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Covid attacks the poorest, disadvantaged the hardest: Rahul Gandhi




Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday expressed deep concern over the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic hitting India and said that virus attacks the poorest and disadvantaged the hardest.

He also reiterated his demand for the basic income support by the Central government.

He made the remarks here during a meeting of Congress ruled states and party’s ministers from alliance states to review the efforts to fight Covid-19 including availability of vaccines, access to medicines and ventilators which was chaired by party interim chief Sonia Gandhi.

The meeting comes at a time when India is witnessing a massive surge in Covid cases.

On Saturday, India recorded over 1.45 lakh fresh Covid cases and 794 deaths in the last 24 hours. Even several states have red flagged the government over the shortage of the Covid-19 vaccines.

During the meeting, Rahul Gandhi expressed deep concern over the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the country and asked for a concerted approach.

He asked the state governments to look at new mutations, which are the source of second wave and also called for joining hands and energies, instead of complacency and premature victories.

Rahul Gandhi also pointed towards a direct connection between Covid-19 spread and nutrition and livelihood.

He pointed out that the virus attacks the poorest and disadvantaged the hardest.

He also reiterated the demand for ‘basic income support’ by the Central government.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel during the meeting highlighted the steps taken by his government to fight Covid and mentioned the state has only three days of vaccine left, drawing the Central government’s attention to ramp up the supply.

Even Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot pointed out Covid vaccine shortage in their states.

Gehlot also pointed out the spurt in Covid infections, and said the Centre must take states on board as stakeholders and not as adversaries.

Maharashtra Minister Balasaheb Thorat during the meeting pointed out that state can vaccinate 5 lakh people daily provided the Central government supplies the vaccine.

He said that the Covid vaccination centres will shut down and also listed urgent need for 1,200 ventilators, remdesivir injections and oxygen.

During the meeting, Jharkhand Minister Rameshwar Oraon listed various measures undertaken to tackle Covid-19 situation in the state.

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Amit Shah talks to 4 CMs about preparedness on cyclone Tauktae




Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday chaired a review meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Union Territory of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli to assess preparedness to deal with the cyclonic storm “Tauktae”.

He took stock of the measures and the plans by the states and UTs, as well as Central Ministries along with agencies concerned to deal with the cyclone, and the situation arising out of it.

National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that “Tauktae” (pronounced as Tau’Te) over east central Arabian Sea is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.

The cyclone is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17 and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district) around May 18 early morning.

“Tauktae” moved nearly northwards with a speed of about 11 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Sunday over east central Arabian Sea near latitude 15.0 degree North and longitude 72.7 degree East, about 130 km west-southwest of Panjim-Goa, 450 km south of Mumbai, 700 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and 840 km southeast of Karachi (Pakistan),” the IMD said.

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Harsh Vardhan to hold video meet with 4 CMs on Covid



Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will be holding a meeting with Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat on Covid-19 situation and progress on vaccination drive in these states later on Saturday.

Harsh Vardhan will hold a meet with the Health Ministers of these four states through video conference at 3 p.m.

The Union Minister will review current Covid situation and progress of vaccination drive being run in their respective states to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus which so far has infected 2,43,72,907 people across the country, including 36,73,802 active cases and 2,66,207 deaths.

In a tweet, the Minister informed about his meeting on Covid-19 situation and vaccination drive in these states.

Uttar Pradesh is on top with 13,85,855 Covid cases reported so far in the state followed by Andhra Pradesh (11,75,843), Gujarat (6,09,031) and Madhya Pradesh (6,05,423).

The Health Minister will hold the meeting hours after attending a high-level virtual meeting on Covid-19 situation in the country chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the past 23 days India’s daily Covid tally has plateaued over the three-lakh-mark and over 3,000 casualties for 17 days.

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Six-time Congress MP R.L. Bhatia passes away at 100



Six-time Congress MP and two-time Governor R.L. Bhatia passed away in Amritsar on Saturday, his family members said.

Former Minister of State for External Affairs, Bhatia was 100 years old. He represented the Amritsar parliamentary constituency six times from 1972, and was the Governor of Kerala from 2004 to 2008 and of Bihar from 2008 to 2009.

He was admitted to Fortis Hospital a day earlier after he complained of uneasiness.

Known for his impeccable image, Bhatia would have turned 101 on July 3.

MP Manish Tewari paid a visit to Bhatia at his residence in December last year to enquire about his well being along with Amritsar MP Gurjeet Aujla.

In a tweet after the meeting, Tewari wrote, “Spent some wonderful time in his company, marvelling at his memory and recollection of events, even at this age!”

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