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Indo-Bangladesh border to be sealed by June 2017: Government

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New Delhi, June 2 : The central government on Thursday set a deadline of one year to completely seal the 223.7 km Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam and hoped the entire exercise will be completed by June 2017.

The sealing of borders including riverine areas and “technological barriers” will have to be completed by June, 2017, it was announced at a high-level meeting here attended among others by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The decision of the government comes close on the heels of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government taking charge in Assam.

In the run up to the polls, the party had pledged to complete sealing of the international border with Bangladesh in order to prevent illegal immigration.

“Additional Director General, Border Security Force and Additional Director General (Border), CPWD are already on site visit on Indo-Bangladesh Border in Assam to prepare comprehensive plan for sealing the border by June, 2017 by means of physical and non-physical barriers,” an official spokesman said here.

The 223.7 km Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam should be sealed, the Home Minister said in presence of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Secretary, Border Management, Susheel Kumar along with senior officials of the department of Border Management, the spokesman said.

However, sources said there are 122 locations (60.7 km.) where there is no physical barrier.

“In order to achieve the objective of sealing of Indo-Bangladesh border it was decided that 100 locations covering 11.9 km will have physical barrier,” the source said.

At the meeting, the Secretary, Border Management, briefed the ministers about the progress of border security infrastructure, programmes of border management and the way forward.

“It was informed that 4,374 km fence, 5,329.6 km border roads, 3,974 km floodlights and 2,420 numbers Border Out Posts (BOPs) have been constructed along the international borders for security of the borders,” an official release said.

The government has also claimed that major impediments hampering the development of border infrastructure have been resolved during last two years which will increase the pace of development of border infrastructure in coming years.

“In the meeting it was also outlined that almost all the remaining infrastructure works at the border will be completed in next three years,” the release said.

The Home Minister further directed that full use of technological solutions be made to secure sensitive areas along the borders.

This will involve networking of equipments like high resolution cameras, radars, unattended ground sensors, optical fibres, infra red sensors, aerostats, hand-held thermal imagers and integration of these with command and control architecture, the release said.

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Kerala CM’s hometown turns coronavirus hotspot

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 25 (IANS) When the figures of the Covid-19 impact on Monday was reviewed, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s hometown — Pinarayi in Kannur has been declared as a new hotspot.

Kannur, the home district of Vijayan reported 10 new cases on Monday, taking the total positive cases there to 77.

With Pinarayi turning a hotspot along with three other places on Monday, at present there are 59 hotspots in the state. Vijayan however has not visited his hometown for a while now, as he has been staying put in the state capital.

Meanwhile, the total number of fresh positive cases on Monday in Kerala stood at 49, keeping with the increased numbers that have been reported in the past few days.

On Saturday, there were 62 cases and on Sunday it was 53.

Of the 49 cases, 18 came from abroad and 25 from within the country.

Currently there are 359 active positive cases in the state and 532 people have by now turned negative, since the first case reported in the country was at Thrissur on January 30.

On Monday, hugely popular national award winning Malayalam comedian Suraj Venjaramoodu was asked to go into quarantine after he took part in a function along with a police officer at his hometown, near here, who has gone into isolation following a remand prisoner, who was arrested by the police official, turned Covid positive on Sunday.

With around six lakh people registered to return to Kerala (around 4 lakh from abroad and 2 lakh from within the country) since the travel was permitted, so far 97,247 people have come which includes 9,900 who came by air and sea and over 87,000 who came by train and road.

As on date, 98,486 people are under observation in homes, while 792 are in hospitals.

State Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunilkumar reacting to the increase in cases, said that this was much expected and the state is fully geared to face the challenge.

“The need of the hour is all those who have been asked to sit in quarantine have to adhere to that in its true spirit. Kerala’s home quarantine has been a huge success and all what the people should do is just follow the system in place and listen to the health authorities,” said Sunilkumar.

Meanwhile top Indian Medical Association official Rajeev Jayadevan said complacency should not set in.

“As things stand today, they are still under control in Kerala. Fourteen-day quarantine is a must for all those who come from outside our state. In a pandemic situation, there should be no let up on the way our state has taken utmost care till now. If an error happens, cases will multiply in geometric progression. So each and everyone here have to be careful,” said Jayadevan.

Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court on Monday dismissed a petition demanding the postponement of the remaining Class 10 and 12 examinations, where a record 1.3 million students will have to write the examination in the various schools in the state.

The state government assured the court that all the necessary health protocols will be followed for the smooth conduct of the examinations.

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Another staffer at AIIMS Delhi dies of Covid-19

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) After a mess worker at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) here, another staff member died from coronavirus on Monday.

The deceased, Hiralal was working as senior sanitation supervisor and was posted at Rajkumari Amrit Kaur OPD in the AIIMS.

A source from the hospital said that he was very alert while discharging his duty in the hospital. “He used to follow all norms of hygiene but despite that, the deadly virus entered his body and he lost the battle of life. He did not care about his life while serving people in the hospital. He was loved equally by all including nursing staff and doctors.”

The source also said: “Hiralal was very active in participating in social causes. He played a key role in establishing SC/ST Employees Welfare Association at the AIIMS.”

His body has been kept in the AIIMS Trauma centre mortuary and will be handed over to his family after due procedure.

On May 22, a mess worker had also died from Covid-19 leading the Resident Doctors Association of the hospital charging the AIIMS administration of not following safety norms and demanding testing of all mess workers and residents after diligent contact tracing and compensation for the family of the deceased worker.

A source had then told IANS that AIIMS is allegedly “not taking proper precautions for its residents and staff”.

“Two months ago, we had demanded regular screening and other safety measures like thermal scanners, sanitisers, masks etc. to ensure mess workers are able to work safely without endangering themselves as well as the staff members. But the administration didn’t pay heed to our demands,” the source said.

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Health Ministry refutes low quality PPE charges

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday said that it is ensuring quality of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by stringent protocol.

The response came as the ministry was reportedly alleged about the quality of the PPE coveralls.

It said that the product under reference had no relevance to the procurement being made by the Central Government.

“HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), the procuring agency of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is procuring PPE coveralls from manufacturers or suppliers only after getting them tested and approved by one of the eight labs nominated by the Ministry of Textiles (MoT). It is only after their products qualify in the test prescribed by the technical committee (JMG) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, that they are procured,” said the Health Ministry.

The ministry said the procuring agency HLL is also undertaking random sampling of the supplies being made, for which a testing protocol has been devised, failing to which the is being disqualified for any supplies.

The ministry has asked states also to procure the PPE only after following the prescribed testing for PPEs from MoT nominated labs. The Health Ministry said the manufacturers got their products qualified from these labs are also being on-boarded on Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

“The manufacturers who have got PPEs qualified have been advised by the MoT to on-board on to the GeM so that the procurement by States can be carried out accordingly. For the private sector also, the dynamic information of manufacturers whose products have qualified the tests is available on MoT website,” said the ministry.

It further said that the country has significantly ramped up its domestic production capacity of PPEs and N95 masks, and the requirements of the States and UTs are being sufficiently met.

As on Monday, the country is producing over three lakh PPEs and N95 masks per day. States and UTs as well as Central Institutions have been provided with around 111.08 lakh N-95 masks and around 74.48 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Additionally, guidelines for rational use of PPEs have been issued by MoHFW and can be seen at its website.

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