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First mega-monsoon tragedy as 11 killed in Mumbai house-crash


Among the 7 admitted to the Dr BR Ambedkar Shatabdi Hospital, the condition of at least 3 is critical, while one was discharged after treatment for minor injuries this morning.

In the first major monsoon-related tragedy, at least 11 persons were killed and 7 more injured when a two-storied residential building collapsed and crashed on an adjoining tenement in Malad west late on Wednesday, officials said here on Thursday.

The tragedy struck at around 23.30 hrs inside the congested slum colony housed in the New Collectors Compound, Malvani area of Malad west suburb, said the BMC Disaster Control.

So far, 11 persons have perished in the incident, comprising 9 from a single family, and after the locals raised an alarm that a few more may still be trapped under the huge mound of rubble, efforts were made to dig them out.

A majority of the victims killed are minors while another 17 were rescued by the locals, the Mumbai Fire Brigade, SDRF and others in the nightlong operations which continued at daybreak braving intermittent rains.

Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Sheikh, who is the local MLA, visited the tragedy site and directed the rescue and relief operations, besides other top police and civic officials.

The victims have been identified as: Arifa Shaikh, 9, Jhoni Irrana, 13, plus nine members of a single family — Alfisa S. Siddiqui, 18-month old, Afina S. Siddiqui, 6, Sahil S. Sayyed, 9, Alisha S. Siddiqui, 10, Taher S. Siddiqui, 12, Taufik S. Siddiqui, 15, Raisabano S. Siddiqui, 40, Ishratbano S. Siddiqui, 40, and Shafiq M. Siddiqui, 45.

Among the 7 admitted to the Dr BR Ambedkar Shatabdi Hospital, the condition of at least 3 is critical, while one was discharged after treatment for minor injuries this morning.

The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rains in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, over the 3-4 days and the state has geared up all agencies to combat any situation.




Odisha logs 6,097 fresh COVID-19 Cases, 44 more deaths


There are 69,333 active cases in the state at present. In the last 24 hours, 8,836 patients recovered, taking the total recoveries to 7,64,673. The state tested 68,778 samples on Wednesday.

Odisha logged 6,097 new COVID-19 cases at 8.86% test positivity rate on Thursday while 44 more deaths pushed the death toll to 3,167, said officials of health and family welfare department on Thursday.

The state’s cumulative caseload toll has jumped 8,37,226 cases even though the infection has declined in June after peaking in May.

The daily fatalities however continue to go unabated in the current month consistently clocking more than 40 deaths on a daily average since the past ten days. On the other hand, the positivity rate which had climbed to 23% in May has slumped below 10% in the current month.

Of the new infections, 3,446 were reported from quarantine centres and the remaining 2,651 were local contact cases.

There are 69,333 active cases in the state at present. In the last 24 hours, 8,836 patients recovered, taking the total recoveries to 7,64,673. The state tested 68,778 samples on Wednesday.

Khordha district topped the daily infection with 1,017 positive cases in the last 24 hours followed by Cuttack (647), Jajpur (434), Balasore (392), Mayurbhanj (297), Angul (295), Puri (291) and Kendrapara (253).

The COVID hotspot khordha district also reported the highest of five fatalities followed by four each from Jharsuguda, Angul, Cuttack and Bargarh, three each from Kalahandi, Puri, Rayagada, and Sundargarh, two each from Balangir, Boudh, and Mayurbhanj, and one each from Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Kendrapara, and Sambalpur.

Odisha’s overall positivity rate stands at 6.71 per cent. Over 1.23 crore samples have been tested for COVID-19 thus far, including 68,778 on Wednesday.




With 94,052 COVID-19 cases and 6148 deaths, India records highest single-day death toll


India’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 11,67,952 with 3,46,759 deaths so far.

India on Thursday reported 94,052 new COVID-19 cases as 6148 more patients succumbed to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said. The country recorded the highest single-day death toll in the last 24 hours

India’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 11,67,952 with 3,46,759 deaths so far.

Since May 14, India has recorded over 1 lakh deaths.

On June 8, India recorded 86,498 cases, lowest since April 2 when the country logged 89,129 new cases.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 1,51,367 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, with 2,76,55,493 being cured of Covid till date.

The Health Ministry said that a total of 23,90,58,360 people have been vaccinated so far in the country.

Last month, India crossed a grim milestone of three-lakh deaths due to the coronavirus infections, thus becoming world’s third country after the US and Brazil to cross three-lakh deaths.

After battling a brutal second wave for weeks, fresh Covid cases came down below the three lakh mark for the first time on May 17 after touching record high of 4,14,188 on May 7.

(With IANS inputs)




Sigh of relief: 8 days of Covishield & 2nd dose of Covaxin stock arrives for 18-44 category


Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and MLA Atishi informed while presenting vaccination bulletin digitally on Wednesday that around 1.5 lakh doses of Covishield and Covaxin for 18-44 category have arrived in Delhi.

A two-week-long struggle to scramble for vaccine doses is expected to ease out for the people aged 18-44 as the fresh stock of vaccines have arrived in the national capital. However, the Covaxin at the government vaccination centres will only be available to those eligible for the second dose.

Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and MLA Atishi informed while presenting vaccination bulletin digitally on Wednesday that around 1.5 lakh doses of Covishield and Covaxin for 18-44 category have arrived in Delhi.

“We have Covaxin available for the second dose and 8 days of Covishield stock available, which means vaccination stock is available for the youth for the next 8 days,” she said.

Meanwhile, the stock of Covaxin received for 45+ category will be over in the next two days while the Covishield will sustain for 27 days for this category.

“We have received 20,000 doses of Covaxin which are being distributed to different centres of Delhi today. Covaxin for 45+ will be used to administer only the second dose. For 18-44,  we have Covaxin available for the second dose and 8 days of Covishield. For 45+,  we have 2 days of Covaxin and 27 days of Covishield available,” Atishi said.

For the last 14 days weeks, the vaccination for 18-44 years was halted at government centres due to an acute shortage of the vaccines.

On June 8, a total of 48,411 doses of the vaccine were administered. Out of these 25,847 were first doses and 22,564 were second doses, taking the vaccination tally (first dose) in Delhi to 57,81,988  while 13,40,000 people have been administered both the doses.




With eye on delimitation, political activity warms up in J&K


This is almost two years after the abrogation of Article 370 by the Modi government that such hectic activity was being witnessed among all political parties of J&K.

Political activity has warmed up in Jammu and Kashmir after Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is learnt to have discussed the delimitation issue with the Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to New Delhi and the Delimitation Commission asking deputy commissioners of all 20 districts of the union territory to share data pertaining to electorates and other compositions in their respective districts.

This is almost two years after the abrogation of Article 370 by the Modi government that such hectic activity was being witnessed among all political parties of J&K.

The Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has reactivated itself and has convened a meeting of leaders of its constituents on Wednesday evening at the residence of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. The National Conference chief Dr Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah will also attend the meeting. The CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami is among the leaders participating in the crucial meeting.

The recent meeting of Sinha with Amit Shah and home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla has triggered speculations and it was being expected that the commission that had kept its further meetings on hold after February due to the Covid pandemic would hold its sittings in J&K soon. Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Arvind Kumar, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh and DGP CID Rashmi Ranjan Swain among others were present in the meetings with Shah and Bhalla.

The BJP, Congress, PDP, Peoples Conference, J&K Apni Party, Panthers Party and other parties have started working out their strategy on the issue.

There was an expectation that the National Conference might reconsider its decision of boycotting the meetings of the delimitation commission. An indication of the National Conference leadership softening its stand on the issue came on Tuesday when while addressing party leaders, Dr Farooq Abdullah said he was not against the delimitation of constituencies in J&K but was opposed to the method adopted that was not in tandem with the procedure. “We will uphold the interests of the people at all costs in every forum”, he stressed.

The commission held its first meeting on J&K on 18 February at New Delhi but the NC MPs Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Mohammad Akbar Lone, who are associate members of the commission, boycotted the meeting describing it an “unconstitutional” exercise. They said that the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act under which the commission has been set up stands challenged in the Supreme Court.

Before 5 August 2019 when the Assembly was dissolved, J&K had 111 seats including 24 reserved for Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK), and elections were held for 87 seats. With the creation of Ladakh as a separate Union Territory after being split from J&K, four seats were reduced in the Assembly that is left with 83 seats. In the previous Assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37, and Ladakh 4.

The delimitation commission headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai was constituted on 6 March 6 2020 for a period of one year to delimit the constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NC seniors are learnt to have advised against boycotting the commission as the party would be held responsible of having run away from the sensitive issue. The party should put its viewpoint forcefully before the commission, they said.

Meanwhile, describing the commission’s letter to all DCs of J&K 15 months after its constitution seeking basic details regarding electorates etc as a cruel joke with the people of the erstwhile state, Harsh Dev Singh Chairman, J&K National Panthers Party and a former Minister said that the casual approach of the commission has completely been exposed as the commission does not have even the basic information regarding the number of voters, topography and composition of districts and Assembly constituencies which is being sought now.




India records over 92K Covid cases, 2,219 deaths in 24 hrs


On June 8, India recorded 86,498 cases, lowest since April 2 when the country logged 89,129 new cases.

India on Wednesday logged 92,596 new Covid infections in 24 hours, less than one lakh cases for the second straight day and 6,098 cases more than Tuesday, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said.

On June 8, India recorded 86,498 cases, lowest since April 2 when the country logged 89,129 new cases.

In the past 24 hours, 2,219 more people succumbed to the pandemic.

India’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,90,89,069 with 12,31,415 active cases and 3,53,528 deaths so far.

After battling a brutal second wave for weeks, fresh Covid cases came down below the three lakh-mark for the first time on May 17 after touching record high of 4,14,188 on May 7.

In the last three weeks, India has recorded over 93,000 deaths. India registered record fatalities due to Covid-19 on May 21 with 4,529 deaths — the highest from Covid infection in any country in a day since the coronavirus outbreak was reported in China’s Wuhan in December 2019. It surpassed 4,468 deaths in the US on January 12, 2021, and 4,211 in Brazil on April 6, 2021.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 1,62,664 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total discharge to 2,75,04,126 till date.

The Health Ministry said that a total of 23,90,58,360 people have been vaccinated so far in the country, including 27,76,096 who were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 37,01,93,563 samples have been tested up to June 8 for Covid-19. Of these 19,85,967 samples were tested on Tuesday.




Cong to hold protests on June 11 against fuel price hike


After easing of curbs, the principal opposition party, the Congress, has decided to take on the government on the issue of petrol price hike, after cornering the government on the shortage of vaccine, medical equipment and drugs. The regular petrol is already selling at more than Rs 100 per litre in Mumbai and some other parts of the country.

The Congress has decided to hold massive protests on June 11 across the country on all petrol pumps and will demand roll back of the prices. The Congress has alleged that the prices were static till the West Bengal polls, but after that it again started shooting up.

Fuel price rise in the country continued on Monday with oil marketing companies (OMCs) increasing the pump rate of both petrol and diesel, though it spared a hike on Tuesday.

Petrol is selling at Rs 95.31 per litre and diesel at Rs 86.22 per litre in the national capital.

In the city of Mumbai, where petrol prices crossed Rs 100 mark for the first time ever on May 29, the fuel price reached new high of Rs 101.53 per litre on Monday. Diesel price also increased in the city to reach Rs 93.57 a litre, the highest among metros.




Fresh order for vaccines placed to achieve universalization of Vaccination


Now with the aim to further universalize the countrywide vaccination drive, all citizens above 18 years of age can receive the COVID19 vaccine doses free of cost at Government health facilities.

Government of India has been supporting the efforts of States and UTs for an effective Vaccination drive under the ‘Whole of Government” approach since 16th January this year. Based on the various representations received by the Union Government, the vaccination for all adults above 18 years of age was opened with the onset of Liberalized Phase III of India’s vaccination strategy on 1st May, 2021.

Now with the aim to further universalize the countrywide vaccination drive, all citizens above 18 years of age can receive the COVID19 vaccine doses free of cost at Government health facilities.

In immediate follow-up of the Hon. Prime Minister’s announcement of these changes in the Guidelines of National COVID Vaccination program yesterday, the Union Health Ministry has placed an order with Serum Institute of India for 25 crore doses of Covishield and with Bharat Biotech for 19crore doses of Covaxin.

These 44 crore (25+19 cr) doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be available till December 2021, starting now.

Additionally, 30% of the advance for procurement of both the Covid Vaccines has been released to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.




Massive fire at Vaishnodevi shrine; no damages, pilgrimage running smoothly


Chief executive officer of the Shrine Board, Ramesh Kumar, said that the fire has been controlled and there were no damages and that the pilgrimage is running smoothly.

The cash counting hall of the Vaishnodevi Shrine was on Tuesday gutted in a massive fire that broke out in the afternoon.

It is learnt that the fire started due to a short circuit in an air conditioner. The entire hall near the natural cave was reduced to ruins.

Firemen rushed to the spot and succeeded in dousing the massive fire. No casualty has been reported.

Chief executive officer of the Shrine Board, Ramesh Kumar, said that the fire has been controlled and there were no damages and that the pilgrimage is running smoothly.

Pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi was suspended during the lockdown but it has now reportedly started picking up particularly on weekends.




Covid vaccination based on ‘certain’ criteria, clarifies Centre


The revised guidelines will come into effect from June 21 and will be reviewed from time to time and these elements were included in the fresh guidelines for implementation of the National Covid vaccination programme.

Starting Tuesday, Covid-19 vaccine doses that are to be provided by the Central government to states and the Union Territories (UTs) free of cost will be allocated based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination.

The revised guidelines will come into effect from June 21 and will be reviewed from time to time and these elements were included in the fresh guidelines for implementation of the National Covid vaccination programme.

The Centre has made it clear that vaccination will be prioritized to Health Care Workers, Front Line Workers, citizens more than 45 years of age, citizens whose second dose has become due and citizens 18 years and above.

Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, the guidelines mentioned, states and the UTs may decide their own prioritization factoring in the vaccine supply schedule.

The new guidelines came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared free vaccines to all aged above 18 years of age from June 21 with the Centre providing free vaccine doses to all states and UTs.

Among the main pointers of the guidelines, it is mentioned that the government of India will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country.

The vaccines procured will continue to be provided free of cost to states and the UTs as has been the case from the commencement of the national vaccination programme. These doses will be administered by the states and the UTs free of cost to all citizens as per priority through government vaccination centres.

The Central government will provide states and UTs advance information of vaccine doses to be supplied to them, said the guideline, adding “states or UTs should similarly, further allocate doses well in advance to districts and vaccination centres”.

(With IANS inputs)





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