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Political heat rises over Shramik Special; Maharashtra, Kerala slam Railway

A senior railway ministry official on Tuesday said till Monday, 3,274 Shramik Specials have been run which ferried 44 lakh passengers to their home states.

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NCP nawab malik

New Delhi/Mumbai/Thiruvananthapuram, May 27 : The tiff over Shramik Specials intensified further as Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal late Tuesday night over number of trains being available.

In a statement, Malik, who is an NCP Minister of Minority Development in the Uddhav Thackeray-led three-party coalition government in Maharashtra, alleged that for the last two days, the Railway Minister is doing politics.

“He said 49 trains would leave from Mumbai’s Lok Manya Tilak terminus. However, the Divisional Railway Manager said only 16 trains will be allowed.”

Hitting out at the Central government, the NCP leader said, “Passengers of 49 trains arrived at the station, but the railways was not ready to run the trains.”

“We feel the Railway Minister and Central government are intentionally doing politics,” Malik said.

Later the Divisional Railway Manager of the Lok Manya Tilak Terminus in a tweet said, “Never given such a statement to anyone. We as Indian Railways are committed to run the trains and help the migrants in distress.”

In his diatribe against Goyal, Malik in fact was responding to the charges levelled by the Railway Minister that the state government had failed to make arrangements for passengers to travel to railways stations, which resulted in fewer trains for the migrants.

“As many as 85 trains were supposed to run out of 145 trains, till 6 p.m. today (Tuesday), from Maharashtra. However, due to the failure of the state government to make arrangements for passengers, only 27 could run,” Goyal said, adding, “I again request the Maharashtra government to help us take back the poor labourers back home.”

This is not the first time Goyal has taken a dig at the Maharashtra government over the issue. On Tuesday, he urged the state government to cooperate with railways for operating the Shramik Specials. In a series of tweets, Goyal said, “On request of Maharashtra government, we arranged 145 Shramik Special Trains today. These trains are ready since morning. Fifty trains were to leave till 3 p.m. but only 13 trains have due to lack of passengers.”

“Further delays will affect the entire network and planning,” Goyal said in another tweet.

His remarks came two days after he asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to share the list of passengers for arranging Shramik Specials.

The war of words between the Centre and the state government began after Thackeray commented on Sunday that though the state wanted 80 trains daily to send migrants home, the Railway Ministry was allowing around 30-40 trains.

The Central Railways in a statement said that on Tuesday the national transporter had offered 125 trains for evacuation of migrants from Maharashtra. “But the state government was only able to offer information for 41 trains till 2 a.m. on May 25. Out of these 41 trains, 39 could run as passengers could not be brought by local authorities,” the CR said.

It further said that it took meticulous planning and sustained effort to mobilise resources at a very short notice to prepare 145 Shramik trains for Maharashtra on May 26.

“These trains have already been notified for today from Maharashtra as per a state-wise break-up. Till 12 noon, 25 trains were planned from Maharashtra to run, but several departures were cancelled due to lack of passengers. Boarding of the first train could commence at Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus at 12.30 p.m.,” it added.

The Central Railways further said that from Maharashtra, 68 Shramik Specials were supposed to leave for Uttar Pradesh, 27 to Bihar, 41 to West Bengal, two to Odisha and Tamil Nadu and one each to Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Kerala.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan late on Tuesday night also hit out at the Railway Minister saying the national transporter was sending trains to Kerala without prior information and that it would undermine measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Vijayan said the issue had been brought to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Vijayan said last week, after the railways sent a train to Kerala from Mumbai without informing the state government about its stop in Kannur, he had written to the Railway Minister saying the state must be informed in advance about such trains.

“The Minister was told that such a step would dent the steps being taken by the government to contain the disease. But, the railways decided to send a train to Kerala from Mumbai. This has been brought to the attention of the Prime Minister,” Vijayan said.

“Trains are coming to Kerala from all parts of the country. Our only condition is that there should be prior intimation from the Railways. They should give us a list of passengers who have booked tickets. In the same way, it is important and compulsory for passengers to register on the Covid Jagratha portal before the journey. We will be prepared to receive the passengers,” he said.

From May 21 to 25, several Shramik Special trains were delayed for hours as these were diverted due to congestion on the Jabalpur-Manikpur section.

The railways has said that the issue of congestion has now been resolved.

The Indian Railways, which has suspended the passenger, mail and express train services from March 25 amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus has started Shramik Specials from May 1.

The railways also started to operate 15 pairs of the Special air-conditioned trains from May 12.

The Shramik Specials were started to transport stranded migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims and students.

A senior railway ministry official on Tuesday said till Monday, 3,274 Shramik Specials have been run which ferried 44 lakh passengers to their home states.

On Monday, railways said it has operated 223 Shramik Specials and transported 2.8 lakh passengers. The railways has planned to operate 200 trains from June 1 on the time-table basis, bookings for which have already started.

Disaster

Corona testing reaches 8K per million, nearly 63% cured

“The cumulative number of samples tested as of now is 1,15,87,153. As a result of these efforts, the testing per million for India is presently 8,396.4,” the Ministry said.

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Corona outbreak PPE Kits

New Delhi, July 12 : As India on Sunday recorded 8.5 lakh coronavirus cases, the testing per million crossed 8,000 figure with 62.93 per cent patients recovering from the disease, a positive sign amid pandemic.

Focussed and coordinated steps taken in tandem by the Centre along with the states and the Union Territories (UTs) through a ”whole of government” approach, bolstered by effective clinical management of COVID-19 after early detection and timely diagnosis, led to a consistent increase in the recovered cases, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

In the last 24 hours, the Ministry, however, said a total of 19,235 people were cured of COVID-19. This has resulted in the cumulative total number of recovered cases rising to 5,34,620 on Sunday.

“The recovery rate has presently improved to 62.93 per cent,” the Ministry said.

As more people are recovering due to all-round efforts, the recovered cases exceed active cases by 2,42,362, it said, adding medical attention is being provided to all the 2,92,258 active cases.

The present health infrastructure dedicated to providing medical attention to the COVID affected includes 1,370 Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCH), 3,062 Dedicated COVID Health Centres (DCHC), and 10,334 COVID Care Centres (CCC).

For the successful operation of these facilities, the Centre has so far provided 122.36 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, 223.33 lakh N95 masks, and 21,685 ventilators to various states and UTs and central institutions.

Enabling factors like removing all impediments for COVID-19 testing and facilitation of widespread testing by states and UTs continues to result in a steady rise in the samples tested every day and during the last 24 hours 2,80,151 samples have been tested, it said.

“The cumulative number of samples tested as of now is 1,15,87,153. As a result of these efforts, the testing per million for India is presently 8,396.4,” the Ministry said.

A crucial supporting factor in progressive rise in testing numbers is continuous expansion of the country-wide diagnostic lab network, which as on date comprises 850 labs in the government sector and 344 private labs, totalling 1,194 labs.

Of the total 1,194 labs, 624 are Real-Time RT-PCR based testing labs that include 388 government and 236 private. A total of 472 TrueNat based testing labs are there in the country which include 427 government and 45 private. The CBNAAT based testing labs are 98 — 35 government and 63 private.

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NTPC wins prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2019

NTPC has also initiated Contractors’ Labour Information Management System (CLIMS) through which payment to contract labourers is paid on the last day of the month at project sites.

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NTPC Power Plant

Delhi, 12 JUL 2020 : NTPC Ltd, a central PSU under Ministeybof Power and India’s largest power generation company, has won the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Award 2019, under Outstanding Accomplishment in Corporate Excellence Category. Also, the company has received Commendation for Significant Achievement in category of CSR.

NTPC always strives for sustainable development of its communities around the power stations. Its flagship CSR program GEM (Girl Empowerment Mission), a 4 weeks residential program has been institutionalized in the vicinity of its power stations for benefit of school going girls from underprivileged background to support in their overall development.

NTPC has also initiated Contractors’ Labour Information Management System (CLIMS) through which payment to contract labourers is paid on the last day of the month at project sites.

CII-ITC Sustainability Awards recognize and reward excellence in sustainability practices. It is considered to be the most credible platform for sustainability recognition in the country.

With a total installed capacity of 62110 MW, NTPC Group has 70 Power stations comprising of 24 Coal, 7 combined cycle Gas/Liquid Fuel, 1 Hydro, 13 Renewables along with 25 Subsidiary & JV Power Stations.

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Disaster

India leading successful fight against COVID-19: HM Amit Shah

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Amit Shah

New Delhi, July 12 : Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said India was leading a successful fight in managing the coronavirus pandemic at a time when health services of most countries were collapsing.

The Home Minister said that the whole world was concerned about how India – a huge densely populated country with a federal structure – would fight this pandemic, but today “the most successful fight against this pandemic has been fought in India.”

“We are on a strong pedestal in the fight against COVID-19 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the motto ‘One People, One Thought, One Nation’,” Shah said while launching the Central Armed Police Forces’ (CAPFs) nationwide tree plantation drive in Gurugram which has set a target of planting 1.37 crore saplings.

Shah said only governments are fighting this pandemic across the world, but here in India, 130 crore people besides state governments are united in fighting this threat. His remarks came when the country recorded 28,637 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the total tally to 8,49,553 while the death toll from the disease climbed to 22,674.

In this fight, Shah said our CAPFs are playing a very important role whether it be markets, railway stations, whenever state governments have sought support in managing crowded places or the local police have sought the support of our security forces in enforcing the lockdown.

Mentioning that we should harness natural resources and not exploit them, Shah said this balance has been disturbed today due to consumerism and as a result we are facing the challenges of climate change and global warming. He said several programmes are being run on environmental protection but only tree plantation can check pollution and save the earth.

Shah said Prime Minister Modi while participating in the Paris World Environment Summit had cautioned the world against over exploitation of nature and the world accepted his formula in the Paris declaration on tackling climate change. Shah pointed out that various programmes of the government of India such as eight crore free cylinders to rural households are also environment friendly.

“I commend the brave CAPF jawans and applaud them for not only protecting and securing the nation but also having undertaken this massive campaign to plant more than one crore saplings of long lasting trees,” he said.

On the occasion Shah planted a sapling of the ‘peepal’ tree.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, DGs of the seven CAPFs and senior officials were also present. To mark the plantation drive, more than 10 lakh saplings are being planted at various locations of the CAPF throughout the length and breadth of the country.

These saplings are being planted by the CAPF personnel by contributing voluntary labour. Till June 30 this year more than 20 lakh saplings have been planted by all CAPFs across different regions of the country.

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