A day after the Union Health Ministry told the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of medical oxygen have been reported by states and UTs during the second wave of Covid-19, health ministers of several states have issued statements supporting the Centre. This includes health ministers of Opposition-ruled states.
On Tuesday, while responding to a question on whether many Covid-19 patients died on roads and hospitals due to acute shortage of medical oxygen in the second wave, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said since health is a state subject, states and UTs are responsible for collecting data on Covid-19 deaths.
“No deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs,” he said. The government, however, acknowledged that there was an unprecedented surge in demand for medical oxygen during the second wave and it peaked at nearly 9,000 MT compared to just 3,095 MT in the first wave.
Reacting to the controversy, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani claimed no one died due to shortage of medical oxygen in the state during the second wave. “Nearly 8.5 lakh Covid-19 patients have been treated in Gujarat so far. We have several dedicated Covid-19 hospitals because of which lakhs of people have recovered and been discharged. No patient died due to lack of oxygen at any hospital in the state,” Rupani said.
Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey said that no one died of oxygen shortage in the state. “A total of 9,632 people have died of Covid-19 in Bihar so far but none of them died due to shortage of medical oxygen.” The minister added that during the second wave, Bihar’s demand for medical oxygen saw a 14-fold increase. “But this did not result in any death,” he said.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, too, claimed that no person died due to shortage of medical oxygen during the second wave of coronavirus infections in Goa. “Goa is the only state which reported accurate Covid-19 deaths. However, there was a delay in reporting deaths from private hospitals,” he said.
Chhattisgarh Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo said that his state has a surplus of oxygen and no deaths were reported in the state due to oxygen shortage during the second wave. “It is true that no patient died due to the lack of oxygen in Chhattisgarh. Our state is an oxygen-surplus state. There could have been some issues regarding management, otherwise, there is no death due to lack of oxygen,” Deo told news agency ANI.
Apart from Deo, Tamil Nadu health secretary J. Radhakrishna also said that the state government ensured adequate availability of oxygen in both government and private hospitals and there was no death due to lack of the life-saving gas.
Madhya Pradesh, too, insisted that no deaths were reported due to shortage of oxygen. “No deaths took place due to lack of oxygen in our state. Union health minister stated the same in Rajya Sabha. Even in Tamil Nadu, the health minister voiced the same opinion,” said Vishwas Sarang, the medical education minister of Madhya Pradesh.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, however, hit out at the Central government for its statement in the Rajya Sabha. “The Centre will soon say there was no Covid-19 pandemic. If there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen, then why were hospitals going to high courts? This (Centre›s reply) is completely false,» Jain said.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the Delhi government did not have any data regarding deaths due to the lack of oxygen as the Centre had not let it form a committee to look into the deaths of people, who allegedly died because of the lack of oxygen in hospitals between April and May. “When the Delhi government said yes, it seems like people died due to the lack of oxygen and decided to set up a committee to look into the deaths and give them Rs 5 lakh as compensation, the Centre did not let us do it… The Centre wants to hide the truth about the mismanagement it brought on, and doesn’t want the figures to come out,” he said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, too, criticised the Centre’s no oxygen death comment. He said, “Apart from shortage of medical oxygen, there is also shortage of sensitivity and truth. This shortage existed back then (during second wave) and continues.”
He got support from former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who said, «The government has perfected the art of facing every tragedy with bluff and bluster. First, it was no shortage of vaccines. Just yesterday, Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh reported it has run out of vaccines. It is the same story in many vaccination centres.» He added that now it is «no reports of deaths due to shortage of oxygen… Read that carefully. Minister did not say there were ‹no deaths›. He said ‹no REPORTS of deaths›. A blind and deaf government will not be able to ‹see› or ‹hear› the truth.»
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also accused the Central government of lying after it said that no Covid-19 deaths had been reported due to an oxygen shortage during the second wave, and demanded that a case be filed against it.
While speaking to reporters here, Raut asked what would happen to families who had lost their loved ones due to the oxygen shortage after hearing this. «I am speechless. What would have happened to the families of those who lost their loved ones to oxygen shortage after hearing this statement? A case should be filed against the government. They are lying,» the Shiv Sena leader said.
Interestingly, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said the state government never reported any death due to shortage of oxygen during the second wave of Covid-19. When asked by a TV channel about the Centre›s statement, Tope said, «We never said people died due to oxygen shortage in the state. Many of them had issues like co-morbidities and other illnesses. No death has taken place due to the shortage of oxygen.”
Reacting to the Opposition›s allegation, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said there are three things that one must pay attention to in the reply given by the government in Parliament. “The government has said health is a state subject. It said it just collects the data sent by the state/UTs. It doesn›t generate the data.”
“Rahul Gandhi and the Aam Aadmi Party are doing politics over Covid-19 deaths. The health ministry has replied in very categorical terms that health is state’s subject.”
“Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is saying he is shocked to hear the government›s reply, but the Maharashtra government in its affidavit in the court itself said no deaths have occurred due to shortage of oxygen in the state,” Patra said. Hitting out at the Congress, he said that Chhattisgarh Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo said that was no death due to oxygen shortage in his state. “We are surprised. Rahul Gandhi should know what Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh governments have said in their statements.”
WITH AGENCY INPUTS
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I never thought that i would ever going to be part of Hungama 2: Meezaan
After making his debut with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Malaal, Actor Meezaan is all set to carve a space for himself in the hearts of audiences with Hungama 2 on Disney + Hotstar. The young hearthrob recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List and spilled the beans on ‘behind-the-scenes’ hungama.
Reminiscing memories from the release of earlier ‘Hungama’, Meezan said, “I was actually 8 years old when the movie had come out in 2003. I remember going to Globus theatre in Bandra and watching it with a friend of mine and his mother. Ever since, even when the film comes on TV, we watch it till date. Sometimes while scrolling through the channels, suddenly we see Hungama, we always stop by for those iconic scenes. I never thought that i would ever going to be part of Hungama 2 about 18-19 years later. It has been a surreal experience for me. I am just grateful for this opportunity that has come and working with the people who are working on this film.”
On his full-fleged entry into the comedy genre, a genre in which his family has made a huge mark and their reaction to the script, Meezaan said, “The funny thing is that there was no script. There was just a name. I got a call saying, ‘Will you do a Priyadarshan film?’, and I said, ‘Ofcourse, yes’, without any hesitation because it is Priyan sir and it is honestly an honour to be working with him in my career. It is my second film and i am thrilled to get this opportunity and it has turned out to be amazing. I can’t wait for people to finally see the movie.”
Speaking about his experience of working with Filmmaker Priyadarshan and Actor Shilpa Shetty, Meezaan expressed, “It was a surreal feeling because there are too many things that are working in favour of this film, in terms of putting the film together. There is Priyadarshan coming back after a long time. There is the title, ‘Hungama’, which is a big franchise. The producers- Venus, Ratan ji had launched Shilpa Shetty and had done movies like Khiladi, Baazigar and so many other iconic films. You have the starcast, including Paresh ji, Rajpal sir, Johhny Lever, Ashutosh Rana- so many veteran actors. They are amazing at what they do. At the same time, there is Shilpa Shetty as well, who is making her comeback. There is also this song, ‘Chura Ke Dil Mera’, which is an iconic song and she is in the original song. I am with her in this remake. It’s too much that is going on. There is a lot of Hungama happening as it is. I am very happy. It has turned out to be wonderful.
“I am glad i made so many friends, including Shilpa ma’am. She is a wonderful person, full of life. I think she is aging in reverse. She is looking wonderful in the song. She has absolutely killed it. Till date, she has maintained the same energy, same dedication, same work ethic. I’m actually inspired by her and it was a lot of fun working with so many people, ” he added.
Sharing the response he has received for the song, ‘Chura Ke Dil Mera’, Meezaan said, “It has been great. People have loved it. They showered their love, whether through social media, YouTube and stuff like that. It has been great. I have no complaints and it is still going on. There is a lot of Hungama still to be done. We’re taking it one step at a time. There is one more song that came out after, which is called, ‘Chintan’. That song also has received a lot of love from people everywhere. Now we have other song coming out, which is the Hungama title track. It is going to be wonderful and i am excited for everyone to see the whole film as it is.”
Check out the entire interview on NewsX YouTube:
Naxals using drones for recce on security forces
Nagpur: Naxals are using small drones for surveillance of security forces near the Chhattisgarh borders, said Maharashtra Police on Friday.
Speaking to ANI, Sandip Patil, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Gadchiroli said, “Naxals are using small drones for surveillance of our posts near the Chhattisgarh border. In the last 4-5 months we have reported 7-8 incidents. Considering all the possibilities we are taking anti-drone measures.” “These small drones are generally used in wedding ceremonies for photography. They use these drones to check the locations of police parties and security parties from the mountains,” said Patil.
He said considering the drone incident that happened in Jammu, the Maharshtra Police has increased the vigilance and been adopting anti-drone measures. Asked about if there is any coordination with Chattishgarh, the DIG said, “Drones were used in Chattishgarh 7-8 months back. We are working in coordination with IG Bastar and SPs and CRPF. We have made a counter-drone strategy with coordination with them.”
Patil further said that the prima facie information suggests that Naxals procured the drones from Hyderabad.
STUDENTS REACT AS CBSE DECLARES CLASS 12 BOARD EXAM RESULTS
As the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) released the much-awaited class 12 results on Friday, mixed reactions were received from students. This year, the pass percentage stands at 99.37 per cent.
Some expressed their happiness calling the decision perfect while the others felt the entire year along with their preparations was wasted. Speaking to ANI, Vanshikha Gupta, a Commerce student said, “Did not expect to get 98.4 per cent, I’m very happy. Keeping pandemic and safety of students in mind, the government took a good decision,” Vanshikha Gupta, a Commerce student.
Abhishek Chaudhary, another student from Delhi said, “Results were not what we were expecting. I was expecting over 80 per cent score but I am disappointed. I wanted to get into a government college but it seems difficult now.”
“I’m extremely happy, was not expecting to score over 90 per cent,” said Khushi, a humanities student in Ludhiana.
The exam was scheduled to be held in May but was cancelled due to a surge in Covid-19 cases. This year, the CBSE 12th results have been prepared in an alternative way as board exams could not be held this year due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The board had adopted an alternative assessment scheme to finalise the result.
WITH ANI INPUTS
ASSAM ISSUES ADVISORY AGAINST TRAVEL TO MIZORAM
The Assam government on Thursday issued a travel advisory asking people not to travel to Mizoram and advised people from the state working or staying there to “exercise utmost caution.”
Assam and Mizoram also traded accusations over deployment of security forces along the interstate border on Thursday, three days after both sides were locked in a fierce gun battle near the boundary that left six policemen and a civilian dead.
Amidst the ongoing border dispute between the two states Assam and Mizoram, Assam Minister Ashok Singhal on Thursday informed that Mizoram civilians are threatening the people of Assam.
While speaking to ANI, Ashok Singhal said, “In the video footage, Mizoram civilians are threatening us and they are carrying weapons too. So we have issued an advisory for the people of Assam not to visit Mizoram. If somebody still goes there, we will not take his/her responsibility.” “Provocative statements are still being issued from the other side.
Further, talks will take place with the mediation of the Union Home Ministry. We have handed over the post to neutral forces but Mizoram has still not withdrawn its personnel from post”, said Cachar Guardian Minister Singhal.
Taking stock of the situation, Assam’s Cachar Superintendent of Police, Ramandeep Kaur said, “The CRPF is manning the border. Assam police have withdrawn as per directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) but on Mizoram’s side, the police are still out there which is making the situation tense. Assam people should abide by directions and advisory given by the government of Assam.”
Meanwhile, Assam police also issued a notification saying that in order to check trafficking of illicit drugs, all incoming vehicles from Mizoram will be thoroughly checked at all the entry points along the Assam Mizoram border.
On July 26, the border dispute between the two states peaked and a fierce gun battle between the forces of the two states resulted in the death of five Assam police personnel and one civilian.
One injured policeman succumbed to his injuries later taking the total toll of policemen to six. At least 50 people were injured in the incident. A total of six companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed at the site where the policemen died.
WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Malls, multiplexes may soon reopen in Maharashtra
The Maharashtra government may soon allow malls, multiplexes, restaurants and gymnasiums to reopen and operate at 50 per cent capacity while shops and other establishments may get extended hours of operations, beyond 4 pm, in 25 districts with low Covid-19 positivity rates. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that a formal order on easing the restrictions will be issued in the next few days.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting with the state Covid task force and senior health department officials to discuss the easing of restrictions a day after several ministers demanded relaxations in the state cabinet meeting.
Tope said on that Mumbai and 24 other districts will be in Level 2. Eleven districts, including Palghar, Raigad, Ahmednagar and Pune, which are part of MMR or share borders with it, will remain in Level 3 because of their higher test positivity rate and cases.
He also said that after the meeting that the issue would be decided by the Chief Minister regarding the resumption of the local trains.
Weekends may see some relaxations but Sunday will remain completely shut. Only fully vaccinated (2 doses) citizens will be able to travel in local trains. As of now only government employees and people involved with essential services are allowed to travel in local trains.
Cinema halls likely to be open for the public with limited capacity. Local shops, hotels, and gyms will be allowed to remain open for longer hours now.
Districts which will still see the curbs are Pune, Solapur, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Beed, and Ahmednagar. These districts have higher positivity rates than average.
INDIA-CHINA TALKS TODAY, GOGRA, HOT SPRINGS DISENGAGEMENT ON CARDS
India and China will hold the 12th round of Corps Commander-level talks on Saturday. It will be aimed at discussing disengagement from the remaining friction points in the eastern Ladakh sector Army sources told ANI.
India and China have already disengaged from the banks of Pangong lake after extensive talks and the Gogra Heights and Hot Springs areas are left to be resolved as these friction points were created post-Chinese aggression last year. According to Army sources, the 12th round of Corps Commander level talks between India and China is scheduled to be held in Moldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control around 10:30 am.
“12th round of Corps Commander level talks between India and China to be held in Moldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control around 10:30 am. India and China expected to discuss disengagement from the Hot Springs and Gogra Heights areas,” Army sources said.
The two countries have been engaged in a military standoff for almost a year but disengaged from the most contentious Pangong lake area last month after extensive talks at both military and political levels.
The credit for the disengagement was given to all stakeholders by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane who also talked about the country benefitting from the inputs given by the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during the crisis.
Earlier, India and China held 11 rounds of talks at the Corps Commander level to reach the arrangement to disengage from the Pangong lake area.
With ANI inputs
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