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Staff shortage cripples Delhi Fire Service

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New Delhi: The Delhi Fire Service (DFS) is grappling with a severe staff crunch with over 32 per cent vacancies persisting despite new appointments made just a month back.

According to data accessed by IANS through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, of the 2,367 total sanctioned posts for firemen in DFS, 1,598 were filled in September, while 769 are vacant. Of the 1,598 newly appointed firemen, 500 are fresh recruits.

While the administrative control of Delhi Fire Service is with the city government, as per its website, the recruiting agencies for the department are the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), said the RTI reply.

“Firemen are key staff of the Department. The training of the 500 new recruits has been completed and they have joined the Department,” a senior fire official told IANS.

The DFS is also facing manpower crunch in the fire fighting staff section. Of the 3,127 posts in the fire fighting section, 913 are vacant. “Of the five sanctioned posts for Chief Fire Officer, three are vacant,” according to the RTI reply.

The condition is no better in the Communication section. “A total of 65 posts for radio telephone operators are vacant against the sanctioned strength of 100. The two positions for Communication Officers and one for Wireless Officer are also lying vacant,” the RTI reply added.

The DFS official said the department was doing its job with what it had and the available manforce had been distributed across 61 fire stations in Delhi. “There are ideally six persons on one vehicle. At present we operate with four. We have to send in more vehicles each time there’s a big fire some where,” the official added.

Delhi has witnessed a number of fire incidents in 2019, including a blaze in Karol Bagh in which 17 people were killed.

The DFS came into existence in 1942. Back then, it had 4 fire stations with 14 appliances and a total staff strength of 186.

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Covid Cases Decreasing In Delhi Since November 10 Peak: Arvind Kejriwal To PM

Kejriwal told the prime minister that Delhi saw the peak of 8,600 coronavirus cases on November 10 during the third wave

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Arvind Kejriwal

At a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the high severity of the third wave of Covid-19 in the national capital is due to many factors, pollution being an important one, sources said.

Kejriwal told the prime minister that Delhi saw the peak of 8,600 coronavirus cases on November 10 during the third wave and since then, the number of cases as well as the positivity rate are steadily decreasing, the sources said.

The chief minister hoped that the trend would continue in the national capital.

“The high severity of the third wave is due to many factors. Pollution is an important factor. The chief minister sought the prime minister’s intervention to get rid of the pollution caused by stubble-burning in adjoining states, especially in view of the recent bio-decomposer technique,” a source said.

At the meeting with the prime minister, Kejriwal also sought the reservation of the additional 1,000 ICU beds in the central government-run hospitals in Delhi for coronavirus patients till the third wave of the infection lasts in the city, the source said.

Modi on Tuesday interacted via video-conferencing with the chief ministers of the states that are witnessing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases to review the pandemic situation.

Delhi recorded 4,454 fresh Covid-19 cases and a positivity rate of 11.94 per cent on Monday, while 121 more fatalities pushed the death toll due to the disease to 8,512 in the city.

This was the sixth time in 12 days that the daily number of deaths crossed the 100-mark in the national capital.

Authorities reported 121 deaths due to Covid-19 on Sunday, 111 on Saturday, 118 on Friday, 131 on November 18, the highest till date, and 104 on November 12.

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UP To Test Every Traveller From Delhi For Coronavirus

It seems the second Covid-19 has hit the national capital, he said, pointing to a spurt in cases there.

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COVID-19 antibody testing

The Uttar Pradesh government will test all travellers from Delhi for coronavirus, an official said on Sunday.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary R K Tiwari said the state government is also considering restrictions on the number of people at weddings and other social programmes.

Tiwari said infection cases have increased in UP districts bordering Delhi.

It seems the second Covid-19 has hit the national capital, he said, pointing to a spurt in cases there.

So, we are testing everyone coming from Delhi, be it by air, train or bus, he said.

When asked about the kind of curbs that may be imposed at social gatherings, Tiwari said the decision will be taken on the prevailing situation.

“Districts in western UP like Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad have restricted social gatherings to 100. Necessary steps will be taken as per the prevailing situation in various places to stop the spread of the infection,” he said.

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Rajasthan govt hikes penalty on gathering of more than 100 people at marriages

A total of 603 cases were reported in Jaipur while 414 in Jodhpur, 210 in Ajmer, 271 in Alwar, 131 in Bhilwara, 240 in Kota, 100 in Pali and 184 in Udaipur.

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Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday announced to increase the penalty on gathering of more than 100 people at marriages from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000.

Chairing a meeting to review the steps taken to contain COVID spread in the state, he said administration and police personnel should take rounds in the market to ensure all due protocols are being followed with due care in reference to night curfew announced on Saturday as well as to ensure that set number of people’s limit is not crossed.

The wedding organisers should also be updated in this context that more than 100 people are not permitted in the wedding function, he added.

District collectors, superintendents of police and other senior officials have been given responsibility to ensure night curfew norms are maintained in eight districts as announced and not more than 100 people are gathered in the crowd. Every person should wear masks and social distancing norms should also be followed, the Chief Minister said.

Notably, the state government announced night curfew in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, Alwar, Udaipur, Alwar and Ajmer.

Also the penalty for those not wearing masks was increased to Rs 500 from Rs 200 on Saturday.

The Chief Minister on Sunday said that the state government’s major objective is to save lives of people.

On Sunday, a total of 3,260 new COVID cases and 17 deaths were reported.

A total of 603 cases were reported in Jaipur while 414 in Jodhpur, 210 in Ajmer, 271 in Alwar, 131 in Bhilwara, 240 in Kota, 100 in Pali and 184 in Udaipur.

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