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Mumbai gets first quota of Covid vaccine




The first lot of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine for Covid-19 was received in Mumbai early on Wednesday morning, a top official of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation said.

“The vaccine was brought from Pune to Mumbai by a special vehicle of the BMC with health officials and police security. The stock has already reached the BMC F/South Divisional Office in Parel,” Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal told IANS.

The manufacturers, Serum Institute of India (SII) has given about 1,39,500 doses to the BMC, for the vaccination drive to be held at 72 centres in Mumbai, he added.

According to Chahal, the vaccine will be dispatched from the F/South Divisional Office to various vaccination centres in Mumbai over the next couple of days.

“Therefore, it will be possible for us to start the vaccination in Mumbai on January 16, coinciding with the national launch of the vaccination drive,” Chahal added.

The civic staff at the BMC F/South Division office welcomed the life-saving vaccine with cheers, claps, garlands and ‘puja'(prayer) early in the day.

Then, it was taken for storage in the temperature-controlled vaccine strong room on the ground floor, as per the prescribed procedures by the Centre and state government.

The worst-hit in the country by the Covid-19 pandemic with maximum deaths, Mumbai has got the lion’s share of 72 vaccination centres where around 100 persons — or nearly 7,200 in the city — shall be administered the vaccine jab daily, as per Health Minister Rajesh Tope’s announcement late on Tuesday.


Uddhav Thackeray flags off ‘V-day’, as Maharashtra ex-minister gets first jab




Exactly 10 months after a 64-year-old man fell the first victim to Covid-19 (March 17), Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray kicked off the much-anticipated Coronavirus vaccination drive, terming it as “a revolutionary step”, here on Saturday.

While former Shiv Sena Health Minister Deepak Sawant was administered the first Covishield Vaccine jab at R.N. Cooper Hospital, medico Madhura Patil was given the maiden dose at the Bandra Kurla Complex field hospital, both in their capacity as medical frontline workers.

“With this, we have taken a revolutionary step today during the Covid-19 pandemic, the health workers worked cooperated with us in a big way. Even after the vaccination, all Covid-19 precautions must continue to be observed,” Thackeray urged.

An anxious Patil took the first Covishield vaccine dose amid a huge media glare with Thackeray, Mayor Kishori Pednekar, BMC Commissioner I.S. Chahal, top ministers, civic and medical officials and other invitees standing and watching the process.

As a nurse injected the vaccine, without grimacing, Patil managed a smile behind her masked fact and even displayed a ‘thumbs up’ sign.

The drive in Maharashtra – the worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic with maximum deaths and infections – started enthusiastically shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the national vaccination drive in New Delhi.

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NCP leader Eknath Khadse grilled by ED in land deal case



Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)leader Eknath Khadse went to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in a Pune MIDC land deal case, official sources said here on Friday.

Khadse, who has just recovered from Covid-19, arrived at the ED office in south Mumbai, nearly three weeks after he was first summoned in the alleged land-grab case.

Last month, a team of ED had gone to Pune to scrutinize evidences and gather documents pertaining to the alleged irregularities in the deal, which forced Khadse to quit as minister in the erstwhile BJP-led government in 2016.

Subsequently, the ED recorded the statement of the whistle-blower activist Anjali Damania in the matter in which she had moved the court.

Damania had also submitted documents and other evidences concerning the land deal which the State Anti Corruption Bureau had probed, given a clean chit to Khadse and later closed the case.

On his part, Khadse, 68 – who quit the BJP to join the NCP last October – has claimed innocence and said the entire transaction was absolutely transparent, and without any kind of irregularities.

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Maharashtra Congress to ‘gherao’ Raj Bhavan over fuel prices, farm laws




As petrol prices crossed Rs.91/litres in Mumbai on Thursday, the Maharashtra Congress announced plans to ‘gherao’ the Nagpur Raj Bhavan on Jan. 16, to highlight the plight of the common people and the agitating farmers, a top leader said here.

State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the country is reeling under unprecedented hike in the prices of petrol, diesel, while lakhs of farmers are sitting in agitation outside Delhi in a never-witnessed-before opposition to the 3 farm laws.

“Since over 45 days, at least 60 farmers have lost their lives, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre remains insensitive to their plight. To awaken this ruthless and arrogant government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we shall ‘gherao’ the Nagpur Raj Bhavan on Saturday,” Thorat told mediapersons.

Explaining the impact of the rocketing fuel prices, the senior Minister said that like the farmers, even the common masses in the country are hit by the record hike in petrol, diesel and gas prices due to the policies of the BJP government.

“In the past six years, the BJP regime has hiked excise duty on petrol from Rs.9.20 per litre in May 2014 by 258 per cent to touch Rs.32.98 per litre now, and a similar 820 per cent hike of excise duty on diesel from Rs.3.46 per litre in May 2014 to Rs.28.37 per litre now. This is despite the fact that international crude oil prices have crashed by more than 50 per cent, from Rs.110 per barrel to Rs.50 per barrel,” Thorat pointed out.

By this, he alleged that the Modi Government has raked in a staggering profit of Rs.19-lakh-crore only from the frequent fuel price hikes.

He reiterated that the BJP-led government is only working for the interests of industrialists and corporate houses and looting the ordinary Indians to serve certain capitalists, through the farm laws and the fuel price hikes, and hence, the Congress shall observe Jan. 16 as “Farmers Rights Day”.

Thorat stated that the people of the country are “fed up with the BJP’s arbitrariness, trampling of the Constitution and democratic values with its policies like the 3 black farm laws and fuel hikes, and the agitation will continue till the laws are repealed.

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