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India News Maharashtra

Winds of change in Madhya Pradesh politics

In the first phase of counting held on July 17, AIMIM had bagged two municipal wards in Jabalpur and one each in Khandwa and Burhanpur…reports Asian Lite News

The outcomes of the urban local body polls in Madhya Pradesh will send warning signal to the two national parties dominating state politics, the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress, as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) have made a stunning entry in Madhya Pradesh’s political scenario.

While the Arvind Keriwal-led AAP bagged one Mayoral post besides winning around half-a-dozen municipal wards, Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM also made an impressive entry into state politics by winning as many as six municipal wards.

After the second phase of counting on Wednesday, results of five municipal corporations — Rewa, Katni, Morena, Dewas and Ratlam — were announced, in which the AAP managed to win one municipal ward while the AIMIM won three municipal wards.

Notably, the results came just about 16 months before the Assembly elections scheduled in 2023, boosting the confidence of the cadres both the debutant parties in the state.

In the first phase of counting held on July 17, AIMIM had bagged two municipal wards in Jabalpur and one each in Khandwa and Burhanpur. In the second phase of counting held on Wednesday, out of the three municipal seats AIMIM won, one was won in Khargone by a candidate belonging to the Hindu community.

AIMIM’s Aruna Upadhyay, who won from Khargone, told IANS, “I had never thought of contesting elections, but I was impressed by the thoughts of Asaduddin Owaisi. Communal violence in April this year changed the scenario of the city and the people who used to walk and talk together are now experiencing bitterness. People from both the communities have supported me and I will try my best to work for them.”

In the overall results, out of the 16 municipal corporations in Madhya Pradesh, BJP could retain only nine Mayoral posts, while the Congress for the first time managed to win five Mayoral. The AAP and an Independent candidate won one Mayoral post each.

The saffron camp lost the Mayoral post in the Morena Municipal Corporation, the home turf of party stalwart and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar. The BJP also lost the Mayoral post in Rewa after a gap of 25 years.

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-Top News India News Maharashtra

Thackeray sacks Shinde as ‘Shiv Sena Leader’

On anticipated lines, the Shiv Sena ‘removed’ the new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as a ‘Shiv Sena Leader’ for indulging in ‘anti-party’ activities, the party confirmed here on Saturday.

In a terse letter to Shinde on Thursday, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who quit as Chief Minister on June 29, said: “You have been indulging in anti-party activities and have voluntarily given up your membership of Shiv Sena.”

Accordingly, in exercise of the powers vested in him as the ‘Shivsena Paksha Pramukha’, Thackeray said he has removed Shinde as a Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation.

The party’s mouthpiece, ‘Saamana’ Group of publications have highlighted and confirmed the development in their editions on Saturday amid speculation it could trigger a bigger struggle to control the 56-year-old party and its assets.

There are 11 Shiv Sena leaders in the top party hierarchy who plan out major policy decisions giving a direction to the party, and the move was taken as per certain precedents.

The possibility of a similar fate awaiting the other 39 MLAs who joined the Shinde-led rebellion on June 20, is not ruled out, after it created an unprecedented political crisis in the state and led to the collapse of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on Thursday.

On Friday, Thackeray dismissively said that a person who ‘sidelined’ the Sena could not be called a ‘Shiv Sena Chief Minister’, as contended by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and the rebels group, though Shinde’s supporters are unfazed.

Uddhav Thackeray

While Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister on June 29 after 31 months in power, the Sena ‘rebel’ Shinde was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister with the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as the surprise Deputy Chief Minister on Thursday.

The new government has been ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to seek a ‘vote of confidence’ in a Special Legislative Assembly session to be held on July 3-4.

ALSO READ: Shinde takes oath as Maharashtra CM

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-Top News India News Maharashtra

Maharashtra @2022: Bumpy Road Ahead

While the MVA’s performance on the Covid-19 front has not been found wanting, other infrastructure, developmental and political issues may prove tricky, given the changed dynamics at the ground-level….writes Quaid Najmi

As the calendar changed this week, a challenging year looms ahead on the Maharashtra political front, promising to be both bewitching and bouncy.

On one side is the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, now puffing and pacing to the half-way mark of its rocky term, and on the other, a belligerent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), fervently hoping to yank off the rug anytime.

The first of the challenges will emerge during the upcoming elections to various major municipal corporations, in the current quarter (unless postponed owing to the pending OBC quotas issue), which promise to be a mini-referendum among the urbanites on both the MVA and the BJP.

The stakes are high for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the country’s biggest and richest civic body, lorded over by Shiv Sena for nearly three decades now, the last few years solo.

The hanging OBCs quotas are becoming tricky – everybody wants it, nobody wants deferment of any elections, yet there appears no quickie, magical, universally acceptable, solution in sight to the vexed problem, not to mention the Maratha reservations, Muslims and other communities seeking a share in the pie.

While the MVA’s performance on the Covid-19 front has not been found wanting, other infrastructure, developmental and political issues may prove tricky, given the changed dynamics at the ground-level.

Bedevilled by the BJP since the day he took the oath, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is currently down with spinal issues but not out, though MVA partners long for his presence for the past couple of months.

Adding to the Opposition fire is the fuel of several central investigative agencies, some Bollywood actors and others, who have apparently ‘allied’ with the BJP to corner and crush the MVA government deploying an Australian-style ‘full press’ strategem.

The MVA is learning to hit back fast – as was evident in the war between NCP Minister and Nawab Malik, and the former Narcotics Control Bureau Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede – which left the agency’s reputation in tatters.

In fact, the needles of suspicion are also pointing at other ravaging Central agencies whose best-loved targets are Sena-NCP politicians, unnerving the entire MVA as the BJP watches the puppet show gleefully.

The MVA also ensured the arrest of its bete-noire, Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane last year for the infamous ‘slap-slur’ against Thackeray, and this year his son and BJP MLA Nitesh Rane is panting from pillar to post to evade arrest in an ‘attempt to murder’ case.

A long-pending grouse of the MVA is the 15-month-long ‘delay’ in Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari clearing the list of 12 MLCs, submitted to Raj Bhavan in November 2020.

Political sources hint that it may remain an uphill task for the MVA as the gubernatorial nod to the list could upset the current numbers in the state Legislative Council, with significant impact on the upcoming biennial elections to 3 Rajya Sabha seats and around 16 Legislative Council seats this year.

Pic credits WIKIPEDIA

Of the 3 RS seats, two are held by BJP (Dr Vikas Mahatme and Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe) and one is occupied by Congress’ P. Chidambaram, besides one nominated seat held by BJP’s Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati.

On the economic front, the MVA leaders still bay for outstanding dues on Goods & Services Tax (GST), though the state registers are jingling by attracting massive domestic and foreign investments into various sectors, improved job creations and Mumbai could see at least two more Metros functional in the first quarter and a part of the coastal highway, too.

Without doubt, in 2022, the MVA will have to keep its flock close and perform speedily to save its soul from the merciless BJP & Co., menacingly breathing down its neck.

ALSO READ: Offline sale of tickets for Taj Mahal stopped

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Maharashtra UK News

OMPEG Celebrates 5th Anniversary

During the last five years, OMPEG has connected hundreds of professionals and entrepreneurs and delivered more than 60 high-value events successfully, writes Ragasudha Vinjamuri

Overseas Maharashtrian Professionals and Entrepreneurs Group (OMPEG) has marked its 5th anniversary recently at DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes- part of MK Dons Football Stadium.

Themed “Many Colours One Spirit” depicting many qualities needed to be a successful professional or entrepreneur, the event had more than 200 attendees.

Guest of Honour Rohan Samant, HCI

Rohan Samant- First Secretary (Political & Immigration) at the High Commission of India, London was the Guest of Honour, and Dilip Amdekar- Founder of Academy of Science Technology and Management was the Keynote Speaker on the occasion.

Invited guests included renowned business leader Uday Dholakia OBE, renowned educationist Kabir Shaikh, Associate Director at UKIBC (UK India Business Council) Siddharth Mukne, UK Head of CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) Lakshmi Kaul, among others.

OMPEG
Cake-cutting by OMPEG Team

While Dilip Amdekar spoke on the Journey of a Professional to Entrepreneur, OMPEGians Abhijit Akerkar, Ketki Gokhale, Dr Mahadeo Bhide, Pradyna Punekar, Sanjay Rode, Raj Deokar and Dr Vijendra Ingle have shared their experiences. CEO of the event’s corporate sponsor Innvotec- Tofiq Qureshi and Manoj Karkhanis have also briefly spoken.

Achievements of Ajit Jaokar, Akshay Shah, Devyani Vaishampayan, Himanshu Dasare, Kailas Lovlekar, Jailesh Deshpande, Nayan Gala, Consultant Gynaecologist and elected Councillor of Sutton Coldfield Dr Nitish Raut, Pankaja Karenar, Dr Sanjiv Manjure, and Vaibhav Naik were recognised and honoured.

OMPEG Honours 2021

Dr Vaibhav Deshpande was given special recognition as Community Champion for his frontline duties as NHS COVID19 warrior, and for his personal support and efforts to create awareness of COVID19 within the OMPEG community.

OMPEG was founded with a vision to establish a platform for nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship within the UK based Maharashtrian community and is the only business network of UK Maharashtrians.

Invited Guests at OMPEG event

During the last five years, OMPEG has connected hundreds of professionals and entrepreneurs and delivered more than 60 high-value events successfully. OMPEG’s first Regional Chapter was launched in Midlands in 2020, creating another milestone for the organisation.

OMPEG’s Central Core Volunteer Team includes Ani Kaprekar, Harshwardhan Soman, Mayura Chandekar, Prerna Tambay, Rahul Gholap, Rajan Shegunshi, Ravindra Gadgil, Reshma Vikas, Samir Gujar, and Sushil Rapatwar.

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India News Maharashtra

All places of worship in Maha open doors, devotees out in force

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, along with Nationalist Congress Party state President and Minister Jayant Patil, prayed at the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganpati Temple in Prabhadevi…reports Asian Lite News.

Lakhs of devotees from all religions thronged thousands of places of worship which were thrown open on Thursday after nearly six months in Maharashtra, as the threats of a Covid-19 third wave appeared to have receded, officials said.

While temples rang bells, mosques saw azaans beingr recited, hymns were sung in churches, gurbani and shabads in gurudwaras, plus prayers in derasars, Buddh viharas, fire temples, et al, in Mumbai and other parts of the state, adhering to full Covid protocols as directed by the government.

Leading the state, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with his wife Rashmi and son Aditya who is Tourism Minister, went to pray at the famed Mumbadevi Temple in south Mumbai, of the deity from whom the city gets is name.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, along with Nationalist Congress Party state President and Minister Jayant Patil, prayed at the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganpati Temple in Prabhadevi.

Other ministers joined celebs and commoners in different places of worship which have been cleaned spic and span, with fragrance of sandalwood, incense and agarbattis emanating from there, creating the right ambience for devotees.

All places of worship like ISKCON temples at Chowpatty and Juhu, the Haji Ali Mausoleum in Worli, the Mount Mary Church in Bandra also attracted thousands for the first prayers after a long bout of closure.

Similar crowds were witnessed at the Shri Saibaba Temple in Shirdi and the Shaneshwar Temple in Shanishingnapur, both in Ahmednagar, the famous Takhat Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib gurudwara in Nanded, the Ashthavinayak Temple, the Mahalaxmi Temple, Haji Malang Dargah, the Trimbakeshwar Temple and Saptashringi Temple in Nashik, Jivdani Temple in Palghar, Jejuri Temple in Pune, Godiji Parshwanath Jain Temple in Mumbai and more.

The opening up of worship places gave a fillip to the local economy with thousands of vendors selling pooja items, prasad, flowers, garlands, ‘chadars’, religious books, scriptures, holy water bottles, photos, candles, lamps, flags, festoons, holy memorabilia, and other devotion-related materials also sprang into action to cater to the customers, while gurudwaras prepared for their traditional ‘langars’ and some mosques for the ‘niyaaz-jamaats’ for devotees.

ALSO READ-Portuguese bell rings in Maharashta temples

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-Top News Maharashtra

Maharashtra approves Rs 11,500 crore aid package

As an immediate measure, the government will provide Rs 10,000 to all affected families for loss of clothes, household utensils, furniture, etc…reports Asian Lite News

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced the much-anticipated relief package of Rs 11,500 crore for emergency relief, repairs and long-term rehabilitation measures for the victims of the recent devastating floods which hit 9 districts last month.

The decision was taken at a crucial cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and ministers of all three allies — Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, said Relief & Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar.

As an immediate measure, the government will provide Rs 10,000 to all affected families for loss of clothes, household utensils, furniture, etc, he said.

Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said that around 4 lakh hectares of agricultural lands have been completely ravaged in the flood havoc and 20 per cent of the balance work of recording ‘panchnamas’ is still underway.

However, all the affected people will be provided sufficient aid to help them rebuild their lives and he urged the Centre to come forward and help the state grappling with the huge crisis, he added.

Among the highlights, of the total fund, Rs 1,500 crore is for assistance, Rs 3,000 crore for reconstruction activities of the ravaged regions, and Rs 7,000 crore for flood mitigation measures in these areas, said Thackeray.

The government will extend relief of Rs 150,000 per house pucca/kutchha house, which was destroyed completely, Rs 50,000 for homes which suffered 50 per cent destruction, and Rs 25,000 for homes with 25 percent damage, and Rs 15,000 for lesser havoc, and Rs 15,000 for each hutment destroyed.

In urban centres, the payment would be as per eligibility for slums under the rehabilitation for a declared slum belt and in rural areas, those eligible for regularisation but not yet regularised shall be entitled for the aid.

Authorised shopkeepers, who are are local residents, shall be given up to a maximum of Rs 50,000 or upto 75 per cent of the actual losses as per the panchnamas, and local stall-owners will get maximum aid of Rs 10,000 or upto 75 per cent of their loss.

For the loss of dairy animals, the payout would be Rs 40,000 per animal – pulling animals between Rs 20,000/Rs 30,000 per animal, sheep, goats, pigs at Rs 3,000 per creature with limitation of 30 small milch animals per family, Rs 50 per poultry bird with a maximum of 100 birds per family, and Rs 5,000 for lost poultry sheds.

Fisherfolk, who suffered substantially, shall be entitled to Rs 25,000 for total loss of boats, Rs 10,000 for partial damage, and upto Rs 5,000 for loss of fishing nets.

Local artisans/craftspersons shall be given upto 75 per cent of their actual losses or maximum of Rs 50,000, with 12 categories included for the aid.

Meanwhile, Minister of State Aditi Tatkare demanded that the Centre should immediately sanction Rs 1,000 crore towards flood aid in the state, while Congress’ former MP Hussain Dalwai said that the package had not given sufficient aid to the worst-hit Konkan region.

A record downpour aggravated by other circumstances resulted in massive floods in nine districts of the coastal Konkan and western Maharashtra in the fourth week of July, besides tragedies of landslips, hillslides, house-crashes, waterlogging for several days, etc.

ALSO READ: Flood-scarred Maharashtra’s toll zooms to 149
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COVID-19 India News Maharashtra

Lockdown extended in Maharashtra till June 15

The state government also released a set of guidelines in the wake of lockdown extension…reports Asian Lite News

The Maharashtra government on Sunday decided to extend the ongoing lockdown in the state by 15 days till June 15.

“Lockdown is being extended for 15 days, shall be in place till June 15 now. Depending on the case tally of districts, certain relaxations and restrictions will be enforced,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said.

The state government also released a set of guidelines in the wake of lockdown extension.

“All essential shops that are currently allowed to operate between 7-11 am may be allowed to operate between 7 am to 2 pm,” stated the order.

Thackeray also informed that so far as many as 3,000 cases of black fungus (mucormycosis) have been reported in the state.

Maharashtra reported 18,600 new cases of COVID-19, 402 deaths, and 22,532 discharges in the last 24 hours. The active cases in the state are 2,71,801.

The total number of cases in the state so far is 57,31,815 while the death toll is at 94,844. The total number of recovered cases is 53,62,370 in the state.

Health worker collect swab sample testing for Covid-19 at CP in new Delhi on Monday March 22, 2021.(Photo:Wasim Sarvar/IANS)

Meanwhile, India logged less than 2 lakh Covid-19 cases third day in a row, with 1,52,734 new infections reported in the last 24 hours, when 3,128 more succumbed to the pandemic, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said on Monday.

This is the lowest new infection reported since April 9, when India recorded 1,45,384 cases while on April 10, India witnessed 1,52,879 fresh cases.

Most Metro cities are still fighting huge waves, though Mumbai and Delhi have arrested the surge. Delhi on Sunday reported 946 cases, Mumbai 1,066, Bengaluru was the worst affected with 4,734 cases, followed by Chennai 2,689 and Kolkata 1,830 cases.

While lockdown measures are set to ease in the national capital, West Bengal has extended strict measures for 15 more days, as Tamil Nadu is micro-managing at every level to break the chain.

For the first time in 47 days Delhi on Saturday reported less than 100 cases. Andhra Pradesh on Sunday breached the 15-lakh mark in recoveries.

On May 28, the country recorded 1,86,364 cases, next day it was 1,73,790 and on May 30 it was 1,65,553.

Fatalities have also remained below 4,000 for four consecutive days.

India’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,80,47,534 with 20,26,092 active cases and 3,29,100 deaths so far.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 2,38,022 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total discharge to 2,56,92,342 from Covid till date.

The Health Ministry said that a total of 21,31,54,129 people have been vaccinated so far in the country, including 10,18,076 who were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours. (ANI/IANS)

ALSO READ: French Cos promise support in India’s Covid fight

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India News Maharashtra

Apex Court quashes Maratha reservation law

A five-judge Constitution bench, by a unanimous view, also ruled out any need to reconsider the 1992 nine-judge bench judgement in Indra Sawhney (Mandal Commission) case…reports Asian Lite News

In a major decision, the Supreme Court on Wednesday termed the 2018 Maharashtra law, providing reservations to Marathas in jobs and education, as unconstitutional, and struck it down for violating the 50 per cent cap on quota and the fundamental right to equality.

A five-judge Constitution bench, by a unanimous view, also ruled out any need to reconsider the 1992 nine-judge bench judgement in Indra Sawhney (Mandal Commission) case, which fixed 50 per cent ceiling on reservation. “We have found that no extraordinary circumstances were made out in granting separate reservation of Maratha community by exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling limit of reservation,” the top court noted.

The 569-page verdict may likely have far-reaching consequences on pending challenges to the validity of the Centre’s 10 percent Economic Weaker Section quota, and Tamil Nadu’s law for up to 69 percent reservation for the OBC. Against the backdrop of this verdict, the governments would have to prove exceptional circumstances to support their move.

The top court said the 2018 Maharashtra Act violates the principle of equality as enshrined in Article 16. The exceeding of ceiling limit without there being any extra-ordinary circumstances clearly violates Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution which makes the enactment ultra vires, it added.

Several states had demanded review for the nine-judge bench decision in view of subsequent developments and change in social dynamics.

But the court stayed unmoved.

Justice Ashok Bhushan writing on behalf of himself, and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer said: “There can be no quarrel that society changes, law changes, and people change but that does not mean that something which is good and proven to be beneficial in maintaining equality in the society should also be changed in the name of change alone.”

The Constitution bench, presided over by Justice Bhushan, observed that the pre-condition for breaching 50 per cent limit on quota under Article 16(4) like extra-ordinary and exceptional circumstances was not fulfilled in granting 12 percent and 13 percent reservation to Marathas in jobs and education, respectively.

“The representation of Marathas in public services in Grade A, B, C and D comes to 33.23 per cent, 29.03 per cent, 37.06 per cent and 36.53 per cent, computed from out of the open category filled posts, is adequate and satisfactory representation of Maratha community,” it noted.

“One community bagging such number of posts in public services is a matter of pride for the community and its representation in no manner can be said to not adequate in public services,” the top court said, also pointing out that Gaikwad Commission’s data showed that Marathas are not a socially and educationally backward class.

The other judges on the bench — Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat agreed that Maratha quota was unconstitutional, and no review of 50 per cent cap is required.

The five-judge Constitution bench upheld validity of the 102nd Amendment which granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.

However, Justices Bhushan and Nazeer’s point of view of was not agreed by other three judges who held the state was empowered to identify the backward class for granting quota.

Justice Rao said there is no obscurity in Article 342 A (1), instead it very clear that there should be one list of socially and educationally backward classes which may be issued by the President.

Also read:Trinamool wins back confidence in Junglemahal

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India News Karnataka Maharashtra

Around 3K Covid patients go ‘missing’ in Bengaluru

He added that the state had to rope in police as they have required expertise to track switched off mobile phones…reports Asian Lite News.

Grappling with an unprecedented spike in Covid cases, Karnataka is facing another challenge, of tracking and tracing of anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 Covid positive patients who have “gone missing”, state Revenue Minister, R. Ashoka revealed on Wednesday.

After his meeting with various department heads here, Ashoka, who is also Vice Chairman of the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority, told reporters that he has already directed the state police to track and trace these missing Covid patients.

“At least 2,000 to 3,000 people in Bengaluru have gone of our radar by switching off their phones and left their houses. We don’t know where they have gone,” he admitted.

Bengaluru has become epicenter of the viral spread ever since the pandemic broke out, often contributing a minimum of 50 percent to the state’s overall tally of Covid patients, fatalities, and nearly two-thirds of patients in ICUs.

“With most of these patients switching off their mobile phones, the Health Department is not able to trace them and most of them are also not available at their given addresses, it is construed as they have ‘missing’. Certainly, there is a potential threat for these missing patients. These patients can turn out to be super-spreaders,” Ashoka warned.

He added that the state had to rope in police as they have required expertise to track switched off mobile phones.

The minister added that the state government was giving free medicines to people, which can control 90 per cent of cases, but these Covid-19 infected people have switched off their mobile phones.

“Some them reach hospitals at a critical stage and desperately look for Intensive Care Unit beds. This is what is contributing more to the already existing confusion,” he said.

(Photo Credits: Bangla Sahib Gurudwara Management

Ashoka appealed to those who have tested positive for the viral disease to keep their cell phones on so that the official responsible for contact tracing and follow-ups could reach them.

“I pray to them with folded hands that Covid-19 cases will only increase due to this. It is wrong when you try for ICU beds at the last moment,” the minister said.

The Karnataka government had recently increased its contact tracing activity after it was found that the officials in Bengaluru and other districts were tracing only four contacts per infected person, while the guidelines mandate tracing at least 20 contacts.

Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan inspecting the addition of 500 Oxygenated Beds at the Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre & Hospital, in Chhatar (PIB)

Health Minister K. Sudhakar said Bengaluru had been the victim of this problem ever since the pandemic broke out.

“In my more than one year’s experience of handling this pandemic, it is observed at least 20 percent of the patients do not respond to our phone calls. Though in most of the cases, police track them down in their own way there are some of them who migrate to other states and take this disease with theme there too,” he told reporters at a separate press conference.

Also Read-Highly infectious Covid-19 strain detected in Sri Lanka

Read More-India Struggles To Stem The Covid Tsunami

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COVID-19 India News Maharashtra

BMC chief confirms Mumbai has enough oxygen now

Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has decided to vaccinate all the people in the state aged 18-45 free of cost, a minister said on Sunday.

Spelling breathing relief, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation on Sunday announced that it has sufficient stocks of oxygen to tackle the ongoing Covid-19 requirements in the country’s commercial capital – the worst-hit in the country in terms of deaths.

“All issues relative oxygn supplies under the BMC stands resolved now. Supply situation is normal,” BMC Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal said, but did not give details.

This comes a day after the BMC said it would set up 16 oxygen plants in 12 Mumbai hospitals which would produce around 43 tonnes of the life-saving air per day from the atmospheric air.

In another related development, a Western Railway train with 3 oxygen tankers left Hapa in Gujarat for Kalamboli in Maharashtra carrying around 44 tonnes of liquid medial oxygen (LMO).

So far, the WR has carried 10 tankers with 150 tonnes of LMO by trains to Maharashtra from different parts of India, said its chief spokesperson Sumit Thakur.

Last week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had appealed to top industrialists in Maharashtra to set up oxygen plants in their factories and other premises and give the entire production to the state government to tackle the oxygen crisis.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has decided to vaccinate all the people in the state aged 18-45 free of cost, a minister said on Sunday.

The state will bear the cost of inoculation of all its people between the age group of 18-45, from the next phase which will start on May 1.

vaccine jabs

The ongoing vaccination drive and the plans ahead for the second phase were discussed at the weekly Cabinet meeting last week, said Nationalist Congress Party national spokesperson and Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik.

Later, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar announced that the would float global tenders and vaccines would be purchased for the people of the state.

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray would make an announcement in this regard soon,” he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray

Informing the media on Sunday, Malik said that in the time of crisis the government would go out and help its people.

“As per the Deputy CM’s announcement, we will float tenders and get the best vaccine at the most competitive rates. We need to procure nearly 14 crore vaccine doses as two jabs are needed,” he said.

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