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Ahmed Patel meets Sonia, discusses Kota children deaths



Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, Jan 4 : Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Saturday met party interim chief Sonia Gandhi over the death of 106 children in Rajasthan’s Kota and also discussed the portfolio distribution in Maharashtra.

Patel held a marathon meeting with Sonia Gandhi at her residence for over 45 minutes.

According to party sources, the two leaders discussed the death of children in Rajasthan, where it has its government for the past one year.

The death of children in government hospital in Kota has pushed the Congress on the backfoot in the state.

On being asked if Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra or former party chief Rahul Gandhi will go to Kota, the party source said, it is yet to be decided.

The party source also said that the two leaders also discussed the issue of portfolio distribution in Maharashtra, where it has forged an alliance with the Shiv Sena, besides it pre-poll alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party.

To a question over the dissent brewing in the party over the portfolio distribution, the source said, “no one is upset” on portfolio and there is no problem as such.

In November, two Congress MLAs were sworn in as ministers in Maharashtra along with Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister.

In the first Cabinet expansion last week, 10 more Congress MLAs were inducted as ministers in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.


Maharashtra Covid-19 deaths zoom to 105 on Wednesday, cases cross 55K

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home-quarantine increased from 485,623 to 499,387 — a jump of 13,764 — and those in institutional quarantine went up from 33,545 to 35,107, a spurt of 1,562.




Coronavirus India PTI

Mumbai, May 27 : Maharashtra on Wednesday notched a new high of 105 Covid-19 deaths, from Tuesday’s previous high of 97 fatalities, with the number of cases shooting above 55,000, health officials said here.

The figures include a whopping 64 deaths in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone, besides 2,190 new cases recorded across the state.

This comes to roughly one death every 14 minutes, and an average 91 new cases recorded every hour, in the state.

Maharashtra has been recording 90-plus fatalities and over 2,000 new patients for the past two days consecutively, with the last highest figure of infections being 3,041 cases on May 24.

With 105 fatalities, the state death toll has touched 1,897 and the total number of coronavirus patients increased from 54,758 to 56,948 now.

The Health Department said the state now had 37,125 active cases — swelling by 1,947 over Tuesday’s 35,178.

However, the doubling rate has improved from last week’s 11.5 days to 14.7 days now with a 31.5 percent recovery rate.

Of the total 105 fatalities today, 32 were recorded in Mumbai alone, taking the city deaths up from to 1,097 now, while the number of Covid-19 positive patients here shot up by 1,044 cases to touch 34,018.

Mumbai’s congested Dharavi slum continued to be a major red-hotspot with 18 new cases, taking the total number of infectees to 1,639 and figure of deaths climbing to 61.

Of Mumbai’s 32 deaths, besides one from Gujarat, there were 23 fatalities in Thane (Thane City, Navi Mumbai), 10 in Jalgaon, nine in Pune, eight in Raigad, six in Akola, four in Aurangabad, three each in Nashik and Solapur, two in Satara, and one each in Nagpur, Nandurbar and Palghar.

They comprised 72 men and 33 women, and nearly 63 per cent of them suffered from other serious ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and asthma.

On the positive side, 964 fully cured patients returned home on Wednesday, taking the number of those discharged to 17,918.

Maharashtra Police recorded one more death of a policeman, taking the total toll to 21, besides the total infectees increased by 75 to touch 1,964, comprising 233 officers and 1,741 personnel.

The MMR continued to cause grave concerns with 1,290 Covid-19 deaths and positive cases shooting to 43,466.

Though trailing a distant second after Mumbai, Pune Division fatalities touched 350, besides 7,688 patients.

The next major area of concern is Nashik Division with 121 deaths and 1,765 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad Division with 58 fatalities and 1,572 cases, and finally Akola Division with 40 deaths and 857 cases.

Latur Division has eight deaths and 284 cases, Kolhapur Division seven deaths and 651 patients, and finally Nagpur Division with 10 deaths and 612 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home-quarantine increased to 582,701 with a high jump of 15,079, and those in institutional quarantine went up to 37,761, a spurt of 2,561.

The state’s containment zones increased from 2,562 to 2,684 on Wednesday and 17,119 health teams have carried out a survey of a population of around 68 lakhs in the state.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])

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Chhattisgarh reports first Covid death, but only 3 new cases




Bhupesh Baghel

Raipur, May 27 : Chhattisgarh officially reported the first death due to Covid-19 even as it found comfort on Wednesday after many tense days, with only three persons turning coronavirus positive.

The first victim of the pandemic was said to be a man from West Bengal who was on his way home from Mumbai in a bus and died at Charoda in industrial city Bhilai on May 25.

Samples of the man were found Covid-19 positive.

As per the state Covid-19 Control and Command Centre, only three fresh coronavirus cases were reported from across the state on Wednesday: one each in Bastar, Bilaspur and Baloda Bazar districts.

On Tuesday, the state recorded a whopping 69 Covid-19 positive cases.

Currently there are 281 positive cases. These include 85 at AIIMS Raipur, 86 at Covid Hospital Mana Raipur, 39 at Covid Hospital Bilaspur, 22 at Medical College Ambikapur, 12 at Medical College Raigarh and 34 at Rajnandgaon Medical College.

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Locust invasion warning in Odisha

Notably, the locusts have destroyed crops in several states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.




Locust Swarm

Bhubaneswar, May 27 : The Odisha government on Wednesday advised farmers to take preventive measures to save crops from the attack of locusts after the swarms spread to several states.

The Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) has issued guidelines to farmers in this regard, informed Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo.

Farmers residing in bordering areas of the state have been asked to remain alert and take immediate preventive steps.

“In the event of locusts being sighted in our bordering states, we advise the farmers spraying 5 per cent Neem Seed Kernel Extract (NSKE) 200 litres per acre of crops and vegetation after sunset as a precautionary measure,” said Sahoo.

He said farmers can also spray their crops with 300 ppm neem-based pesticide available in the market by mixing one litre of it in 200 litres per acre.

Farmers are also advised to resort to beating of tin drums, beating with thorny branches and several other methods to drive away locusts.

Dean of College of Agriculture, OUAT, Lalit Mohan Garnaik urged the farmers not to panic in view of desert locust attack.

He said people should adopt eco-friendly steps as highlighted by the OUAT as precautionary measures.

Notably, the locusts have destroyed crops in several states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.

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