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Sunday,26-September-2021

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Harsh Vardhan assures Mamata of all help to fight Covid

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday assured West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of all help to fight Covid in the state.

In a letter to Banerjee, who has just taken over for her third stint in power, he said that since the very onset of the pandemic, the Centre has been supporting each and every state across the country not just financially, but also through requisite diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, vaccines and other essential material and services.

Earlier, Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue instructions for immediate allocation of at least 550 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to the state.

Posting his four-page letter to Banerjee, Harsh Vardhan tweeted: “Diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines, oxygen,or augmenting health infra. Rest assured Mamata Didi, whatever West Bengal needs, Narendra ModiJi’s Government stands resolute to provide, in order to help it effectively fight Covid 19 pandemic.”

Referring to her letter to the Prime Minister, he said: “First of all, I would like to point out the high test positivity rates in many districts of the state, which is over 40 per cent in some districts. As you have been the Health Minister yourself, you will appreciate that this means that testing needs to be significantly ramped up. We wish the state of West Bengal is ahead of the curve when it comes to tracking infection, by testing more.”

On the need to augment the health infrastructure in the state, he suggested that West Bengal may look at various innovations being done across the country to increase availability of beds and healthcare facilities.

Listing the Centre’s support, he wrote that as on date, West Bengal has already been provided a total of 1,18,83,340 vaccine doses and further 2,00,000 doses are in the pipeline for immediate supply.

“Government of India has so far provided West Bengal with 18.38 lakh N95 masks, 4.84 lakh PPE kits, 1,245 ventilators and 43.5 lakh Hydroxychloroquine tablets for management of Covid-19 pandemic,” he noted.

On Centre’s help to meet the state’s oxygen requirement, he wrote: “As many as five Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants have been sanctioned for West Bengal, out of which two have already been installed and made functional. Similarly, 849 D-Type and 1,504 B-Type oxygen cylinders have been allocated to West Bengal. Out of this, 700 will be delivered on or before May 21. This entire support has been provided free of cost.”

“In view of the recent surge in Covid cases across the country, demand for drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab has increased substantially. As many as 94,400 vials of Remdesivir have, accordingly, been allocated to West Bengal for the period April 21, 2021 to May 9, 2021. On the Tocilizumab front, the Central government is making all efforts for equitable availability across the country, based on the active case load in each state.”

The Health Minister said that apart from the delivery of these essential medical devices and drugs, West Bengal has been supported with a financial grant of Rs 295.28 crore under the Covid-19 package.

On oxygen, he said: “West Bengal has been allocated 308 MT of oxygen to meet the demand from April 25 onwards. In this regard, we had allocated the maximum possible amount to West Bengal at the time of the issue of the aforesaid order.”

He said that the Indian Council of Medical Research has facilitated setting up 74 Covid testing labs in the government sector and 54 labs in the private sector.

“I assure you that the Centre is committed to taking all required steps to help the states in their fight against Covid-19 and shall continue to hand-hold them during this challenging time of the pandemic by providing requisite resources,” he said.

National News

Centre-states review situation in Left-wing extremism affected areas

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Amit-Shah

The Centre on Sunday held a high-level meeting with the states affected by Left-wing extremism (LWE) to review the situation.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired the review meeting with the chief ministers and police chiefs of these states in the national capital.

Chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, Telangana CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren, Maharashtra’s Uddhav Thackeray and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik were present in the meeting held at Vigyan Bhawan here. The Chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal did not attend the review meeting.

Sources said that Shah talked about the need to formulate a new strategy to take decisive actions against these ultras.

The meeting is being held in two sessions. In the first session operational strategy to effective domination in the affected districts was discussed and states were asked to extend cooperation in anti-Maoist operations. In the second session, discussion on the execution of the developmental schemes in all affected states was being held.

It is learnt that in the meeting it was flagged that some states are not cooperating with the Centre in the fight against LWE due to their local issues. “Centre has sought more cooperation from the states to fight against the ultras in a calibrated manner,” sources said.

Odisha Chief Minister Patnaik requested the Union government to consider four laning of road NH 326 from Jeypore to Motu via Malkangiri, providing railway network in LWE affected districts, which are not part of it, providing mobile connectivity to areas of southern and western parts of states and providing banking facilities in these districts.

Sources claimed that Maharashtra Chief Minister Thackeray demanded additional central assistance for these districts for strengthening the policing network and to carry out development works.

It is further learnt that in the second session, the progress of the various infrastructural developmental schemes such as road requirement and connectivity, and also of aspirational districts programmes in the LWE affected districts were being discussed.

Chief Ministers and police chiefs of 10 affected states — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Kerala were invited for the review meeting, but a few of them did not attend it for different reasons.

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National News

Priyanka to be in Lucknow from Monday to take stock of poll preps

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Congress General Secretary In charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be in Lucknow for a week from Monday evening to take stock of poll preparations in the state.

The Congress leaders say she will be meeting state leaders and also important party workers in Lucknow during her week long tour.

She will have scheduled meetings with the manifesto committee and with the election committee to assess the party’s poll preparedness in the state, sources said.

Priyanka Gandhi is likely to participate in one of the training programmes being organised by the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.

The Congress in Uttar Pradesh will take out a ‘Congress Pratigya Yatra’ with the tagline — ‘Hum Vachan Nibhayenge’, ahead of the Assembly elections, due early next year.

Priyanka has said that the yatra would cover a distance of 12,000 kilometres and will pass through all major villages and towns to connect with the masses.

The date of the yatra is yet to be decided, though sources said it was likely to begin on the Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.

The party is readying the first list of candidates in October, months ahead of the elections. For this, the the Congress in Uttar Pradesh has extended the last date for applications for the Assembly polls. In a letter sent to all party units, UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu said that applications form from prospective candidates will now be received till October 10.

Earlier, the last date for submitting applications was September 25. Each candidate was asked to deposit a sum of Rs 11,000 with the form.

Party sources said that the reason for extending the date was that the number of applications received so far was ‘unsatisfactory’.

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National News

5,000 youth writing on contribution of unsung heroes: Modi in ‘Mann Ki Baat’

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Narendra-Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday said that about 5,000 amateur young writers were working on the contribution of unsung heroes and urged citizens to contribute in the work.

He said, “Over 5,000 amateur writers are working towards promulgating the lives of Unsung Heroes who have contributed to India’s growth and Independence story. I urge more such people to come forward and share such stories of courage with us.”

He said the youth of our country have decided that they will bring the history of the unsung freedom fighters to the forefront and urged every citizen to contribute towards the same.

The Prime Minister emphasized on Khadi ahead of the Gandhi Jayanti and said that new innovative techniques will be adopted in the agri sector as the day coincides with All Bahadur Shastri’s birth anniversary.

He also said, “September is an important month, a month when we celebrate World River Day. A day to remember the contribution of our rivers that selflessly provide us with water, I urge the people across the country to mark a ‘river festival’ at least once a year.”

He also said the special ‘E-auction’ of gifts that he has received was underway and the proceeds from that would be dedicated to the ‘Namami Gange’ project.

Modi mentioned how people’s initiative had helped the Naga river in Tamil Nadu, which had dried up. But due to the initiatives of the rural women and the active public participation, the river was brought to life, and to this day there is plenty of water in the river.

He also said that in the western parts of India, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan, there is scarcity of water and people suffer droughts. In Gujarat, at the beginning of the rainy season people celebrate ‘Jal-Jilani Ekadashi’ which is similar to what we call today ‘Catch the Rain’.

The Prime Minister mentioned the courage and enthusiasm of a group of differently-abled people about their journey to the Siachen glacier. “This reflects our nation’s ‘Can Do’ attitude and that disability is not the end to achieving your goals.”

He said a few days ago, in the inaccessible area of Siachen, the team of 8 differently-abled people made a world record by waving the Indian flag on the ‘Kumar Post’ situated at an altitude of more than 15,000 feet.

The Prime Minister hailed the contribution of more than 350 teachers who have joined the service of going from village to village and ensuring handicapped children get admission in school during the pandemic.

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