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Saturday,06-March-2021

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Punjab CM kicks off process to inoculate 1.74 lakh people

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Amarinder-Singh

Punjab joined the rest of the country in the historic roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday with five healthcare workers getting the jab in the presence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who virtually launched the process to inoculate 1.74 lakh people in the state in the first phase.

Sandeep Singh, Charan Kamal and Dimple Dhaliwal Srivastva, all doctors, computer operator Asha Yadav and Class IV employee Surjit Singh were administered the first dose of Covishield vaccine in the presence of the Chief Minister at the Civil Hospital in Mohali near here.

Amarinder Singh also gifted saplings to these five healthcare workers posted at the Civil Hospital as a token of appreciation.

Interacting with the media, the Chief Minister said that it was his desire to get vaccinated first, but in accordance with the directives of the government of India, only healthcare workers would be covered in the first phase.

“I would definitely get myself vaccinated in the next phase,” said Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister said the vaccine would be administered to the healthcare workers first, followed by the army and police personnel, in line with the guidelines of the government of India.

He said he had written to the Prime Minister for permission for free distribution of vaccine among the people belonging to the lower income groups.

In response to a query on vaccine safety, the Chief Minister said the vaccines would not have been approved unless the scientists were sure of their safety.

He said that around the world, vaccines have been taken by many eminent personalities, including Queen Elizabeth of the UK who is 93-year-old, and her husband who is 99, without showing any side-effects.

Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that all arrangements have been put in place for a smooth vaccination drive, including online portal for registration, operationalisation of 366 sites for administering the dose etc.

For the initial stage, as many as 408 vaccination teams have been constituted, while 59 teams are working to inoculate the healthcare workers, he added.

Sidhu also said that 729 cold chain points have been established in the state for adequate storage of vials at the desired temperature.

National News

Kerala Assembly speaker summoned by Customs

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P-Sreeramakrishnan

Senior CPI-M leader and Kerala Assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan has been summoned by the Customs department to appear before it on March 12 in connection with the gold smuggling case.

The news came as a second blow to Sreeramakrishnan on Friday after he came to know that he won’t be fielded as a candidate in the Assembly elections to be held on April 6.

In December last year, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case had given a statement in court saying ‘big sharks’ had a role in helping the accused persons in the case, including Swapna Suresh. Sreeramakrishnan had to face the wrath of the Opposition when it moved a motion demanding his removal in January this year. Howevern, the proposal was rejected after it was put to vote.

A statement filed by the Customs in the Kerala High Court on Thursday said, “Her (Swapna Suresh’s) close connection with the Chief Minister and his principal secretary and a personal staff was also revealed by her. She has also stated with clarity about smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the Consulate. She has also clearly stated about the improper and illegal activities of three ministers of the state cabinet and the Speaker. She has further stated about the involvement and the kickbacks received by high profile persons from various deals.

“She has stated that she is aware of all these transactions and was a witness to the same as she is well versed in the Arabic language and hence was forced to act as the translator between the above said persons and the persons of Middle East origin in all their crucial interactions.

“The role of the former principal secretary (M. Sivasankar) in acting as the link between the high profile politicians of Kerala and the UAE Consulate officials as well as some others and in coordinating the illegal financial dealings under the cover of various activities and projects of the state government was also revealed by her.”

The Left has called for a statewide protest on Saturday against the statement of the Customs.

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National News

Bihar government committed to promote industrial farming: Shahnawaz Hussain

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Shahnawaz-Hussain

Bihar Industry Minister Shahnawaz Hussain during the budget speech said that his department is making every effort to promote industry based farming to enhance the source of earning of farmers.

Hussain said farmers will earn huge amount of money on sowing maize while they will get ethanol on sowing sugarcane. “State government is developing such infrastructures in Bihar so that farmers will export their produce or get maximum price in the domestic market,” he added.

“The state government is committed to bring industries in Bihar. I will not even hesitate in going abroad to lure the investors. Moreover, any investor who will invest more than Rs 1,000 crore in Bihar, I will personally receive them,” Hussain said.

“When I was 32-years-old, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had given me some important cabinet portfolios. I have worked in six departments of the Central government. I have an opportunity to work in my home state and I am honoured that our Chief Minister has given me an important portfolio as Industry Ministry,” he said.

Hussain further claimed that the process of opening old sugar mills is underway and all of them will soon become operational.

Tejashwi Yadav, the Leader of Opposition who was present in the assembly asked the minister to point out when will the Prime Minister drink tea made of sugar produced in the sugar mill of Motihari.

The sugar mill of Motihari has been closed since 2015 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2015 Assembly polls announced that he will open the mill and consume tea made of sugar produced from the mill.

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Teachers, not parents can guide student’s careers: Pramod Sawant

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Pramod Sawant. (File Photo: IANS)

Teachers, alone and not parents can guide students to achieve career goals, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Saturday, while speaking at a function in his Assembly constituency of Sanquelim to felicitate meritorious students.

“Only, a teacher can groom you for the future, not your mother and father. Only 10 per cent of the parents of students studying in Sanquelim’s Progress High School know something about careers. Parents of 90 per cent of the students have no knowledge about careers,” Sawant said.

The Chief Minister also urged teachers to upgrade their career guidance regularly, in order to keep their students abread of opportunities ahead.

“Teachers should take refresh on career (guidance opportunities) every year, only then they will be able to help students. Career does not mean only BA, BCom, BSc, Science Arts and Commerce. There is so much beyond it. Young people should not look at government jobs as a career alone. They should look beyond it,” Sawant said, amid increasing demand for the government jobs from the local youth ahead of the 2022 state Assembly elections.

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