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Nine killed as massive fire breaks out in Kolkata high-rise

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Nine people, including four firefighters, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, and an assistant sub-inspector of the Kolkata Police were killed when a massive fire broke out in the Eastern Railway’s office in central Kolkata on late Monday evening.

All the deceased had used the elevator, said a fire services official on Tuesday adding that the accident occurred on the 13th floor of the building.

“The fire which broke out around 6.10 pm was brought under control after nearly 11 hours, at around 5 am on Tuesday. There are still some pockets where the fire is yet to be doused. Our men are working and all engines are still there,” said a fire services official on Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out in a multi-storeyed building at New Koilaghat on Strand Road. The building houses the zonal offices of Eastern and South-Eastern Railways, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

At least 20 engines were pressed into service.

“Seven bodies were found in an elevator, two in another one. Nearly all (seven) the bodies were lying inside the elevator. They had used the elevator to climb up. As the floor was on fire and it was hot, the moment the elevator door opened, they got charred,” state fire minister Sujit Bose told media persons late Monday night.

“We will conduct an inquiry into why the firefighters and their police officer used the lift because it is completely against drill norms,” added Sujit Bose.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed grief over the incident and ordered a high-level probe to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed grief over the loss of lives due to the fire tragedy in Kolkata.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Saddened by the loss of lives due to the fire tragedy in Kolkata. In this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest.”

source: The Statesman

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Rajasthan imposes two-week lockdown from today

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The Rajasthan government has imposed a 15-day lockdown that began on Monday and will remain in effect till May 24.

Under the lockdown, marriage ceremonies will remain banned in the state till May 31. Meanwhile, these ceremonies can be performed at home and courts with a limited number of 11 guests.

Marriage gardens, marriage halls, and hotel complexes shall remain closed for wedding ceremonies.

Liquor shops will be open from 6 am to 11 am from Monday to Friday during this lockdown. And Fruit and vegetable carts will be allowed to operate from 6 am to 5 pm.

DJ, procession, party, etc. is not allowed till May 31.

Petrol pumps will remain open, but private vehicles will be able to fill diesel-petrol or gas from 7 am to 12 noon.

Medical stores will remain open all seven days. Dairy and milk shops will be allowed to open from 6 am to 11 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm. Government ration shops will be open without any holidays. Medical stores, medical equipment shops will be open all seven days.

Wholesale and retail shops related to food, grocery items, flour mills, and cattle feed will be open from Monday to Friday from 6 to 11 am. Shops retailing products required by farmers, fertilizers, and agricultural implements will be opened from Monday to Thursday from 6 am to 11 am.

India recorded 3,66,161 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours taking the overall caseload to 2,26,62,575, according to data from the Union Health Ministry.

The country’s active COVID-19 cases stand at 37,45,237.

With 3,754 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total death toll is 2,46,116.

In the last 24 hours, 3,53,818 recovered, taking the number of recoveries to 1,86,71,222.

(With IANS inputs)

source: The Statesman

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Convent school converts its auditorium into 40-bedded Covid care

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Citing the rising burden of Covid-19 on the crumbling medical infrastructure of the national capital, a convent school based in the South-West district of Delhi has converted its space into a Covid care facility.

The Mount Carmel School in Dwarka has set up a 40 bedded centre equipped with oxygen concentrators, healthcare staff, medicines and other medical facilities at its auditorium which started functioning Monday onwards.

The facility was inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia today who said that the centre will be linked to a large hospital if the need arises.

“We may be able to link this Covid Care Centre with to one of our big hospitals in the city, based on assessing the needs and requirements of the centre. This Covid Centre started under the aegis of Mount Carmel School Society, is a mark of humanity and generosity. The availability of beds and other facilities give us confidence that we have the recourses to fight this deadly crisis,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Sisodia spoke on the current health crisis of Covid-19  reigning in the capital and said that signals have started to appear that the city is gradually coming out of its worst scenario.

“We see that nations across the world are experiencing one of the worst crisis ever. The period from 22 April to 5 May was the most challenging for Delhi. We received the highest number of cases and the infection rate was staggering in the city. We responded immediately by increasing hospital beds in the city however, scarcity of oxygen has been one of the most challenging problems we have faced.

“The decreasing positivity rate shows that we are slowly coming out of the crisis and all the credit goes to the doctors and the corona warriors for ensuring such a decline,” he added.

source: The Statesman

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Vaccine scarcity derailing our resolve to immunize whole of Delhi in 3 months: Kejriwal

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rued on Saturday that the scarcity of vaccines is derailing the government’s intent to vaccinate Delhiites in three months.

In a disappointing tone, he informed that the national capital is not getting an adequate amount of vaccines.

“The major obstacle we’re facing today is that of vaccine scarcity. If we get adequate doses, then as I have said repeatedly, we will be able to vaccinate the entire Delhi in three months. The people of Delhi want this, the Delhi Government wants this,” Kejriwal said.

Addressing a digital press conference, the CM estimated that according to the population, the city needs around 3 crore vaccine doses to achieve full immunisation.

“Delhi’s population is 2 crores, more or less 1 crore people are in the age group of 18-45, 50 lakh are under 18, and 50 lakh are older than 45; so those above 18 are roughly 1.5 crore. These 1.5 crore people have to be given three crore vaccines, which is our requirement. From these 3 crore vaccines, the Delhi Government as of now has received approximately 40 lakh vaccines. Therefore we need 2 crore 60 lakh additional vaccines. More or less, 80-85 lakh vaccines are needed per month for the next three months,” Kejriwal told the reporters.

Speaking on the arrangements for ongoing vaccination drive against Covid-19 which entered its third phase this month allowing people above 18 years to take the jab, Kejriwal informed that the centres will be increased up to 300 shortly.

“The vaccination drive in Delhi is in full swing. Since the day the vaccination drive began for those below the age of 45, I have witnessed great enthusiasm amongst the youth, many of whom are getting vaccinated. The people are visibly happy with the arrangements made by the government. We have made these arrangements in around 100 schools and are going to increase it to about 250-300 schools,” he said.

source: The Statesman

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