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Modified lockdown rules for ‘people’s sake’, now big challenge to not let COVID-19 reach villages: PM to CMs



As India entered the last week of the lockdown imposed to curb Coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a video conference with the chief ministers on ways to strengthen the COVID-19 containment strategy and stepping up of economic activities in a calibrated manner post the 54-day shutdown.

This is the prime minister’s fifth virtual meeting with state chief ministers on the Coronavirus situation in the country and the consequent lockdown.

Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were also present along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his opening remarks, PM Modi spoke about migrants, saying that he understands their need to go home. “It is a challenge for us is to not let COVID-19 spread to villages.” the Prime Minister stressed.

The Prime Minister said the government has stressed that people should stay where they are. “But it is human nature to want to go home and so we had to modify or change our decisions. Despite that, to make sure it doesn’t spread and go to villages, that’s our big challenge,” he said.

The chief ministers, on their part, also briefed the Prime Minister on the Coronavirus situation in their respective states.

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jahanmohan Reddy informed that 30,000 people in the state have been identified as vulnerable and tested for Coronavirus, while stressing that people need to be prepared to live with the virus till a vaccine is ready.

“We need to come back to normalcy and the coronavirus stigma has to end. Families with positive case is facing social ostracisation. We have to urge people to come forward for self- isolation. We need to prepare people to live with coronavirus till vaccine is ready, we have to create massive awareness to prevent transmit of the virus,” he said.

The chief minister further called for an exit plan from “institutional quarantine”. “…The fear and stigma should end. We have to remove the stigma. We need to tell that 95 per cent of the case is curable.”

Jagan Reddy added that the economy needs to be revived by doing away with restrictions on inter-state transport of goods. He also opined that migrants returning to their native places should be allowed to come back after certain a period of time following social distancing norms.

The Andhra Pradesh CM sought relaxation of lockdown measures, with strict adherence to personal hygiene protocols. He said 9 lakh people are linked to the MSME sector, and urged the Prime Minister to handhold the sector so that the issue of unemployment doesn’t rise.

Arunachal Pradesh’s Pema Khandu told PM Modi that the chief ministers of the Northeast states are working together as a team to combat COVID-19. He also sought the PM’s intervention to take the state back on track for investment in Agriculture and Horticulture sectors.

Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswamy, in the video conference, sought early release of NHM funds, Rs 2000 crpre special grant to Tamil Nadu and demanded pending GST amount to be released.

Speaking at the meeting, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel informed about migrants from Gujarat reaching the state today, while adding that all of the stranded people are being brought back at the government’s expense.

Bhagel further said that the Centre and States should work together during this time of crisis and sought permission from Central government to allow states to define red, orange and green zones, which will facilitate effective and time-bound alert.

The Chhattisgarh CM also sought funds for initiating relief work.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani entended his support to the lockdown saying that the move has helped to contain COVID-19 spread and also praised the Aarogya Setu App saying it has helped the state in surveillance immensely.

He, however, opined that the lockdown should be limited to containment zones and economic activities should be restarted with safety measures in place. He also called for opening of schools after summer holidays and restarting of public transport gradually.

Rupani also thanked PM Modi for all the support extended to the state, which is the second hit state after Maharashtra.

The Gujarat CM also informed that the state is encouraging Ayurvedic homemade remedies as suggested by Ministry of Ayush to boost immunity of COVID positive cases.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has, however, opposed resumption of train services. “Train services should not be allowed… We want Centre to devise proper strategy and put train service on hold.”

Rao expressed fears that resuming train services could spread Coronavirus, and screening would be difficult. Like many other chief ministers, he also opined that lockdown should be confined to containment zones and be continued. He also called for immediate response from the Centre on defining zones.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in her response, slammed the Centre saying that it should “not play politics during this crucial time”.

At the meeting, Home Minister Amit Shah spoke about the Aarogya Setu App, its importance and the need to popularise the downloading of the mobile application, as it will help in tracking the Coronavirus. He also urged the chief ministers to initiate measures to popularise the importance of the app.

In the biggest single-day jump, India on Monday recorded 4,213 cases of Coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 67,152 in the country.

As many as 97 deaths were reported in the same period taking the toll to 2,206.

Of the total Coronavirus cases, 44,029 are active cases and as many as 20,917 COVID-19 patients have been cured and discharged.

Meanwhile, in a major step towards easing the nationwide lockdown, the Railways plans to gradually restart limited passenger trains from May 12. The booking for reservation in these Indian Railways special trains will start at 4 pm today and will be available only on the IRCTC website.

Passenger services, suspended since the lockdown began March 25, will start with 15 “special” trains (total of 30 journeys) departing from Delhi and connecting cities in Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura.

PM had his last call with the state CMs on April 27 during which he discussed the ext plan for the second lockdown which ended on May 3. He had asked the state Chief Ministers to chalk out an exit plan by marking districts as red, orange and green zones to indicate the level and intensity of the COVID-19 infection.



Justice Served: UP Gangster Atiq Ahmed and 2 Others, Sentenced to Life Term for Kidnapping



Photo : PTI

In a recent development, a court in Prayagraj has sentenced Atiq Ahmed, a well-known gangster turned politician, along with two others, to rigorous life imprisonment. The verdict was pronounced after they were found guilty of the 2007 kidnapping case of Umesh Pal. Pal was an eyewitness in the murder case of BSP MLA Raju Pal. The court has also acquitted seven others, including Atiq’s brother Ashraf.

The sentencing of Atiq Ahmed and his accomplices comes after a long-drawn legal battle. They were found guilty of abducting Umesh Pal, who was a crucial witness in the murder case of Raju Pal. The court’s decision to award rigorous life imprisonment to the three accused has been welcomed by many, who see it as a step towards justice for the victim and his family.

In another development, earlier today, the Supreme Court refused to entertain Ahmed’s plea seeking protection in connection with the case. The apex court directed Ahmed’s lawyer to approach the High Court with his grievances instead. This decision has come as a setback for Ahmed, who was seeking protection from possible harm in jail.

The verdict in the case is being seen as a significant victory for the judiciary and the law enforcement agencies, who have been working tirelessly to bring the accused to justice. It sends a strong message to anyone who thinks they can get away with heinous crimes like kidnapping and murder. The case has also highlighted the need to protect witnesses in such cases, who play a crucial role in ensuring justice is served.

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Covid cases increasing in Delhi, more than 150 cases in 24 hours, infection rate also increased.



Representational Image | Photo by Firosnv. Photography on Unsplash

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Delhi has been on the rise again in recent days. The capital has seen a continuous surge in the number of cases, with 152 new infections reported in the last 24 hours alone. The infection rate has also risen to 6.66%. This represents a significant increase from the 117 cases reported on Thursday, indicating that the situation is worsening rapidly.

Experts have suggested that the rise in COVID-19 cases may be linked to the increasing number of cases of H3N2 flu in the city. As more people have been getting tested for H3N2, some have been found to be positive for COVID-19 as well. The trend is reflected in the figures from the past few days, with 84 cases reported on Wednesday and 83 on Tuesday, before the sudden spike on Friday.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has issued several recommendations to hospitals in the city to help tackle the situation. Hospitals have been advised to screen patients with fever and maintain an adequate supply of essential medicines. They have also been instructed to ensure that ventilators and other equipment are in good working order.

The Corporation has urged hospitals to promote the booster vaccine dose to their employees and patients and to follow all government guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A nodal officer has been appointed to ensure that hospitals maintain cleanliness, prevent the spread of infection, and manage biomedical waste effectively.

The situation is not limited to Delhi, as cases of COVID-19 are rising rapidly in other parts of India as well. Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka are all areas of concern, and the central government has held a meeting to discuss the matter. The focus remains on testing, tracing, and treatment, as authorities work to contain the spread of the virus.

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Traffic chaos in Delhi as marshals struggle to control heavy vehicles on Ashram flyover



Representational Image | Image Courtesy : Paramjit Dhillon @Paramjitdhillon (Twitter)

Delhi, India – Chaos ensues as the Ashram Flyover becomes a traffic nightmare for commuters in the city. But fear not, as a group of marshals has been deployed to restore order and bring some sense to the madness.

The Ashram Flyover, a major artery in the bustling metropolis of Delhi, has been a headache for commuters for quite some time now. The flyover, which connects the city’s south and central areas, sees heavy traffic congestion during peak hours, causing long delays and frayed nerves.

But things have taken a spicy turn as marshals have been brought in to keep things under control. These marshals, donning bright green jackets, have been tasked with managing the traffic flow, ensuring that vehicles move smoothly and without incident.

The marshals have their work cut out for them, as the chaos on the flyover seems to have no end in sight. The heavy traffic, coupled with the city’s notorious lack of lane discipline, has resulted in a free-for-all on the flyover, with vehicles jostling for space and tempers flaring.

But the marshals are undeterred. Armed with whistles and hand signals, they are determined to bring some order to the chaos. And their efforts seem to be paying off, as traffic has started moving more smoothly, and the honking and shouting have reduced considerably.

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