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Centre’s Warning To Bengal Amid Rising Covid Cases Post Durga Puja – dot newz

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Bengal has reported 20,936 new Covid cases and 343 new deaths in the last 30 days. (File)

Kolkata:

The centre has pulled up the West Bengal government for the rise in number of COVID-19 cases in Kolkata following huge crowds on the streets during the Durga Puja celebrations earlier this month. 

The average daily new cases in Kolkata have been on the rise since the Durga Puja celebrations ended on October 15 — from 217 cases in the week ending October 14 to 272 cases in the week ending October 21, which is a rise of 20-25% in seven days.

Kolkata has reported almost 27 per cent increase in positivity rate in the past week, from 5.6 per cent in the week ending October 14 to 7.1 per cent in the week ending October 21.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to West Bengal health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam on October 22 saying that Kolkata is one of the “certain districts in the country that have started showing a worrying trend in daily new cases and positivity rate in recent weeks.”

“With the ongoing festive season, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of Covid safety activities in order to maintain the collective gains made in the battle against the pandemic so far,” Mr Bhushan wrote, adding that necessary corrective measures should be promptly communicated to the field teams and data must be updated consistently.

Bengal has reported 20,936 new cases and 343 new deaths in the last 30 days, Mr Bhushan said in his letter. This accounts for 3.4 per cent of India’s new cases and 4.7 per cent of new deaths in the last 30 days.

The names of the other districts in the country reporting a rise in Covid numbers was not available, neither were the number of districts on the list.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation had been on alert since October 18, cancelling all health department staff leave and stepping up Covid testing. It had earlier decided to reopen one quarantine centre and two safe houses but the chairperson of the corporation and Bengal minister Firhad Hakim on Monday lowered the alert level as Covid case numbers came down.

On October 22, 242 people tested positive in Kolkata, 200 were asymptomatic and 42 symptomatic. On October 25, Kolkata recorded 187 new cases, out of which 125 were symptomatic and 62 asymptomatic.

“We are not reopening any quarantine centre or safe house now. There is no need,” Mr Hakim said. “Over 50 per cent of people in Kolkata have got double vaccines. So most people are getting mild attacks and isolating at home,” he added.

Bengal recorded 806 new Covid cases today, out of which 248 were reported from Kolkata.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has underscored the need to keep testing, tracking, treating, vaccinating, and following Covid-appropriate behaviour and warned if the norms are not observed then the numbers will rise and the health infrastructure will be under stress in the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday had claimed that the new cases of COVID-19 infections in the state are mostly from among those who have been fully vaccinated but their immunity after being administered both doses is not exceeding six months. She had directed the state health secretary to take up the matter with the centre and seek to know the reasons behind it.



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High Altitude Areas In Uttarakhand Receive Season’s First Snowfall – dot newz

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The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places (File)

Dehradun:

The Himalayan temple of Kedarnath and the high altitude areas of Chamoli district received the season’s first snowfall on Thursday while it drizzled in the lower areas intensifying the chill across the state.

Besides the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district, the Musk Deer Park, Valley of Flowers and the Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli district also received snowfall, officials in Dehradun said.

The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places, including state capital Dehradun.

The temperature recorded in Dehradun on Thursday was 15.4 degrees Celsius, Tehri 10 degrees Celsius, Pantnagar 18.4 degrees Celsius, Mukteshwar 8.4 degrees Celsius and Almora 13.4 degrees Celsius, the MeT Department in Dehradun said.



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37 Years On, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims Still Await Adequate Compensation – dot newz

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“In 1984, Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at Centre”: Bhopal Gas Tragedy Minister

Bhopal:

Thirty-seven years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, termed as the world’s worst industrial disaster, the survivors and the family of the dead are still waiting to be compensated fairly with an organisation working for them claiming that each victim has so far received less than one-fifth of the allotted sum.

The leak of methyl isocyanate, a toxic gas, from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, had killed over 3,000 people and left 1.02 lakh others affected at that time. However, the number of affected later rose to over 5.70 lakh.

Talking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishvas Sarang said, “In 1984, the Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at the Centre. The two governments did not put forth the case of the victims in a right manner to enable them to get more compensation.”

Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) co-convener ND Jayaprakash said the Supreme Court assisted settlement on February 14-15, 1989 worth Rs 705 crore was based on the assumption that only around 3,000 persons died and 1,02,000 were affected.

“This compensation was a complete sham as each gas victim ended up being given less than one-fifth of the sum allotted even as per the terms of that unjust settlement,” he added.

When asked to explain, he said that the financial aid was USD 470 million in 1989. The dollars turned into more than Rs 3,000 crore in 2004, when the disbursements started.

“But the number of the victims swelled to 5.73 lakh and this amount was distributed among them. So, each victim got one-fifth of the compensation,” he added.

“The failure on the part of the Supreme Court to hear the long-pending curative petition against the unjust settlement of 1989, has had an adverse impact on the interests of the gas victims,” he said in a media statement.

The curative petition (civil), which was filed by the Union of India on December 3, 2010 to challenge the unjust settlement of 1989 and to seek additional sum of at least another Rs 7,724 crore as compensation was last listed before the Constitution Bench of the Court on January 29 last year, he said.

“However, the hearing was postponed to February 11 last year. Sadly, the matter was never listed on that date or ever since then,” he said.

Failure to dispose of the curative petition has also meant the indefinite postponement of the hearing of the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed on March 17, 2010 by eight members of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) and BGPSSS, he said.

In the SLP, the two NGOs have sought enhancement of settlement sum by a factor of five in terms of the magnitude of the disaster as assessed by the claim courts and in terms of the gravity of injuries suffered by the gas victims on the basis of their medical records, Jayaprakash said.

Failure to dispose of the pending curative petition and the SLP for over a decade has effectively denied the gas-victims several thousands of crores of additional compensation that they are legitimately entitled to, he added.

In the curative petition, the Centre has sought Rs 7,724 crore as additional funds from successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation, now owned by Dow Chemicals, for giving compensation to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Centre, in its plea, is seeking a direction to Union Carbide and other firms for Rs 7,722 crore additional amount over and above the earlier settlement amount of USD 470 million in 1989 for paying compensation to the gas tragedy victims.

On June 7, 2010, a local court had convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years of imprisonment in connection with the incident. The then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court had declared him an absconder. He died in the US in 2014. 



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5 Contacts Of Bengaluru Omicron Patient Test Positive For Covid, Isolated – dot newz

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Bengaluru:

Five contacts of an Omicron patient have turned out to be Covid positive, Karnataka announced today, shortly after the Union health ministry said the first patients of the new Covid variant have been found in the state. The patients have been isolated and their samples have been sent for genome testing, Karnataka said amid concern over the highly infectious strain that has set off global alarm.

One of the two initial patients is a 46-year-old health worker from Bengaluru, who developed symptoms of fever and body ache on November 21.

He tested positive the following day and was admitted to hospital; his sample was sent for genome sequencing on the same day.  But three days later he was discharged.

After extensive contact tracing, the Karnataka government said he had 13 direct contacts and more than 250 secondary contacts.

The other confirmed Omicron patient is a 66-year-old South African national who came to India with a negative Covid report.

The man, who received both vaccine doses, tested positive on arrival and was asymptomatic, following which he was told to self-isolate.

A week later, with a negative Covid report from a private lab, he flew to Dubai. Samples from his 24 primary and 240 secondary contacts have returned negative test results.



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