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Covid vaccine exports caused huge domestic shortages: MVA



The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Congress and Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday slammed the BJP at the Centre questioning its decision to permit exports of Covid-19 vaccines when people in the country were dying.

“What was the need to export vaccines to other countries. Even to India’s rivals like Pakistan? It seems the government has left our people to die. Cities and villages all over the country are reduced to cremation grounds,” Maharshtra Congress president Nana Patole said.

Senior NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also sought to know why the Centre exported Indian vaccines to foreign countries ignoring the urgent needs here.

“If the vaccines had not been sent abroad, we would not have experienced a shortage here now. But whatever has happened is gone, now at least the same quantities of vaccines must be imported for the people,” Pawar demanded.

The two senior leaders’ comments came four days after a Nagpur-based activist-lawyer Pranay Ajmera made shocking revelations through RTI how crores of vaccine doses were exported, either as ‘dole’ or as sale at rates cheaper than India, even as lakhs of domestic patients run helter-skelter for the life-saver jab.

As per official data, India exported a total of 663.698-lakh doses of the jab, consisting of 107.15-lakh doses to countries as ‘grant’, and the rest sold as per commercial agreements, to a total of 95 countries till date.

“For grant supplies, vaccines were procured at a rate of Rs 200/dose plus GST from Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd (SII-Pune) and at a rate of Rs 295/dose from Bharat Biotech International Ltd (BBIL), in accordance with the authorization given by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MHFW),” the MEA’s RTI reply to Adv. Ajmera stated.

Pawar pointed out how experts are predicting a ‘third wave’ of Covid-19 by July-August for which the state government has already started making full preparations.

“For preventing and controlling it, vaccination is the best option available, and the Centre must allow the import of vaccines Considering the capacity of the two main manufacturers, Serum Institute of India Ltd and Bharat Biotech International Ltd, it will take us a long time to inoculate the entire population,” Pawar pointed out.

Patole concurred saying that worldwide, vaccination is considered the only viable option which is showing positive results and it is being used successfully, and India must also emulate.

Giving the example of other countries like Israel where vaccination is giving good results, the Deputy CM called for implementing the inoculation drive in a proper manner across India.

Amid a debate after the expose (IANS-April 27), barely a couple of days later, the two vaccine manufacturers had slashed their vaccine prices for the states, even as the country prepared to launch the mega-vaccination programme for all in the 18-44 age group from May 1.

“The question that remains unanswered is – when India with such a huge population is dying for the doses, where was the need for us to display such generosity, even many countries with low rates of infections and fatalities,” Adv Ajmera demanded.

He suggested that ideally, India should have ensured sufficient doses for her own citizens and created a surplus before the dole of the doses or permitting commercial exploitation by Indian companies.


Mumbai News: ‘Won’t return to JJ hospital,’ say senior doctors who resigned following protest of resident doctors




“We will not resume work at Sir Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy Hospital even if all the issues are resolved,” said Dr Tatayrao Lahane, the former dean of the hospital and Dr Ragini Parekh, head of the ophthalmology department, and the other honorary doctors who resigned on Thursday. Further, they have also demanded an enquiry against the hospital dean and strict action against her.

The hospital dean, Dr Pallavi Saple, has sought an explanation from Dr Parekh, on the appointment of Dr Sumeet Lahane, the son of Dr Lahane, who was allowed to perform surgeries in the department.

This comes after a three-member committee headed by Dr Sanjay Surase, medical superintendent, submitted its investigative report against Dr Sumeet Lahane.

“The report submitted to the dean reveals that the committee has sought an explanation from Dr Ragini Parekh, HoD, on the appointment of Dr Sumeet Lahane and also asked her to clarify three points, based on documents submitted by resident doctors as proof,” said Dr Saple.

Report submitted by the investigative committee is biased: Dr Lahane

“We have been serving J J Hospital and patients for the last 36 years and have done more than lakhs of surgeries and operations. But we did not expect to be humiliated by resident doctors and the hospital dean. All of us have resigned and will not be part of J J Hospital any further. The report submitted by the investigative committee is biased, as they have not asked for our version and we have the right to tell our side of the issue,” Dr Tatyarao Lahane said.

Meanwhile, the deadlock between resident and senior doctors entered the third day on Friday. The Maharashtra State Resident Doctors Association (MARD) is threatening to go on a state-wide indefinite strike if their demands are not met.

According to Dr Shubham Soni, MARD president, J J Hospital, resident doctors have alleged that Dr Lahane and Dr Parekh had been running the ophthalmology department ‘dictatorially’ and in a way that clearly violated the guidelines issued by the National Medical Commission at multiple levels. 

Resident doctors’ protest

Resident doctors in the ophthalmology department say that they have been dealing with several issues, such as not getting hands-on experience with surgery, minimal academic and research activity.

The report of the investigative committee said that Dr Sumeet Lahane was performing cataract surgeries and was also looking at routine OPD. If a government letter or order had been issued, asking him to perform surgeries and examine patients, a photocopy of the order had to be submitted. The third point raised by the committee was that a criminal case could be filed against Drs Sumeet Lahane and Ragini Parekh, as it was a legal offence for outsiders to perform patient examinations, surgeries, and other patient care work, without an order.

“We have raised these points with Dr Parekh and sought a detailed explanation and asked why no case should be registered against Dr Sumeet Lahane,” Dr Saple added.

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Mumbai News: Man booked for depositing fake ₹2,000 notes




Mumbai: A private bank has lodged a complaint with the police against a customer who had deposited fake Rs2,000 notes in the bank. At the time of depositing the cash, the accused had told the cashier that the money was given to him by one of his business parties. The paper used for the notes were thick and also had less security features, police said.

According to the DB Marg police, the complainant works as deputy branch manager of the Lamington Road branch of the bank. On Wednesday, during checking of the cash, one of the bank officials got suspicious about some of the notes while checking. The bank staff found 10 notes of Rs2,000 denomination to be fake.

Rs 14 lakh deposited

It was learnt that the man had visited the bank around 1pm and had deposited 700 notes of Rs2,000 denomination (Rs14 lakh) in three bank accounts. At the time of depositing the cash, the cashier had suspected some of the notes to be fake and asked the depositor from where he had got those notes.

The bank then got a complaint lodged in the matter on Wednesday. The police have registered a case under sections 489-B (using as genuine, forged or counterfeit currency-notes or bank-notes) and 489-C (possession of forged or counterfeit currency-notes or bank-notes) of the Indian Penal Code.

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Mumbai Weather: IMD predicts city to witness cloudy sky with possibility of rain until Monday; AQI ‘good’ at 43




Days after clear sky with sunny and humid weather, the IMD has predicted Mumbai to get a major relief from hot conditions. The city is likely to see party cloudy skies for the next 48 hours, i.e. until Monday, with possibility of light rainfall. Mumbaikars who probably ended their summer holidays and were eagerly waiting to enjoy rains might experience them in the coming days of June.
On Saturday, people in Mumbai woke up to a temperature of 31.6oC with humidity at 72%. Some parts of the city saw drizzles in the morning hours of June 3. Meanwhile, the weather report for the next two days of the month suggested the maximum and minimum temperatures to be around 34oC & 28oC respectively.

Mumbai AQI

As per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the AQI in Mumbai is currently in the ‘good’ category, with a reading of 43.

For context, an AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 to 100 is ‘satisfactory’, 101 to 200 is ‘moderate’, 201 to 300 ‘poor’, 301 to 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 to 500 ‘severe’.

AQI of different areas in Mumbai

Powai: 37 Good

Mulund: 48 Good

Borivali: 74 Satisfactory

Malad: 76 Satisfactory

BKC: 87 Satisfactory

Colaba: 129 Moderate

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