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Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh now orders expansion of Covid contact tracing to 15 persons

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered expanding the contact tracing of positive patients to 15 persons. He also made it mandatory for hospitals and radiology labs, conducting CT scans, to report such patients to the state administration in case of suspicion of coronavirus.

CM issued these orders as part of a slew of measures to strengthen the Covid management systems amid apprehension of the second wave.

He also ordered a state-level 3-tier vaccine supervision mechanism, comprising a steering committee as well as state and district task force, to be put in place.

In sharp contrast to some other states that are depending heavily on the less reliable Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT), Captain Amarinder also directed the Health Department to make RT-PCR the rule, with RAT to be treated as an exception, while ordering another Serro Survey to assess the ground situation.

In other steps, he directed 24×7 testing facilities to be made available at District Hospitals, all fever cases/other symptomatic coming to Health Facilities to be tested with RTPCR and all patients attending the flu corners to be tested with RTPCR.

He stressed the need to make arrangements for walk-in testing at multiple points, and asked the Health Department to consider branching out testing by scaling up local initiatives like Mohali’s out-door testing.

The Chief Minister asked the Health Department to get information from private and public hospitals regarding Covid mortality and complete the audit by 9th November so that remedial action can be taken by mid-November.

Emphasising the importance of ensuring preparedness for a second wave, he also directed the Department to meet manpower shortage. Those who have been selected must be immediately given appointment letters and asked to join, he said.

Chairing a virtual meeting of medical and health experts and officials, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh warned against any complacency amid projections of a more severe second wave, in keeping with the global trend.

He urged organisers of social and religious congregations, that have been permitted, to also encourage the participants to get themselves tested. He asked officials to encourage citizens’ organisations and NGOs, and also to reach out to people through the Lok Sanjhedari programme, to discourage the use of firecrackers this Diwali season.

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MP HC directs state govt, poll panel to hold Indore municipal polls without delay

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Indore (Madhya Pradesh) [India], February 25 (ANI): The Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh high court has directed the state government and State Election Commission (SEC) to hold urban body elections without any delay.
The court’s direction came on a plea filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor Bharat Parekh through advocate Harshwardhan Sharma. The plea was filed on February 20, last year.
“Bharat Parekh, Councillor of ward 71 of Indore Municipal Corporation has filed a plea in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. In the plea, we have apprised that court that it is under the constitution that a notification needs to be issued by the government and the State Election Commission (SEC) before the end of the 5-year term of a municipal corporation, municipality, or Nagar panchayat,” advocate Sharma told ANI.
“Despite this, the state government and the State Election Commission continued to hold elections without any reason. After we filed the petition on February 20, 2020, the Honorable High Court asked the Commissioner of the SEC to submit a written affidavit detailing the reason for the delay,” he added.
The advocate said that the hearing of the petition could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was scheduled to be heard today and the court order. After the submission made by the state government and SEC, the High Court has given clear direction to both to hold elections without any delay,” he said.
The plea was filed as people of the state were being deprived of their right to elect their representative, the lawyer said.
“The Court had asked the SEC why there was a delay in holding the municipal elections. The Election Commission had responded in an affidavit that the delay was there as the state government has not released the final list of voters. The government was asked to present its stand,” advocate Sharma said.
“Today, an advocate who presented the state government in the court said that efforts are on to complete the election proceedings as soon as possible,” he added.
After hearing the submissions, the two-judge Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court comprising Justice Sujoy Paul and Justice Shailendra Shukla gave instructions to hold the election without any delay.
It is worth mentioning that on 20 February 2020, the term of the civic body came to an end. The Congress government was in power at that time under the Chief Minister was Kamal Nath. The Congress government was in power at that time under Chief Minister Kamal Nath. Later government collapsed in March 2020 and Shivraj Singh Chouhan became the chief minister of the state. (ANI)

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Inner Line Permit a means of preserving tribal identity, culture: Meghalaya CM

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Shillong (Meghalaya) [India], February 25 (ANI): Terming the Inner Line Permit (ILP) a means of preserving tribal identity and culture, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma demanded the implementation of ILP in the state.
Talking to ANI on this issue, Sangma said, “It is a very old demand of the citizens of our state as many states in the North-East already have ILP protection. Citizens feel that we have to preserve our tribal identity and culture. ILP is one of its paths and there are many such routes. We want to see how we can take it forward and bring it. For this reason, this is a demand of the people.”
“When the District Council was given in 1952, we were associated with the state of Assam. At that time, this Autonomous Council was formed by the Government of India to preserve tribal culture for tribal protection. Even after attaining statehood, the District Councils continue to function. This is a level next to the democratic level, through which we give another level of governance to the people. In the midst of this, came the ILP issue,” said Sangma.
The ILP is a document that allows an Indian citizen to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system for a limited time period.
Speaking about the role of Meghalaya in the Act East Policy of the Government of India, the Chief Minister said, “Meghalaya will play a very big role in the Act East Policy. I say in every meeting that if we look at India, then the Act East Policy is for us. But, if you look at the region then there is a different direction for each state.”
“There is ‘Look South’ for Meghalaya as we will be working with Bangladesh. ‘Look West’ is for Arunachal, as they will be working with Bhutan. So, in this way, we need to create a regional approach so that we can plan on how we will work with Bangladesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura. Together these four states need to strategies,” remarked the Meghalaya Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister also pointed that it is noteworthy that ever since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, the Act East Policy, of which Meghalaya is also a part, has been a priority for the Central government, adding that in this, the role of all the north-eastern states including Meghalaya is very important and hence, the Inner Line Permit will have to move forward in this direction by finding a positive solution to the issue, so that local citizens can benefit. (ANI)

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Vaccination compulsory for officials on Kumbh duty, says Uttarakhand Chief Secy

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Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], February 25 (ANI): Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand Om Prakash on Thursday has instructed the district magistrate of Haridwar to ensure that all the officials and personnel engaged in the Kumbh duty should be vaccinated.
The decision was taken at a meeting held today at the state’s secretariat which was chaired by the chief secretary.
“Risks cannot be taken as people across the country will be attending the Kumbh,” Om Prakash said instructing to take strict action against the officials refusing to get vaccinated.
The chief secretary also informed that as many as 100 doctors and 148 paramedical staffs from will Uttar Pradesh will be reaching the state for their duties at Kumbh on March 15.
Many other officials and district magistrates were present at the meeting.
Preparations are underway for Kumbh Mela 2021 to be held from April 1 to April 30 in Haridwar.
The Uttarakhand government has decided to limit the Kumbh this year to 30 days.
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 Prayag, 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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COVID-19 vaccination: Registration on CO-WIN for third phase beneficiaries to begin from March 1

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By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): The eligible beneficiaries who are entitled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from March 1, would be able to register themselves on the CO-WIN platform from Monday onwards.
The Central government has created the Co-WIN application dedicated to monitor real time management of COVID-19 vaccination across the country.
India is going start its third phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1, the Central government has announced on Thursday.
“There are several procedures wherein beneficiaries can get registered themselves for vaccine. The beneficiary would be able to register themselves on the CO-WIN platform from Monday itself,” Chairman of Empowered Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Administration R S Sharma told ANI.
“First, there will be a walk-in provision for the entitled beneficiary to get themselves register at the vaccination site for the vaccine. At the session site, volunteers would help beneficiaries who would have difficulty in registration,” Sharma said.
“Secondly, the newer version of the CO-WIN platform has been enhanced with GPS facility. The beneficiaries can select the option to suitable vaccination session site (both at government and private hospital,” said Sharma adding that the beneficiary will have to use their mobile number for registration.
“During registration, the beneficiary will receive OTP on their mobile number that will help in creating the account on CO-WIN. Beneficiaries will have to present all the necessary documents while registration. One can even get their family members also registered on the account,” Sharma said.
“Third, the beneficiaries can also make registration on CO-WIN application through government’s Arogya Setu Application,” he said.
India is going start its second phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1, the Central government has announced on Thursday.
“From March 1, people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 governmnet and over 20,000 private vaccination centres. The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres,” the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
“Those who want to get vaccinated from private hospitals will have to pay. The amount they would need to pay will be decided by the health ministry within 3-4 days as they are in discussion with manufacturers and hospitals,” stated the minister.
India has two COVID-19 vaccine candidates– Covishield and COVAXIN which has received emergency use authorisation from the national drugs regulator.
The Central government launched the biggest vaccination drive on 16 January by first inoculating healthcare workers in the first phase and frontline line workers in the ongoing second phase respectively.
“More than 1.30 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far. No case of serious/severe AEFI/Death is attributable to vaccination till date,” as per the union health ministry. (ANI)

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BKU leaders Rakesh Tikait, Yudvir Singh to address farmers’ protest rally in Shivamogga on Mar 20

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Shivamogga (Karnataka) [India], February 25 (ANI): Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders Yudhvir Singh and Rakesh Tikait will participate in the farmers’ protest rally in Shivamogga city on March 20, the convener of south Indian states farmer’s movement KT Gangadhar said on Thursday.
BKU general secretary Yudhvir Singh and BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait will address the protesting farmers in the southern state and they will also hold Kisan Mahapanchayat in the state.
“The central government passed the farm bills through an ordinance, which is undemocratic. We decided to boycott the laws including the Karnataka state land reforms amendment act. We decided to unit all organizations including pro-Kannada groups, Dalit organizations, we will meet at Shivamogga to show the strength of farmers,” Gangadhar told ANI.
“Farmer leaders including Yudhvir Singh and Rakesh Tikait will participate in the rally. Shivamogga has a history of socialist and farmers movements. Great leaders like Kagodu Thimmappa is with us. This will be a mega movement and we will give a new message to the government, it will gradually expand to southern states,” he added.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has reiterated that the central government is ready to talk to protesting farmers at any time.
This comes as farmer leader Rakesh Tikait had on Tuesday announced plans for marching to the Parliament with 40 lakh tractors in order to intensify pressure on the central government to withdraw the three farm laws.
Since November 26 last year, farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital, against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

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With 39.6 degrees Celsius recorded in Bhubaneswar, Odisha prepares for possible heatwave

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Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], February 25 (ANI): As Bhubaneswar recorded a temperature of 39.4 degrees Celsius on Thursday making it the country’s hottest city in February, the state government gave instructions to all districts to prepare for a possible heat-wave situation.
As per Joint Special Relief Commissioner Prabhat Kumar Mohapatra, water scarcity might be an issue in the coming weeks due to the heat.
“Bhubaneswar recorded a temperature of 39.4 degrees Celsius and has become the hottest city in India in February. The State government has issued instructions to all district magistrates to take necessary preparedness and precautionary measures for a possible heatwave situation,” Mohapatra said.
“Water scarcity is an issue during the heatwave. Collectors and district administration have been duly instructed,” he added. (ANI)

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