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Lockdown extended for 7 days amid surge in Covid-19 cases


According to the new Covid-19 guidelines, only essential services will be allowed to operate in Jammu and Kashmir.

Amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday extended the lockdown in all 20 districts by 7 days till 17 May. This might help to control further spread of the virus.

An official spokesman said that the extended lockdown will be strict and the number of guests in marriage ceremonies has been reduced to 25.

According to the new Covid-19 guidelines, only essential services will be allowed to operate in Jammu and Kashmir.

The week-long lockdown announced earlier was to end on 10 May at 7 am and it has now been extended till 17 May.

Normal life remained affected as the lockdown entered the 11th day on Sunday. Markets remained shut and public transport was off the roads. Security forces have sealed several roads by putting barricade to prevent the movement of people.

Meanwhile, police has arrested 106 persons in Kashmir for violating the curfew restrictions. 29 vehicles have been seized.




Free distribution of AYUSH-64 at 7 Delhi locations from Monday


Patients or their representatives can visit these centres with the hard or soft copies of the patient’s RT PCR positive report and Aadhar Card to get a free pack of AYUSH 64 tablets.

As a token of its commitment to serve the out of hospital COVID patients, the Ministry of Ayush has started free distribution of AYUSH 64 at many locations in Delhi since last Saturday. From Monday onwards, many more centres will become operational. Those COVID-19 patients who are in home isolation or are staying at some government/NGO arranged isolation centres can benefit from this initiative of the Ministry of Ayush.

Patients or their representatives can visit these centres with the hard or soft copies of the patient’s RT PCR positive report and Aadhar Card to get a free pack of AYUSH 64 tablets. Replenishment, if and when required, will also be provided free of cost.

The seven centres where Ayush 64 will be available to asymptomatic, mild and moderate void-19  patients from Monday onwards are All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), Sarita Vihar (9.30 am – 1.00 pm); Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Ashoka Road (all seven days, 8.30 am – 4.30 pm); Regional Research Institute of Unani Medicine, Abul Fazal Enclave Part-1, Jamia Nagar, Okhla (9 am – 5 pm); Unani Medical Centre, Room no. 111-113, Main OPD Building, First Floor, Gate no. 7, Safdarjung Hospital (9 am – 4 pm); Unani Speciality Clinic, Dr. M A Ansari Health Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia (9 am – 4.30 pm); Central Ayurveda Research Institute, Street no. 66, Punjabi Bagh (9.30 – 4 pm) and Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, opp. D-block, Janakpuri (9 am – 12 pm).The Naturopathy Hospital of CCRYN in sector 19 in Rohini will also start distributing free AYUSH 64 from Wednesday (9 am – 12 noon).

Apart from this, a sale counter is also set up at the reception of Ayush Bhawan, B- block, GPO complex where both AYUSH 64 and AYURAKSHA kits are available.




Mamata Banerjee takes oath as West Bengal CM for third consecutive term


She arrived at Raj Bhavan early morning today in Kolkata for the oath-taking ceremony.

Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday took oath as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for a third consecutive term. She was administered the oath by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

She arrived at Raj Bhavan early morning today in Kolkata for the oath-taking ceremony.

The newly-elected MLAs of the Trinamul Congress unanimously elected Banerjee yesterday as the legislative party leader at a meeting , its secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.

The TMC legislators elected the speaker in the outgoing House, Biman Banerjee, as the pro-tem speaker in the new Assembly.

“The newly-elected members will take oath in the Assembly from 6 May,” Chatterjee told reporters at the party headquarters  after the meeting of the legislators.

She also said on Tuesday that her party would arrange a grand celebration after the pandemic is over and would organise the meeting at Brigade Parade ground where other chief ministers and Opposition leaders of different states would be invited.

Mentioning that all the national leaders, including Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Akhilesh Yadav called her to congratulate her on the electoral success, Banerjee said, “There is a lot of time to think on this. This is a time when we should fight Covid and I am only focused on that. The Prime Minister didn’t call me. That doesn’t matter though. He might be busy, but he had called me before.”

In the West Bengal Assembly Elections, TMC again won more than 200 seats, breaching the halfway mark and forging a powerful majority in the state assembly.




PM speaks to Bengal Guv over post-poll violence


He demanded immediate punishment of perpetrators behind violence and killings and accused Miss Banerjee of vitiating the civil society by her utterances.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed his concern and anguish over West Bengal post-poll violence in a conversation over telephone with state Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, asking him to restore law and order. In a tweet, Dhankar informed,

“PM called and expressed his serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law and order situation @ MamataOfficial.”

“I share grave concerns @ PMOIndia given that violence vandalism, arson, loot and killings continued unabated. Concerned must act in overdrive to restore order,” Dhankhar added.

Violence and arson have been reported in the aftermath of the Bengal Assembly elections in which the ruling TMC secured a hat-trick with a mammoth mandate. BJP candidates were allegedly targeted, their houses set ablaze allegedly by TMC activists and clashes have also resulted in deaths. The vehicle of Suvendu Adhikari, who defeated chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram, was also reportedly attacked.

At Natabari, the car of BJP candidate Mihir Goswami was learnt to be damaged after the Election Commission announced his victory defeating Rabindranath Ghosh, minister and senior TMC leader. The Union home ministry on Monday had sought a detailed report from the state chief secretary on the violence.

In another development, BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia has in a petition before the Supreme Court demanded a CBI investigation into the spate of violence in West Bengal. The party had allegedly blamed TMC goons for violence in the state. Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra termed the violence as state sponsored. He said people following a particular ideology were being targeted at the behest of the ruling dispensation. He termed the development worrisome, unfortunate, shameful and condemnable.

“Bengal is burning. At the indication of Mamata government our workers were being murdered, women leaders humiliated in the most abominable manner,” Patra said, adding that there could no room for such inhuman actions in a democracy.

He demanded immediate punishment of perpetrators behind violence and killings and accused Miss Banerjee of vitiating the civil society by her utterances.




Mamata 3.0: New faces may get Cabinet berths


Sources said Bhattacharya won’t be able to attend the ceremony due to his failing health.

Mamata Banerjee will be sworn in as West Bengal chief minister for the third time likely at 11 am tomorrow.

Party sources revealed new faces will be inducted into the Cabinet. But as the Trinamul Congress chief, Miss Banerjee’s edict over choosing her Cabinet colleagues will be final. Some who had been ministers in the last Cabinet may lose their portfolios.

Among the new entrants, Madan Mitra and Dr Manas Bhuinya, winners from Kamarhati and Sabong, respectively, are likely to become ministers.

Earlier, Mitra was the state transport minister and Bhuinya, the state irrigation minister when Congress was in alliance with Trinamul Congress in 2011. Party sources revealed that there are demands from Budge Budge to make Ashoke Deb a minister since he has been winning the election since 2001.

Moreover, TMC this time has given a stunning performances in South 24 Parganas where it won 30 out of 31 seats. Biman Banerjee, who was elected from Baruipur (west) would be made the Speaker of the state Assembly for the third time. The existing ministers like Subrata Mukherjee, Partha Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Aroop Biswas, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Dr Sashi Panja, Shovandeb Chattopadhyay, Bratya Basu, Ashish Banerjee, Chandranath Sinha are most likely to retain their portfolios. Partha Bhowmik, Nirmal Ghosh and Tapash Chatterjee may have a ministerial berth this time.

The existing food and civil supplies minister Jyotipriya Mullick may not have his earlier portfolio. In this Cabinet, there may be two education ministers. Meanwhile, Akhil Giri of Ramnagar and Soumen Mahapatra who finally managed to win from Tamluk with a margin of 1,000 votes, are arch enemies of the Adhikari family and are likely to be inducted into the Cabinet.

The Cabinet may have sports personalities like Bidesh Bose and Manoj Tiwari along with Aroop Roy from Howrah. For the first time, TMC got 17 seats from Murshidabad and nine from Malda, North and South Dinajpurs and some of the MLAs from these districts should be inducted as ministers in Miss Banerjee’s cabinet.

Already there is a demand from Murshidabad to have more ministers this time. The list of invitees for the swearing-in ceremony includes former CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Left Front chairman Biman Bose, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, BJP’s Bengal president Dilip Ghosh and BJP’s legislative leader Manoj Tigga.

TMC general secretary Partha Chatterjee, party’s state president Subrata Bakshi, MP Sudip Bandopadhyay, Saugata Roy, Abhishek Banerjee,Subrata Mukherjee and MP Satabdi Roy and actor Deepak Adhikari (Dev) will be present at the occassion. Sources said Bhattacharya won’t be able to attend the ceremony due to his failing health.




Nadda arrives in Bengal; blames TMC for violence


On CM’s oath-taking ceremony, elected BJP MLAs will opt for a sit-in demonstration.

The BJP’s national leader, Sambit Patra, today claimed that the glory of winning the Bengal Assembly polls by Trinamul Congress has fizzled out due to the alleged state-sponsored violence post-elections while the party’s newly elected MLAs will opt for a sitin demonstration tomorrow when Mamata Banerjee will take oath as the chief minister.

Addressing the press, Patra likened the TMC with Nazis and dubbed the incumbent government as “fascists”.

He said it was embarrassing that amidst the ongoing Covid crisis in the country, reports of violence are surfacing in which houses, business establishments and properties of BJP leaders are either looted or set on fire by TMC goons under the watch of police. After results, post-poll violence broke out in West Bengal in which 9 BJP workers lost their lives. TMC, however, has denied the charges. ”

Patra said 2.28 crore Bengalis voted for the BJP and questioned, “Mamata Ji you won and everyone congratulated you for it. You are a woman and a daughter of Bengal. Aren’t these women who are being killed and raped also daughters of Bengal? Do they deserve this?” Meanwhile, BJP’s national president JP Nadda arrived today in Kolkata to meet the victims’ families at Kheyada, Narendrapur and Sonarpur.

He met the family members of the slain BJP leader Avijit Sarkar, who was allegedly beaten to death at Beliaghata.

Nadda said, “Each killing of our karyakarta (workers)will be avenged, inch by inch, legally and democratically. BJP leader, Swapan Dasgupta alleged that 1000 Hindu families were attacked who fled away to escape death. They took shelter in an open field, BJP headquarters and nearby meeting room at Maheswari Bhavan. BJP’s newly-elected MLAs will also start dharna on 5 May when Mamata Banerjee will take the oath, party sources said. BJP created a Whatsapp group

“Torture After the Election WB”, in which BJP supporters shared incidents with details, party sources said. On Monday, Union home minister Amit Shah had sought a report on large-scale violence in Bengal after the poll result was declared.




India records 3.82 lakh COVID-19 cases, 3780 deaths in last 24 hours


India recorded 3,82,315 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours taking the overall caseload to 2,06,65,148, according to data from the Union Health Ministry.

The country’s active COVID-19 cases stand at 34,87,229.

With 3,780 deaths in the last 24 hours, the death toll is at 2,26,188. In the last 24 hours, 3,38,439 recovered, taking the number of recoveries to 1,69,51,731.

Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh remain the worst affected states by the pandemic.

29,48,52,078 samples were tested for COVID-19 up to May 4 2021. Of these 15,41,299 samples were tested yesterday.

According to government data, as many as 16,04,94,188 people have been vaccinated.




Consider lockdown: Top court to Centre, states


The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and states to inform their chief secretaries and police chiefs that any clampdown on information on social media or harassment to individuals seeking help on any platform in relation to Covid-19 would result in coercive action.

Concerned over surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, the Supreme Court said the Centre and state governments may consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare.

However, the apex court put a caveat before them saying if they decide to go for lockdown then arrangements must be made beforehand to cater to the needs of the poor people.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud, in its order passed in the suo motu case for ensuring essential supplies and services during the Covid-19 pandemic, also asked the Centre and state governments to put on record the efforts taken and to be taken by them in future to ensure the virus does not spread further.

In a 64-page order uploaded on the apex court’s website late Sunday night, the bench, also comprising justices L Nagesara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, said, “In light of the continuing surge of infections in the second wave of the pandemic, we direct the Central Government and State Governments to put on record the efforts taken to curb the spread of the virus and the measures that they plan on taking in the near future.

At the same time, we would seriously urge the Central and State Governments to consider imposing a ban on mass gatherings and super spreader events.

They may also consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare, Justice Chandrachud, writing the order for the bench, said.

The apex court said that it was cognizant of the socio-economic impact of a lockdown, specifically, on the marginalized communities.

Thus, in case the measure of a lockdown is imposed, arrangements must be made beforehand to cater to the needs of these communities, it said.

The bench on 22 April had taken note of the pandemic situation due to sudden surge in Covid cases and said it expected the Centre to come out with a national plan to deal with the distribution of essential services and supplies.

(With input from PTI)




India clocks 3.68L new cases; PM reviews Covid staff strength


– To postpone NEETPG for at least 4 months. This will make a large number of qualified doctors available for Covid duties.
– To allow deployment of Medical Interns in Covid Management duties under the supervision of their faculty.

In a significant move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced a slew of measures aimed at ramping up availability of doctors and medical staff to deal with surging number of Covid 19 cases in the country.

The decision came during a review meeting held to assess the requirement of ‘adequate human resources for responding to the Covid19 pandemic.’

The daily Covid-19 cases in India showed a slight dip with 3,68,147 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, taking the total tally of cases to1,99,25,604, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Monday.

“It was decided to postpone NEET-PG for at least 4 months and the exam will not be held before 31 August 2021. Students will also be given atleast one month of time after announcement of exam before it is conducted. This will make a large number of qualified doctors available for Covid duties,” a note from Prime Minister Office stated here.

Accordingly, it was also decided to allow deployment of Medical Interns in Covid Management duties under the supervision of their faculty, as part of the Internship rotation.

“The services of Final Year MBBS students can be utilised for providing services like tele-consultation and monitoring of mild Covid cases after due orientation by and under supervision of Faculty. This will reduce the workload on existing doctors engaged in Covid duty and provide boost to efforts of triaging,” the PMO note further added.

The services of Final Year PG Students (broad as well as super-specialities) as residents is also proposed to be utilised until fresh batches of PG Students joined. B.Sc./ GNM Qualified Nurses is also to be utilised for full-time Covid nursing duties under the supervision of Senior Doctors and Nurses.

Accordingly, “individuals providing services in Covid management will be given priority in forthcoming regular Government recruitments after they complete minimum of 100 days of Covid duty.”

To ensure safety, the medical students/professionals sought to be engaged in Covid related work will be suitably vaccinated. “All health professionals thus engaged will be covered under the Insurance Scheme of Government and be given the Prime Minister’s Distinguished Covid National Service Samman from Government of India,” the note further added.

Bengal cases: West Bengal registered 17,501 fresh Covid cases and 98 deaths today. Kolkata recorded 3,990 cases and 21 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total Covid case count is 8,80,894 and death toll is 11,637 in the state till now while there are 1,19,961 active cases.




Mamata Banerjee to take oath as WB CM on 5 May


Banerjee called on the Governor and said oath-taking ceremony for her third consecutive term as CM would be a low-key affair.

Mamata Banerjee will be sworn in as the chief minister of West Bengal for the third time on 5 May, her party announced on Monday.

The newly-elected MLAs of the Trinamul Congress unanimously elected Banerjee as the legislative party leader at a meeting here, its secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.

The TMC legislators elected the speaker in the outgoing House, Biman Banerjee, as the pro-tem speaker in the new Assembly.

“The newly-elected members will take oath in the Assembly from 6 May,” Chatterjee told reporters at the party headquarters here after the meeting of the legislators.

Miss Banerjee today declared that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the oath-taking ceremony would be a low-key affair in keeping with Covid protocols.

She also said her party would arrange a grand celebration after the pandemic is over and would organise the meeting at Brigade Parade ground where other chief ministers and Opposition leaders of different states would be invited.

Mentioning that all the national leaders, including Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Akhilesh Yadav called her to congratulate her on the electoral success, Banerjee said, “There is a lot of time to think on this. This is a time when we should fight Covid and I am only focused on that. The Prime Minister didn’t call me. That doesn’t matter though. He might be busy, but he had called me before.”

“At the same time, I would like to remind the BJP that what it is doing is not correct. One of the supporters has been killed in East Burdwan. They are torturing our supporters in Cooch Behar,” she said, adding, “I also want to tell the police that some of them have worked in favour of the BJP. But this is the time when we should work together to save people from Covid.”

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee met West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan today evening and tendered her resignation as chief minister of the present government staking claim to form the government.

Party’s secretary-general Partha Chatterjee and Trinamul Youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee accompanied her to Raj Bhavan.





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