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UP geared up to fight third Covid wave: Navneet Sehgal



After dealing with the second Covid wave successfully, the Uttar Pradesh government is gearing up to stop the third wave of the pandemic. For this, not only beds are being increased in hospitals, but oxygen concentrators have also been arranged in rural areas.

Apart from this, tests are being conducted door-to-door by sending teams, as a result of which UP overcame the second wave successfully and now preparations are afoot to tackle the third wave. Additional Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, Information, Navneet Sehgal said this in an exclusive interview with IANS.

Sehgal said that dedicated hospitals for children are being set up in case they get infected. Our entire team is working day and night to ensure that children do not get infected or if they get infections, immediate treatment is made available, he added.

The senior IAS officer said, “Before the third wave comes, the government is all geared up to stop it. For this, dedicated hospitals for women and children are being set up in every district. Paediatric ICUs are being made available, 97,000 monitoring committees have been sent to all the villages which are doing door-to-door screening. For this, 10 lakh medical kits have also been provided. The number of beds has been increased everywhere depending on the instructions of the Chief Minister. Since March, more than 11,000 beds have been made available in the medical colleges and 18,000 in district hospitals, oxygen concentrators are also being arranged for each community health centre (CHC). At least 21,000 concentrators have been sent — 20 each to each CHC. The state government is fully prepared to deal with any situation. We are recruiting staff, about 700 have been recruited this month only.”

Sehgal said, “the vaccination drive is going on at a fast pace. So far, 1,16,80,212 people have been given the first dose, and 32,66,076 were given the second dose of the vaccine. A total of 1,49,46,288 vaccines have already been administered. Vaccines have also been administered to 4,14,329 people in the age group of 18-44 years. UP has also floated a global tender for the vaccine”.

Sehgal said that it is due to the efforts of the UP government that house-to-house survey was conducted to trace, test and treat Covid patients. It was because of this that the Covid cases which were 38,055 on April 24 have now come down to below 10,000. More than four and a half crore RT-PCR tests were done. Three lakh tests are carried out everyday to identify the infected persons, he said.

In response to a question, Sehgal said that a special drive was carried out to ensure that infections do not spread in rural areas. Members of the monitoring committees are going from village to village to identify persons with symptoms and are giving medical kits immediately. The RRT (Rapid Response Team) is also carrying out antigen tests if the symptoms persist.

On the question of the number of deaths not coming down despite a fall in the infection rate, Sehgal said that it takes a week or ten days for this to happen. Deaths will also come down in the days to come, he said.

When asked how the situation came to this pass and where the government failed, as compared to the first peak, Sehgal said that this time the infections are 30 to 50 times more. It came like a wildfire, more powerful this time engulfing the youths as well. People think of slight fever as a minor issue, that it will be cured soon. This is a misconception, he said. “People should not put their lives in danger by doing things like this. So, now people are being motivated to go to the hospital and get themselves examined. That is why teams have been sent in the rural areas.”

Sehgal said, “we are supplying 1000 tonnes of oxygen every day. The hospitals here have adequate medical gas. Initially there was a shortage, but the situation is under control now. Plants have been set up in 370 government hospitals which are producing oxygen.”

National News

All Jammu and Kashmir parties being invited for June 24 meeting with PM




Amid reports that New Delhi is extending invitation to all mainstream political parties in J&K, former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti confirmed on Saturday that she has received the invitation while NC patron, Dr Farooq Abdullah said he is yet to receive it.

Former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti has confirmed that she has received a formal invitation from New Delhi for the meeting scheduled on June 24.

“Yes, I got a phone call from Delhi inviting me for a meeting on June 24. The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi”, Mehbooba told reporters.

She, however, added that she hasn’t decided yet whether she would attend the meeting.

Dr Farooq Abdullah told some reporters that he hadn’t received any invitation from Delhi so far.

“Once we receive such invitation, we will meet to decide the strategy to be adopted regarding the invitation”, Dr Abdullah told reporters.

Sources close to People’s Conference chief, Sajad Lone told IANS that he has also received the invitation to attend the June 24 meeting.

CPI-M leader, M.Y. Tarigami said he has so far received no formal or informal invitation from Delhi regarding the meeting.

Tarigami has said that sources in Delhi have confirmed to him that all mainstream leaders of J&K would be invited to attend the proposed meeting.

J&K Apni Party chief, Syed Altaf Bukhari said, “Solution to J&K’s problems lies in New Delhi. We have stated openly that we have a relation with Delhi.”

“Solution to J&K’s problems lies in New Delhi and not in Islamabad, New York or London. Delhi’s invitation to J&K’s political parties is a welcome development”.

Bukhari sarcastically added that all these parties called Apni Party the King’s party so far. “Now who is the king’s party?” he said.

He added that since job security and security to own land has been restored to people of J&K through the good offices of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, statehood would also be restored in future.

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Calcutta High Court snubs Mamata Banerjee government on post-poll violence




Four days after West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar wrote to chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that the state government has been inactive and indifferent about the sufferings of the people due to post-poll violence, the Calcutta High Court on Saturday criticised the Mamata Banerjee government and observed that the state has not taken any concrete steps to address the complaints pertaining to post-poll violence.

“In a case where the allegation is that life and property of the residents of the State are in danger on account of alleged post poll violence, the State cannot be allowed to proceed in the manner it likes. The complaints required immediate action… It is the duty of the State to maintain law and order and inspire confidence in the residents of the State,” the High Court observed.

The five-member bench, hearing a clutch of petitions alleging hundreds of persons got displaced due to the violence and that they are now unable to return to their homes due to fear of backlash, also observed, “Though action should have been taken by the State but despite matter being pending in Court apparently no concrete steps have been taken”.

The 5-judge bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal reminded the West Bengal Government that it is duty bound to maintain the law-and-order situation in the State and to inspire confidence in the people. The Bench also comprises of Justices I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar.

The Court asked the State to ensure that there is no obstruction of any kind in this process. “Such obstruction shall be viewed seriously, which may entail action under the Contempt of Courts Act besides others,” the order said.

The Court also directed the State Legal Services Authority to look into complaints of displaced persons who are being prevented from returning to their homes and take necessary steps for their rehabilitation.

The court then ordered the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee that will examine complaints filed by persons who were displaced during the post-poll violence in West Bengal. Earlier, the High Court had constituted a committee composed of members nominated by NHRC, SHRC & SLSA to coordinate rehabilitation of displaced persons of Entally constituency.

The Committee shall examine all the cases and may be by visiting the affected areas will submit a comprehensive report to this Court about the present situation and also the steps to be taken to ensure confidence of the people that they can peacefully live in their houses and also carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood.

“The persons prima facie responsible for crime and the officers who maintained calculated silence on the issue, be pointed out,” the Court added.

The case will be heard again on June 30.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar recently wrote a strong letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee criticising her silence over post poll retributive bloodshed, violation of human rights, outrageous assault on dignity of women and wanton destruction of property. The letter was met with utmost criticism from the state government.

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PM Narendra Modi condoles demise of DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra




Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed grief over the demise of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Odisha-born Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mohapatra succumbed to Covid-19 on Saturday. Mohapatra was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Delhi where he took his last breath.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said: “Saddened by the demise of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, DPIIT Secretary. I had worked with him extensively in Gujarat and at the Centre. He had a great understanding of administrative issues and was known for his innovative zeal. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal also expressed his condolences over the demise of Mohapatra through Twitter, saying “extremely saddened to hear about the loss of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary DPIIT. His long-standing service and dedication to the Nation have left a lasting impact. I convey my deepest sympathies to his family and friends”.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also took to Twitter to express his deep condolence. “A pioneer, he made unparalleled contributions in reforming the urban development landscape in Gujarat, led many public enterprises with distinction and also steered the commerce & aviation sector,” Pradhan tweeted.

The 1986 batch IAS officer, Mohapatra had assumed charge as the secretary of the DPIIT in August 2019.

Before taking over as the secretary of DPIIT, he had served as the chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Mohapatra had also served as a joint secretary in the Department of Commerce, where he worked for the promotion of special economic zones (SEZs), public procurement and project exports (financing and insurance), a statement from DPIIT had said.

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