-19 in India stands at 1,56,16,130 currently, including 21,57,538 active cases. As many as 1,32,76,039 recoveries have also been reported so far, out of which 1,67,457 were reported in the last 24 hours. The death toll stands at 1,82,553.

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PUNJAB AGRICULTURE MINISTER CALLS ON MANDAVIYA ON DAP CRISIS

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On the intervention of Punjab`s Minister for Agriculture, Farmers` Welfare and Food Processing Randeep Singh Nabha on DAP shortage crisis, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday assured to supply 10 rakes of DAP (Diammonium Phosphate), 5 rakes of NPK (Complex Fertilizer) and 2 of SSP (Single Super Phosphate) within three to four days to Punjab. Considering Punjab`s demand Union Minister also assured for adequate supply of Urea to Punjab in the coming November and December.

Punjab Agriculture Minister, who called upon Mandaviya at latter`s office here, informed the Union Minister that the total requirement of DAP for rabi crops is 5.50 lakh MT, out of which 4.80 lakh MT is required during October & November for timely sowing of wheat crop. DAP is an essential input for ensuring optimum productivity of wheat, which is sown on an area of about 35.00 lakh hectares in Punjab.

“We apprised the Union Minister that the Punjab, known as food bowl of the nation, is being allocated much lesser quantity of DAP in comparison to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. We have been writing the union government for last six months on this sensitive issue. We also informed the Union Minister that shortage of DAP on the onset of Rabi season can lead farmers` unrest“ said Nabha expressing hope that the Union government would stand by its commitment of supplying DAP.

After the meeting, Nabha revealed that Union Minister has said that the shortage of DAP was due to non-availability of the fertilizers in the international market and the union government would ensure adequate supply of DAP to Punjab.

“During the meeting we also demanded that the Union Government must repeal the farm laws against which the farmers are protesting for last one year. The farmers are feeling insecure as they argue that with these farmer laws the big Corporate would get away their farm lands,” said Nabha.

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BJP MP wants more central forces’ deployment for West Bengal bypolls

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Emphasising the need for free and fair polling in the upcoming by-elections, BJP MP Arjun Singh on Tuesday urged Chief Election Officer of the state to allot more security personnel for bypolls in four constituencies, which is scheduled to be held on October 30.

In the letter, Arjun Singh said, “As you are aware the spate of post-poll violence, which started from the day of counting after the General Election still continues.

The High court also took cognizance of the situation and ordered a CBI probe in the case.” He also mentioned that the “TMC goons” attacked the party candidates – Joy Saha from Khardah and Ashok Mandal from Dinhata – while they were doing door-to-door campaign in their respective constituencies.

Requesting to deploy more security personnel in the constituencies, Singh wrote, “In this context, we repeat our request made earlier for immediate allotment of Central Security cover for our candidates as we have no reliance on the West Bengal Police.”

The MP requested the CEO to deploy 30 companies of CAPF per constituency to ensure free and fair polls on October 30.

Requesting to deploy more security personnel in the constituencies, Singh wrote, “In this context, we repeat our request made earlier for immediate allotment of Central Security cover for our candidates as we have no reliance on the West Bengal Police.”

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SUKHBIR SINGH BADAL NAMES 4 MORE PARTY CANDIDATES FOR 2022 POLLS

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The Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday announced 4 more candidates of the party for coming 2022 Assembly election. SAD Senior Vice President Dr Daljit Singh Cheema disclosed that Baldev Singh Mann will be party candidate from Sunam, Bhai Gobind Singh Longowal from Lehra, Harpal Juneja from Patiala Urban & Hardev Singh Megh (Gobindgarh) from Balluana assembly seat. He said that with this announcement, now the party has so far announced 74 candidates.

Meanwhile, Punjab assembly speaker Rana K P Singh has accepted the resignation of MLA Bholath, Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Tuesday. Due to this Bholath assembly constituency has been declared vacant according to a notification of Punjab assembly. On this Khaira said, “I had resigned as MLA on 3rd June before joining Congress. Thereafter the Speaker asked me to submit resignation in a proper format , which I did today in person. My resignation has been accepted.” It may be noted that Khaira had won from Bholath in 2017 assembly election as AAP candidate and recently joined Congress.

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SWASTH HARYANA APP TO CUT LONG QUEUES AT HOSPITALS

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The Haryana government has launched a string of new applications have been launched by the government recently. Several new applications were brought into existence for the better and fair administration as well as for the benefits of commoners.

In this series, a new app namely Swasth Haryana by Anil Vij, state Health Minister for needy people visiting the government health institutions for the treatment. New app will get rid of long queues as they can get themselves registered on the app before going to hospitals. Vij said: “Through this app, patients can get themselves registered at any Civil Hospital of the State and the app is also available on Google Play Store.”

Further, he said that the government is consistently working to contain the spread of Covid and to augment it further, the Haryana State Health Systems Resource Centre (HSHRC) has developed “Swasth Haryana’’. Mobile app. It is pertinent to mention that it is being considered a milestone as the premier health institute like PGIMER, Chandigarh is providing the facility to the local as well the patients coming from neighbouring states.

Vij added that now the patients can get themselves registered in advance before going to the hospital through this app. while sitting at home and thus the rush of people at the State Hospitals can be managed in a systematic manner. He stated that with this app, the patient can directly go to the specialist doctor and no longer does he need to stand in long queues.

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PUNJAB DY CM SMELLS CONSPIRACY IN SINGHU LYNCHING, PROMISES JUSTICE

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Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Tuesday said that there appeared to be a deep rooted conspiracy to defame the farmers’ stir. Referring to the recent incident of lynching of a SC labourer from Tarn Taran, and latest disclosures in media, the Deputy Chief Minister, who also heads the Home Department, promised complete justice saying the government will reach to the bottom of the case and identify and expose as who were the conspirators behind the incident.

Randhawa said, in view of the recent disclosures about one of the Nihang leaders having already been in touch with the Union Minister for Agriculture NS Tomar in particular, the lynching incident has now taken an entirely different turn. The same Nihang leader is now defending the main accused for the killing of Lakhbir Singh, he added.

“Lakhbir Singh, the victim belonged to village Cheema Kalan and was very poor. We need to find out as who lured him to Singhu border and who paid for his travel as he could not even afford his meals”, the Deputy Chief Minister observed, while adding that he had instructed the local administration to find out under what circumstances he was taken away from his home in Cheema Kalan village to Singhu border.

Randhawa said, in view of the recent photographic evidence available, the Nihang leader will also need to explain as in what capacity he had met the union agriculture minister NS Tomar and whether he was mandated to do so by the farmers’ organisations spearheading the campaign against three farm laws.

The Deputy Chief Minister said, given the important place the Nihang leader was camping at and staging dharna at Singhu Border, it was mandatory on his part to keep the farmers’ unions informed and updated about his meetings with the union minister. “This has raised genuine doubts and suspicion among the minds of people which will need to be cleared and the Punjab government will do everything to reach to the root of the conspiracy and expose and punish the culprits,” he promised.

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‘Centre’s move to extend BSF jurisdiction will harm Punjab’s economy’

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Standing at the front against the Union Government’s decision to extend BSF jurisdiction in Punjab, Cabinet Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh, on Tuesday said that the border state has been ignored while granting special package of incentives to neighboring states like Himachal Pradesh for capital investment subsidy and now the extension of BSF Jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km is yet another jolt to Punjab. It has created a panic and a sense of insecurity in investors, he added saying that how the investor shall go to the 25,000 sq. km border belt (out of a total of 50,000) which is under the jurisdiction of the Security Force Rana asked. Even the adjoining industrial units of Home Grown Industries would consider shifting to safer places, Rana said.

Lashing out at the Modi Government he said that while it was giving step-motherly treatment to the Punjab, on the other side, jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in 5 north eastern states of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya where it has had jurisdiction of 80 km. In Gujarat, it has been curtailed from 80 to 50. There should be a level playground and such imbalance would even hit trade, commerce and industry in the land-locked states, besides creating tiffs between central and state agencies, Rana said.

Agriculture sector especially in the Border area is already under stress and extension of the BSF jurisdiction will further add to their difficulties, said the Cabinet Minister. Urging the union government to make the agriculture sector sustainable there, liberal incentives need to be given, he said. He suggested that 90% subsidies should be given to the farmers of the Border Area under the central schemes for drip irrigation system.

Rana said there was a dire need to reconsider the jurisdiction issue in concurrence with the state and grant special incentives at par with North Eastern States. The first step in this direction would be to constitute a Western Border States Advisory Council having Chief Ministers/Governor of the states as members under the Chairmanship of Union Home Minister on the pattern of North East Council to deliberate the issue of creating of a dedicated Corpus Fund pooled through a mandatory contribution from all the Union Ministries in the Union Budget, he added.

The Cabinet Minister assured that he would request Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to convene a one day session of the Vidhan Sabha to pass a resolution and to take up the matter with the Union Government to reconsider the BSF jurisdiction extension and lead a delegation of all the stakeholders for a meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

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