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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.”

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Make farmers aware of use of chemical-free fertilisers: PM to BJP workers from Varanasi




Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday interacted with BJP workers from his parliamentary constituency Varanasi and urged them to make farmers aware of the use of chemical-free fertilisers.

In an audio interaction with BJP booth level workers, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the BJP’s commitment towards development. While interacting with party workers, he discussed several topics including, restoration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham corridor, women empowerment, infrastructure, healthcare development and other issues.

Interacting with one of the BJP workers, Prime Minister Modi asked him to expand the reach of the government’s welfare schemes to farmers. The Prime Minister said, “They (workers) should make farmers aware of the use of chemical-free fertilisers.”

The Prime Minister, also, talked about the several central schemes which are benefiting the people of Kashi at large.Prime Minister Modi urged people to contribute to a section, Kamal Pushp, in his NaMo app that features some inspiring party members.

“The NaMo App has a very interesting section known as ‘Kamal Pushp’ that gives you the opportunity to share and know about inspiring party workers,” he said.

The Prime Minister further talked about the BJP’s special micro-donation campaign, seeking to raise funds through small contributions from its members and others.

It is learnt that about 10,000 BJP workers participated in the interaction. It will be the first interaction of the Prime Minister with the party workers after the announcement of Assembly poll dates in five states.

It will also be the first virtual address with the party workers after the Election Commission of India (ECI) banned physical rallies and road shows till January 15 while announcing the poll dates. On January 15, the ECI extended the ban on the physical rallies and road shows till January 22.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls will be held in seven phases in February-March starting from February 10. Counting of votes will be held on March 10.

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BJP takes dig at AAP for procuring 1 electric bus in 7 yrs




As Delhi gets its first electric bus, BJP took a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party-led state government for procuring just a single bus during their last seven years of rule.

“It took 7 years to buy 1 electric bus by AAP government which resulted in Delhi breathing bad air,” BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said on Tuesday.

Tiwari blamed the Kejriwal-led government of being “visionless” and “department less”. He urged the people of Delhi to look after their well-being as air pollution during winters is dangerous.

Terming it a “beginning of a new-era in the transport sector of Delhi”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had flagged off the first electric bus on Monday.

“We aim to bring in 2,000 electric buses in the coming years. Since 2011, not a single new bus had been procured by the DTC; this is the first new bus being added to its fleet in a decade. The public should also contribute to this war against pollution by switching their vehicles to electric,” he said as he flagged off the bus from the Indraprastha depot.

While launching the environment-friendly bus, Transport Minister Shri Kailash Gahlot said that along with promoting environment-friendly transport, the government was committed to providing a world class and smooth transport service to the people of Delhi.

These state-of-the-art buses are 100 per cent electric with zero tailpipe emissions. They are among the 300 electric buses that will be inducted under DTC. The total fleet of 300 buses will run from Mundela Kalan (100 buses), Rajghat (50) and Rohini Sector 37 (150 buses).

The electric air conditioned buses have kneeling ramps for differently abled passengers, and special pink seats for women passengers. They are also equipped with CCTV cameras, connected to a two-way Central Command and Control Centre (CCC) at Kashmere Gate, 10 panic buttons in each bus and a hooter.

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Nitish Kumar govt likely to relax liquor prohibition law





Facing criticism over poor implementation of the liquor ban, the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar is likely to give some relaxation to the violators.

According to a top official of the JDU, the state government is ready to review this issue and a proposal is likely to be put on table in the upcoming budget session of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha.

As per the proposal, the violators who are caught in drunken state can be let off after paying penalty on the spot. Though, it is not applicable on repeat offenders. A person repeatedly violating the norms of liquor prohibition law would be liable to face jail term.

Such a relaxation would allow liquor consumption at home and would also promote the home delivery concept, which is already popular among habitual drinkers in Bihar.

The JDU official further said that the vehicle used for smuggling of liquor could be released after paying a fine.

He said that the Chief Minister is under huge political pressure after a series of spurious liquor tragedies in different districts in the last four months that have taken the lives of more than 80 persons and many others have lost their eyesight.

Reacting to it, Danish Rizwan, the chief spokesperson of HAM said: “Chief minister Nitish Kumar, instead of bringing amendment or review of liquor prohibition law, should do a survey on this issue. If common people of the state are satisfied with the amendment or review, our party will not go against it. If people of Bihar are in favour of withdrawal of the liquor ban, we also respect that decision.”

The liquor tragedies occurred in Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, Bettiah, Samastipur, Vaishali, Nawada and now CM’s district Nalanda.

This issue is severely affecting Nitish Kumar government especially after its alliance partners BJP and HAM are extremely vocal. They want a review of the liquor prohibition law. The liquor ban was enforced in Bihar in April 2016.

The government also came under criticism by the Patna High Court recently. The court said a large number of liquor related cases are pending which has led to a huge burden on the judicial system. Keeping this in view, the Nitish Kumar government should establish more courts in all 38 districts for speedy trials of liquor related cases.

Though, this would not be the first case of amendment in liquor prohibition act. In 2018, the state government made a provision to grant bail to normal offenders at the police station level. The offenders have to pay Rs 50,000 as fine. In case of offenders unable to give a penalty, they would be liable to face jail term. Under the liquor prohibition law, the maximum jail term is 10 years.

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