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Agra health services distressed as Covid tally rises to 455

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Coronavirus Scare

Agra, April 30 (IANS) Health services network in Agra, both private and public, has failed to cope with the increasing pressure and demands from an alarmingly rising number of Covid-19 cases, whose tally climbed to 455 on Thursday morning. So far 74 have recovered and returned home and 13 people have died.

Private medical practitioners were being targeted by patients and administrative officials. However, the charges were effectively denied by the doctors who blamed the district authorities for compounding the problem and failing to provide protective legal framework to facilitate return to normalcy.

The district administration has circulated helpline numbers for medical consultations and a list of 25 odd private hospitals where non Covid-19 patients could seek help. But the patients say doctors were refusing to admit or treat them without Covid test. In the last few days several precious lives have been lost in this passing the buck game.

A senior surgeon Shwetank Prakash said, “The role of private doctors and nursing homes continues to remain in confusion. Clear cut policy and direction is lacking. Hospital will be sealed if anyone is found corona positive. I will be labelled corona spreader. These official actions are self contradictory.”

Prakash said asymptomatic carriers don’t know about the corona infection. The doctor is also in the dark. The virus spread continues.

Doctors said the biggest social stigma was the quarantine. They wanted exclusion from the Consumer Protection Act, as there were no universally accepted guidelines for Corona management.

The danger now is that a large number of health workers have been found to be infected with the virus. Even cops on duty continue are infected. More than 80 cops are in quarantine. The nodal officer has said that medical infection at the moment was the biggest worry.

The quarantine centres in the 30 odd hotspots are ill equipped with facilities. Complaints of lack of drinking water, food, clean toilets, continued to flood social media with video clips.

In neighbouring Firozabad, the number of Covid-19 cases has gone up to 105, while in Mathura the number has risen to 13.

Agra police from mid night sealed Agra district borders to prevent movement of vehicles.

A big problem, according to the police, continues to be the lockdown violators, although 471 have been arrested and cases against 1344 people were registered. The police has challaned 25,539 vehicles and seized 1065. Still, in many areas people continued to defy restrictions. Those held complain they had to move out for essentials, medicines or hospitalisation.

India

Mamata fumes at suspension of MPs

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Mamata Banerjee

 West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday condemned the suspension of eight MPs who fought to protect the interests of farmers in Parliament, dubbing the move as “unfortunate”.

Banerjee also came down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre protesting its “undemocratic norms and principles” of functioning.

“Suspension of the eight MPs who fought to protect farmers’ interests is unfortunate and reflective of this autocratic Government’s mindset that doesn’t respect democratic norms and principles,” Banerjee tweeted.

Eight opposition members, including Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, were suspended from the Rajya Sabha this morning for the rest of the session over unprecedented chaos in the Upper House during the passing of controversial farm bills on Sunday.

Besides O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Sanjay Singh, Congress’s Rajeev Satav and CPI-M’s KK Ragesh, were told they had displayed “unruly behaviour especially with the Chair and gross disorderly conduct”.

“We won’t bow down and we will fight this fascist Government in Parliament and on the streets,” the Trinamool supremo added in her tweet, accusing the BJP of killing democracy in the country.

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India

Trainee pilot killed in UP chopper crash

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Plane crash
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A rookie pilot was killed after a helicopter carrying 4 people crashed in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district on Monday. Police and local authorities are the spot and rescue operations are underway.

The incident took place in Sarai Meer in an agricultural field, according to details available, the aircraft crashed at nearly 11.20 a.m. One person died and another was injured in the crash, while two others jumped out of the aircraft with the help of parachutes.

The deceased has been identified as trainee pilot Konark Saran. Amethi District Magistrate Arun Kumar said that the aircraft had taken off from the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, a pilot training institute located at Fursatganj Airfield of Amethi. The aircraft belonged to the academy.

Authorities are probing the cause of the crash. The police is trying to secure the debris of the crash.

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Steps taken by Delhi govt to provide aid to widows: HC

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Delhi High Court

 The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the state government has taken adequate steps to provide financial assistance to widows through pensions and other schemes.

“Looking at the Delhi government’s affidavit, it appears that adequate steps have been taken by it to provide funds to the widows. We see no reason to further monitor this case,” said a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.

The Department of Social Welfare had filed the affidavit in response to a petition by social activist Harpal Singh Rana through advocate Akhil Rana and Utkarsh Sharma, claiming that pensions to around 12,000 widows had been discontinued during the COVID-19 lockdown by the Ministry of Women and Child Development without any valid reason.

The AAP government said in the affidavit, filed through advocate Anjum Javed, that it is remitting monthly pensions to beneficiaries so that they did not face any financial hardship during the pandemic.

“… the Department of Social Welfare has not withheld or discontinued pensions in respect of any beneficiary on imaginary grounds,” the affidavit said.

“The whole process of filing applications for all pension schemes, that is, old-age and disability pensions as well as financial assistance under the Delhi Family Benefit Scheme of the Department is online only.”

It said the money given under the Head “Financial Assistance to Widows for Performing Marriages of their Daughters” has been increased to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 60,000.

Rana told the court in his petition that as per a Right to Information reply, pensions of around 12,000 widows had been discontinued by the Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government also told the court that the status of the online applications is sent by the portal on the mobile numbers of the applicants. In offline cases, the status (acceptance/rejection) is conveyed by district offices through anganwadi/ASHA workers and displayed on the e-district portal.

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