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UP man holds son’s b’day party amid lockdown, booked

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Gorakhpur (UP), April 17 Hosting a birthday party for his 10-year-old son proved costly for a trader as he was booked for violating the nationwide lockdown, police said on Friday.

The accused organised the party at the housing complex in Gorakhpur on Thursday despite opposition from some residents of the locality, sources said.

The Gorakhpur police booked him and some unidentified persons after a video clip of the event was posted on the social media.

The clip showed a gathering of about 50-60 persons and a number of food stalls put up at the party venue.

Cantonment Police Station Circle Officer Sumit Shukla said: “The viral video clip of the birthday party was examined and found genuine, following which the FIR was registered against the trader and others for defying the lockdown.”

He said that the trader had hired a caterer to prepare and serve food at the party. Though most residents of the locality stayed away, about 60 of them attended the event.

All of them were booked under the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act, and Sections 188 (disobedience of order duly promulgated by public servant) and 269 (negligence leading to spread of infectious diseases) of the IPC, the police said.

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Maharashtra touches new high of 6,364 corona patients, 198 deaths

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased to 589,448, while those in institutional quarantine increased to 42,371.

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Mumbai, July 3 : Maharashtra’s Covid-19 cases continued to break records with a new high of 6,364 – up from Thursday’s 6,330, and notched 198 deaths for the second time in three days, health officials said here on Friday.

With the latest fatalities, the state death toll climbed up to 8,376 and total cases zoomed to 192,990 – both the highest in the country.

Friday”s figures work out to roughly one death recorded every 7 minutes and a staggering 265 new cases notched every hour.

The recovery rate in the state improved marginally from to 54.24 per cent while the mortality rate stood at 4.34 percent.

July has started with three-digit highs of deaths and over 5,000 cases daily, causing major concerns among health officials.

The Health Department said of the total number of cases declared till date, 79,911 are active case.

On the positive side, 3,515 fully cured patients returned home on Friday – taking the number of those discharged to 104,687.

Of Friday”s fatalities, Mumbai alone notched 73 deaths – pulling up the city death toll to 4,762, while the number of Covid-19 positive patients here shot up by 1,338 cases to 82,074.

There were also 50 deaths in Thane, 19 in Pune, 15 in Solapur, six each in Palghar, Aurangabad and Jalgaon, five in Jalna, four in Raigad, three in Akola, two each in Dhule and Amravati, and one each in Nashik, Ahmednagar, Nandurbar, Latur and Gondiya. Two deceased were from other states.

The MMR (Thane division) continues to see deaths and cases continue to pile up, with a total of 6,060 Covid-19 fatalities and a whopping 4,379 new patients pushing up the number of positive cases to 137,783.

Thane cases have shot upto 43,634 with 1,075 fatalities – to emerge as the second worst-hit district after Mumbai in the state.

Pune district comes third with 25,454 patients and 826 deaths till now. But Pune division ranks second (after MMR) with 29,371 patients and 1,157 fatalities.

Nashik division has 566 fatalities and 10,379 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad division with 306 deaths and 7,060 cases, and Akola division with 139 fatalities and 2,934 cases.

Kolhapur division has notched 55 deaths and 2,173 patients, Latur division 49 fatalities and 1,134 cases, and Nagpur division has recorded 19 deaths and 2,050 cases.

Among the eight divisions, only Kolhapur recorded zero fatalities on Friday, though there were new Covid-19 positive cases.

Nashik division, meanwhile, the third division to enter the 5-digit levels in the total cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased to 589,448, while those in institutional quarantine increased to 42,371.

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With 2,520 new coronavirus cases, Delhi’s tally climbs to 94,695

On June 23, the capital had witnessed a peak of the highest single-day peak of 3,947 cases, but the number has come down steadily since then.

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New Delhi, July 3 : The national capital witnessed a spike of 2,520 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, pushing its total tally to 94,695 on Friday. It also reported 59 deaths in this period.

According to Delhi government data, as many as 2,617 patients recovered in the last 24 hours. Till now, 65,624 people have recovered, 26,148 are active cases and 2,923 patients have succumbed to the deadly disease.

Over 10,577 RT-PCR and 13,588 rapid antigen Covid-19 tests were conducted on Friday. In total, 5,96,695 tests have been conducted so far in the national capital. Delhi has a total of 445 containment zones.

Currently, 5,635 beds are occupied in the hospitals out of a total capacity of 15,243 beds, 1,948 in the dedicated Covid Care Centres and 167 in the dedicated Covid Health Centres. Over 15,878 people are under home isolation.

On June 23, the capital had witnessed a peak of the highest single-day peak of 3,947 cases, but the number has come down steadily since then.

The turnaround came after several meetings were held between Central and State government officials in mid-June after cases recorded a sharp and sustained spike.

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Amidst row over MSME ordinance, Assam denies selling land resources

The All Indian United Democratic Front President and Lok Sabha Member Maulana Badruddin Ajmal also criticised the ordinance as a ploy to sell off large areas of Assam’s land resources to corporate houses posing as MSME aspirants.

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Guwahati, July 3 : Amidst widespread protests against a proposed ordinance to allow conversion of land without multiple clearances from authorities for setting up Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Assam government on Friday denied allegations that it was planning to “sell off” the state”s land resources.

Various political parties, tribal and social organisations, and students” bodies, including the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU), launched agitations after the cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on June 29 approved the “MSME Ordinance”.

The ordinance, when promulgated, would allow investors to set up MSMEs without any hurdle and without multiple clearances of land from different authorities.

Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary on Friday said that the reactions on the proposed ordinance might be because no one has seen its proposals, which, he sought to clarify, did not touch tribal blocks and areas, reserve forests and eco-sensitive regions.

“Hazardous units would not be allowed to be set up. The ordinance was aimed to facilitate generation of jobs to the state”s 20 lakh registered unemployed as well as some 3.5 lakh people who have been jobless since returning from other parts of India before and during the Covid-19 lockdown,” he clarified.

Patowary said that under the proposed MSME Ordinance, maximum quantum of investment would be Rs 50 crore for medium, Rs 10 crore for small and Rs one crore for micro industrial units. He said only few states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka have brought out such ordinance and acts to facilitate setting up of MSMEs.

“This Ordinance will not affect the land rights of indigenous people of Assam as protected by the Assam Agricultural Land (Regulation of Reclassifications and Transfer for Non-Agricultural Purpose) Act 2015,” he said.

Noting that due to the pandemic, the state”s economy has been adversely affected and business environment depressed, the Minister said that in such situations, the ordinance would create a conducive environment, drive domestic growth, attract investment and accelerate industrial development in the state.

The opposition Congress, however, said that they were not convinced by the government clarifications. State Congress President Ripun Bora said that the easy transfer of land for industrial purposes would effortlessly allow major investors. “The ordinance would go against the very interest of the indigenous people,” he argued.

The All Indian United Democratic Front President and Lok Sabha Member Maulana Badruddin Ajmal also criticised the ordinance as a ploy to sell off large areas of Assam’s land resources to corporate houses posing as MSME aspirants.

Agitators from the AASU on Thursday as part of their state-wide agitations burnt copies of the ordinance, which await Governor Jagdish Mukhi”s assent. The AASU protestors called the “MSME Ordinance” as a “betrayal of trust” by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government that had come to power in 2016 promising to protect ”jati” (race), ”mati” (land) and ”bheti” (hearth).

The Delhi-based Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) has urged the Governor not to give his assent to the “disastrous MSME Ordinance” in the veil of promoting MSMEs.

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