JAMNAGAR: Gujarat on Saturday reported its first case of Omicron variant of Covid-19 after a man who had returned to Jamnagar from Zimbabwe tested positive for the infection, state health department said. The first cases of Omicron variant in India were confirmed in two individuals in Karnataka two days ago. Out of the two cases, one 66-year old is a South African national who left the country after testing negative, while the other is a doctor aged 46, with no travel history. Five contacts of the doctor have also tested positive and their samples have been sent for genomic sequencing. (With inputs from agencies)
RAJKOT/SURAT/VADODARA: A 72-year-old man from Jamnagar, who recently returned from Zimbabwe, has tested positive of Covid-19, Jamnagar health officials said on Thursday. He is currently being treated at the state-run GG Hospital. According to Jamnagar municipal commissioner, Vijay Kharadi, three people of Indian origin had returned to Jamnagar from Zimbabwe last week. Of them, one showed symptoms like fever and coughing after which he tested positive. The test reports of the other two persons are pending. Samples for genome sequencing have been sent to verify the variant. Recently, eight members of a Jamnagar family had tested positive of Covid after two of their family members returned from a marriage function from Junagadh in a state transport vehicle. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is monitoring the health of 147 travellers from âat riskâ countries, who are at present in home quarantine for a week. In all, 924 travellers had come to Vadodara city from abroad. The test results available till Thursday had not revealed any positive cases. VMC's medical officer (health) Dr Devesh Patel said that the travellers from the list of âat riskâ countries will have to undergo the test after the seven-day isolation gets over. On Thursday seven new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the city. Meanwhile, in Surat, as many as 138 passengers, who have returned from foreign countries, have been put under home quarantine according to the guidelines issued by the state government. None of the international returnees have so far tested positive for Covid-19, officials said. âThose who have returned from abroad are being monitored by our teams,â said a health official in Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC). On Thursday, six new Covid-19 cases were reported in Surat city while one person tested positive in Kamrej of the district. One new case was also reported from Valsad while eight are under home quarantine. âAt present, we are not taking any special measures at the entry point of the state. We receive a list of individuals who have returned from abroad and currently eight persons are under home quarantine in the district,â said a health official in Valsad.
A 30-year-old NRI woman, who landed at Ahmedabad International Airport from London on Friday night, has tested positive for Covid-19.As many as 11 nations, including the United Kingdom, have been categorised as ‘at-risk’ countries by the Central government. As per UK’s Health Security Agency, 104 cases of the Omicron variant have been recorded in England.Ahmedabad chief district health officer Satish Parmar said that of the 222 passengers on the flight, the 30-year-old woman, who holds a US passport, was the only one to test positive for the virus. The sample has been sent to Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) for genome sequencing to ascertain the specific strain.“The woman had tested positive some 10-12 days ago at UK and had tested negative on December 1. Upon arrival at Ahmedabad, she tested positive again,” Parmar added.The fully vaccinated woman is asymptomatic, Parmar said, while adding that she has been isolated and admitted at a private hospital in Karamsad in Anand.
Following the Central government advisory Thursday recommending mandatory testing of all international passengers arriving from countries that have reported Omicron (B.1.1.59), the new Covid-19 variant, the Gujarat health department has released an ‘at risk’ list of 12 countries and regions.The samples of Covid-19 positive passengers arriving from the countries/regions on the list would be sent for whole-genome sequencing.The list includes the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. While most of these countries were part of the ‘at risk’ list of the Central health ministry even on October 20, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel were added by the state government-issued circulars dated November 26 and 27.Both the circulars, issued by Additional Director of Health Department Nilam Patel, mandates RTPCR testing of passengers from the 12 countries/regions upon their arrival in Gujarat.On Saturday, the UK Health Security Agency reported two cases of the Omicron variant, while one was reported in Israel. According to an Ahmedabad airport official, while there are no direct flights from South Africa to the city, the new state government guidelines do not change much as international travellers are required to furnish a negative RTPCR report upon arrival.The WHO, in its statement Friday, had noted that “several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can, therefore, be used as a marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation.”However, a health official of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) added they would not be using S gene target failure as a marker and will only be relying on whole-genome sequencing results to determine whether a positive case involves the Omicron variant or not, with sequencing results taking anywhere between one week to 15 days.The new rule also becomes significant in light of the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat programme, scheduled for January 2022.Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) director Chaitanya Joshi said the lab has not seen any increase in the number of samples being sent for whole-genome sequencing, which otherwise ranges between five to 20 a day. Samples from the state are sent to GBRC and NIV Pune for whole-genome sequencing.Gujarat reported 28 new cases of Covid-19, including 10 from the AMC jurisdiction, Saturday.
MADURAI: The Madras high court Friday commuted the death sentence awarded to a man to 30 years of imprisonment in a case where the man had sexually assaulted and caused the death of a 17-year-old mentally challenged boyin Pudukottai district in 2019. The convict, hailing from Gujarat was working as a daily wage labourer in a stone crushing unit. In December 2019, he kidnapped the victim and sexually assaulted him. The boy who sustained severe injuries was admitted to the Pudukottai Government Medical College Hospital where he died 19 days later due to septicemia. Police booked the man under sections of IPC and Pocso Act and arrested him. In 2021, the Pudukottai district mahila court convicted and awarded death penalty to the man. The case was referred to the HC Madurai bench for confirmation of sentence while the accused also preferred an appeal challenging the conviction and sentence. A division bench of justices S Vaidyanathan and G Jayachandran said that the accusedâs intention to cause the said bodily injuries was not to cause death, but to satisfy his lust. The prosecution was able to establish that the death was caused due to the injury, but failed to prove that it was intended by the accused. Hence, the judges held that the death of the victim falls under the definition of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, since the death is caused without any intention to cause death. The judges said that the prosecution has proved beyond doubt that the victim was subjected to aggravated penetrative sexual assault by causing hurt, which in turn, has caused his death. Hence, the judges commuted the death sentence to 20 years rigorous imprisonment for offences under Pocso Act. The court also modified the life sentence under Section 302 of IPC to 10 years imprisonment under Section 304 (ii) of IPC while confirming the seven years sentence for offence under Section 363 (kidnapping) of IPC. The judges said that the sentences for offences under IPC sections shall run concurrently. However, the sentences for offences under Pocso Act and IPC shall run consecutively which is 30 years (20+10).
RAJKOT: Five people including two women were booked in Jamnagar in connection with the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted several times in the last one year. Those booked were Akram Juneja, Sunil Rathod and Kisanand Raziya Khira and Lata Patil. The women approached her with a promise of quick money. They then contacted the three men. Akram was also the girlâs neighbour while Rathod had promised to marry her. The women even provided the men a room where they took turns to rape the girl. (The victim's identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)
Statutory body of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority under the aegis of Union Ministry of Agriculture Friday revoked the registration of a potato variety by Pepsico India Holdings (PIH), which had slapped suits against several farmers in Gujarat for illegally growing, producing and selling the variety “without permission of PIH”.The civil and infringement suits by PIH against farmers from north Gujarat in 2018 and 2019 had sought damages between 20 lakh to Rs 1.05 crore per farmer. Following uproar from the farming community, supported by farmers’ rights activists, the state government was compelled to step in, assuring the farmers of the state’s support, at the time of the lawsuits. While the suits against at least nine farmers in Aravalli and Sabarkantha were eventually withdrawn by PIH, an application seeking revocation of the registration of the potato variety was filed before the statutory authority by Kavitha Kuruganti from Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), a nation-wide network of more than 400 organisations, in June 2019.Potato plant variety FL-2027 (commercial name FC-5) was registered by PIH in India and the registration granted in February 2016, was valid until January 2031 under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001.Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority while revoking the registration, also rebuked the Registrar under the PPV&FR Act, responsible for being the authority issuing registration certificates, for causing “hardship to farmers and others” despite being the “protector of farmers’ rights” by violating the rules. The body further added that the need for the revocation application would not have arisen had the Registrar exercised his power “to accept documentation related to the application of registration only after being fully satisfied with the information provided,” instead of accepting “incomplete or obviously incorrect documents.”The revocation was on multiple grounds as canvassed by Kuruganthi, including the grant of certificate of registration based on incorrect information furnished by PIH, certificate granted to a person not eligible for protection and that the breeder (PIH) did not provide the Registrar with necessary documents required under the Act.“This is totally unacceptable. The Registrar is hereby directed to take serious note of it and henceforth such instances should not be repeated in the future by the Registry..I direct the Registrar to develop a standardised sheet for evaluation of application for registration of plant varieties in accordance with Act, Rules and Regulations…,” the order by chairperson of the statutory body KV Prabhu notes. K V Prabhu’s order concludes, “The Registry and the Authority have many lessons to take from this matter as it has unfolded above, so that neither the plant breeders who legitimately deserve to have their rights to be exercised on the varieties bred by them by registering those by the Authority nor the user-farmers who in turn, equally deserve to get their due farmers’ rights protected so that their livelihoods are not put to jeopardy needlessly…”
GANDHINAGAR: Former MP and MLA Jagdish Thakor has been appointed the new president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee by party president Sonia Gandhi. Thakor will shoulder the responsibility of leading the state Congress unit into next yearâs assembly elections in the state, where the Congress is seeking to wrest power from the BJP. Congress workers gathered at the airport to welcome Jagdish ThakorâThe Congress president has appointed Jagdish Thakor as the president, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, with immediate effect,â an official statement from the party said on Friday. âThe party appreciates the contributions of outgoing PCC president, Amit Chavda,â AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said in the statement. Thakor emerged as a consensus candidate for the post of president of the GPCC. An OBC leader, Thakor, who has good oratory skills, will have to take along all factions in the state unit while taking on the well-organized BJP which has been in power in the state from 1998. Thakor was an MP from Patan between 2009 and 2014 before losing in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Earlier, he was elected as MLA from Dehgam in 2002 and 2007. âThakor is a good orator and firebrand leader, connected to the grassroots. He will lead the party in the assembly elections successfully,â state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said. Congress leaders Bharatsinh Solanki, Arjun Modhwadia and Hardik Patel congratulated Thakor after his name was announced. They expressed hope that Congress will defeat the BJP under his leadership in the 2022 elections. Previous GPCC president Amit Chavda and leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani resigned in March following the partyâs drubbing in local body polls, but had been asked to continue till replacements were found.
The 64-year-old Jagdish Thakor, a former Member of Parliament and senior Congress leader was appointed as the president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) on Friday, by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.The post of GPCC president has been lying vacant since March this year after Amit Chavda resigned from the post in the wake of Congress’ poor performance in the Gujarat local body polls in 2021.Congress Working president Hardik Patel welcoming the decision, told The Indian Express, “the appointment is 10 years late. The party should have used his potential long back”.Thakor is a native of Kankrej taluka in Banaskantha and resides in Naroda of Ahmedabad with his family. A Class 10 pass, Thakor began his political career as a student leader in 1973, and won his first Assembly election in 2002, a difficult year for the Congress when BJP, under the leadership of then Chief Minister Narendra Modi won its highest number of seats on account of the Hindutva wave in the elections held in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning and the riots that followed.
GANDHINAGAR: Jagdish Thakor, the former Lok Sabha MP and MLA, who is presently vice-president of the Gujarat Congress, has reportedly been choasen by the party leadership to be the next Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president. The party leadership has also reportedly finalised the name of five-time Pavi Jetpur MLA Sukhram Rathwa as the next leader of opposition (LOP) in the Gujarat assembly. He will replace Paresh Dhanani. Both Chavda and Dhanani resigned after the Congressâdrubbing in the local elections held earlier this year, where the BJP won an overwhelming majority of district panchayats, taluka panchayats and municipalities. The BJP also won all the municipal corporations for which elections were held. While Thakor belongs to the OBC Thakor community, Rathwa is from the tribal community. Jagdish Thakor earlier served as the MP from Patan and MLA from Dehgam. He had won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from the Patan Lok Sabha seat, but was not given the ticket by the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Thakor is a good orator. Despite being a very senior MLA, Rathwa is a lowprofile tribal leader. It appears that the Congress has finalized Rathwaâs name in a bid to attract the tribal community as the state goes to a crucial assembly elections next year. Earlier, it was expected that Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel would be considered for the top party post in the state. However, the Congress has reportedly decided to choose senior and experienced leaders to lead the party into next yearâs assembly election. After the buzz began of the Congress choosing Thakor and Rathwa as the new leaders to lead the party in 2022, a discussion began within political circles that the Congress is shifting its focus from wooing Patidars to concentrating on its traditional votebank of OBC, SC and ST voters. A senior BJP leader commented, âCongress is going back to its old KHAM â Kshatriya, Harijan (SC), Adivasi and Muslim â formula. This will help the BJP in once again attracting our traditional Patidar voters, a section of which had shifted to the Congress after the 2015 Patidar reservation agitation.â
Gandhinagar: Jagdish Thakor, the former Lok Sabha MP and MLA, who is presently vice-president of the Gujarat Congress, has reportedly been choasen by the party leadership to be the next Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president. The party leadership has also reportedly finalised the name of five-time Pavi Jetpur MLA Sukhram Rathwa as the next leader of opposition (LOP) in the Gujarat assembly. He will replace Paresh Dhanani. Both Chavda and Dhanani resigned after the Congress’drubbing in the local elections held earlier this year, where the BJP won an overwhelming majority of district panchayats, taluka panchayats and municipalities. The BJP also won all the municipal corporations for which elections were held. While Thakor belongs to the OBC Thakor community, Rathwa is from the tribal community. Thakor earlier served as the MP from Patan and MLA from Dehgam. He had won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from the Patan Lok Sabha seat, but was not given the ticket by the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Thakor is a good orator. Despite being a very senior MLA, Rathwa is a low-profile tribal leader. It appears that the Congress has finalized Rathwa’s name in a bid to attract the tribal community as the state goes to a crucial assembly elections next year. Earlier, it was expected that Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel would be considered for the top party post in the state. However, the Congress has reportedly decided to choose senior and experienced leaders to lead the party into next year’s assembly election. After the buzz began of the Congress choosing Thakor and Rathwa as the new leaders to lead the party in 2022, a discussion began within political circles that the Congress is shifting its focus from wooing Patidars to concentrating on its traditional votebank of OBC, SC and ST voters. A senior BJP leader commented, “Congress is going back to its old KHAM — Kshatriya, Harijan (SC), Adivasi and Muslim — formula. This will help the BJP in once again attracting our traditional Patidar voters, a section of which had shifted to the Congress after the 2015 Patidar reservation agitation.”
Around nine months since the party’s two top positions in the state went vacant, the Congress High Command on Thursday decided to appoint former MP and OBC community leader from North Gujarat, Jagdish Thakor, as the president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) and MLA Sukhram Rathva as the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in the state Assembly, party sources told The Indian Express. The decision — official announcement of which is likely to be made Friday — comes ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections in Gujarat. Thakor will succeed Amit Chavda, who is an MLA from OBC strongman JagdishThakor is new GPCC chief, MLA Rathva LOP Anklav in central Gujarat, while Rathva, a tribal leader who is an MLA from Chhota Udepur, will occupy the position held by Paresh Dhanani. The posts of GPCC president and Leader of Opposition in the state had been lying vacant since March after Chavda and Dhanani resigned following the party’s dismal performance in the local body elections in February. According to party sources, Thakor and Rathva met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party’s state incharge Raghu Sharma in New Delhi on Thursday for a discussion after which their nomination for the top posts was confirmed.Thakor, 64, is a native of Kankrej in Banaskantha and lives in Ahmedabad. He won from Patan constituency in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections by securing over 2.8 lakh votes. He had also served as a two-term MLA from Dahegam constituency. Thakor resigned from all posts in the Gujarat Congress in 2016, stating that he will continue to be a “worker” in the party. Rathva, 66, had won from the Jetpur constituency in the 2017 Assembly polls by securing over 60,000 votes. As reported by The Indian Express, Thakor was among the three Gujarat Congress leaders whose names were discussed for the post of GPCC president when Rahul had invited 23 senior party leaders from the state to New Delhi for an open discussion amid reports of factionalism within the party.“Those attending the meeting with Rahul Gandhi had pushed for experienced leaders in Gujarat in which Thakor’s name came up. Even after defeating a BJP candidate in 2009 polls, he sacrificed his seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls for another Congress candidate,” said a senior Congress leader.
AHMEDABAD: To bring down pollution levels in the Sabarmati, the Gujarat high court on Friday focused on industrial effluent discharge and ordered for efficient functioning of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs), warning that if the situation does not improve in three months, it would order the closure of all seven CETPs. During a hearing on a suo motu PIL seeking proper functioning of sewage treatment plants (STPs) so that untreated water is not released into the river, the bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice V D Nanavati insisted on proper functioning of CETPs, which are being operated by private companies and monitored by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB). When Rohit Prajapati, an environment activist who is part of the HC-constituted joint task force, expressed concerns about the functioning of CETPs except the one at Narol, the judges said, âIf nothing happens in next three months, we will order the closure of all seven CETPs whatever may be the ultimate outcome it. That will be our order. We are going to watch what steps are taken against the companies running theses CETPs. Our main goal is to see that these CETPs and 14 STPs start functioning well.â The court ordered GPCB to file an affidavit on âwhat have you done so far with these CETPs? What steps taken to ensure that they function well? What amount of bank security you have taken from them and what is your future action plan?â The court sought answers by next Tuesday and said it would see what further directions need to be issued. The HC pulled up GPCB for its lethargic action and lack of monitoring of the CETPs, which âappear dead facilitiesâ. It hauled up a GPCB official for creation of an âirreversible situationâ, who is to be questioned about the monitoring of CETPs and to know the plan to improve the situation. The GPCB and AMC submitted that the CETPs are in bad shape and overhauling of the plants is required. The judges also told GPCB that if the companies do not improve the condition of the CETPs, the court may ask GPCB to take over management of the plants. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) also told the court that for last two years it had been raising the the bad condition of CETPs with GPCB. It also urged the court to direct GPCB to utilize its 45 personnel, who were deployed along with the board to crack down on industrial units outside AMC limits. The court told GPCB counsel Devang Vyas, âWe are doomed Mr Vyas. Only some divine power can save the situation. We donât have divine power, but we have the power of the pen. We will not give up.â
AHMEDABAD: A total of 1,870 families of Covid patients, who died during treatment, have received the ex gratia amount of Rs 50,000 each, claimed the Ahmedabad collector office on Friday. In all, about 1,945 applications have been received by the authorities as the search for families and collection of documents, including their bank details, is on. According to the collectorâs office, the official death toll of Ahmedabad district including city areas is 3,412. District collector Sandip Sagale said that 1,870 families have been provided the amount according to government guidelines. On Friday, citizens queued up at Civil Hospital to get the Covid death certificate that needs to be attached with the form to get ex-gratia amount. The hospital authorities said they have, so far, received 1,431 applications and around 1,000 have already been processed. Dr Rakesh Joshi, medical superintendent, said that the process is primarily to issue the certificates in case where the relatives already have death slip or file for Covid treatment. âNot all patients in 1200-bed hospital were infected with Covid,â he said. Mortality at the government-run hospitals has remained a touchy subject for the authorities who have not revealed the hospital-wise deaths during the pandemic. Experts believe that the exercise to provide compensation may reveal the death toll to be higher than the official number declared. In crematoriums across Gujarat, the constantly smouldering pyres were testimony to fatalities much higher than the state government's official Covid-19 death toll. However, bulletins released by municipal corporations of Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, and Rajkot claimed there were only around 25 Covid deaths daily during the second wave.
AHMEDABAD: After the daily new Covid case count reached 54 on November 17, Gujarat on Thursday, a fortnight later, again hit 50 new cases registered in 24 hours. With 24 patients discharged, the number of active cases rose by 26, to reach 318. The increase in cases coincided with an increase in daily testing. On Wednesday, the state found 45 cases from 70,048 tests, whereas on Thursday, 50 cases were found from 70,045 cases, for a test positivity rate of 0.07%, or seven cases per 10,000 tests conducted. The new cases included 15 from Ahmedabad city, six each from Surat city and Vadodara, four each from Vadodara city and Rajkot, three from Kutch, two from Bhavnagar city, and one each from Gandhinagar city, Jamnagar city, Rajkot city, Gir Somnath, Navsari, Surat, Tapi and Valsad districts. Cities accounted for 30 or 60% of the day's new cases. In several major districts, city areas reported fewer cases than rural areas. Ahmedabad accounted for 107 active cases, followed by 55 in Vadodara, 25 in Surat, and 20 in Jamnagar. Gujarat in 24 hours vaccinated 4.21 lakh persons, taking the total number of doses administered to 8.19 crore. With the first Omicron cases reported in Gujarat, the state administration has upped the ante. "We are following the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the Government of India (GOI) for screening and genome sequencing of cases. In the days to come, there will certainly be stringent checking of all incoming passengers at airports, railway stations, bus depots and state check points. We also appeal to citizens to please approach doctors if symptoms associated with Covid-19 are noticed," said a senior health department official.
AHMEDABAD: The district collector office has so far disbursed the Covid death aid of Rs 50,000 to 1,438 families in the past five days. The similar number of applications are already under process, said authorities. In all, Ahmedabad city has 3,319 recorded deaths and district 93. Sandip Sagale, Ahmedabad collector, said that the process is expedited, and they are working on the details collected by teams.
AHMEDABAD: With 27 new Covid-19 positive cases and discharge of 49 patients in 24 hours, Gujarat reduced active cases by 22 in a day, bringing the number down to 262. The number has got reduced by 69 from November 19 to 29, reveals the analysis. Ahmedabad recorded the highest reduction in 10 days from 136 active cases to 91 during the period. The new cases included 6 from Vadodara city, 5 each from Ahmedabad city and Bharuch, 4 from Surat city, 3 from Kutch, and 1 each from Jamnagar and Bhavnagar cities, Panchmahal and Surat districts. Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara cities each recorded discharge of 10 patients. The three districts account for 62% of the stateâs total active cases.
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat on the second consecutive day recorded 40 or more Covid cases. From 27 on Monday, the state recorded 67% spike in cases in just two days as 45 new positive cases were recorded in past 24 hours. Out of the total, only 62% cases were recorded from municipal corporation areas, indicating an increase in spread in non-urban areas of the state. In the past few days, over 70% daily cases were reported from urban areas. The new positive cases include 11 from Ahmedabad city, 7 from Bharuch, 5 from Vadodara city, 4 each from Surat and Gandhinagar cities, 3 from Kutch, 2 each from Rajkot city, Navsari, Valsad, as well as 1 each from Bhavnagar and Jamnagar cities, Anand, Bhavnagar and Kheda. Anand district recorded the death of an active patient, taking the stateâs Covid death toll to 10,093. Ahmedabad city recorded the second consecutive day of 10 or more cases. A total of 8.14 crore people have been vaccinated so far.
Ahmedabad: Since start of the Covid-19 in the beginning of 2020, the virus has mutated multiple times periodically. While the dominant variants got changed from Alpha to Delta globally, the new variant B.1.1.529 named Omicron from the Greek alphabet is now the variant of concern (VOC) by the World Health Organization (WHO). If one looks at the history of variants in Gujarat, the second wave of the pandemic coincided with the rise of Delta variant (B.617.2). According to analysis by the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), April and May witnessed complete dominance of the variant with over 80% of cases testing positive for Delta variant and its sub-categories. âAfter the end of the second wave, Delta remained dominant strain for the state with other variants accounting for about 10-15% of the cases. Out of the total samples sequenced completely, Delta accounts for 48% or nearly half of the total variants during the entire pandemic even when it was first reported in end of March this year,â said an expert. Dr Urvesh Shah, professor and head of microbiology at GCS, said that mutation of Covid-19 depends on several factors including local conditions and host. âItâs widely believed that the Omicron variant is result of low vaccination in African countries as the virus got a chance to spread for a longer time,â he said. According to GBRC data, after 1,407 sequencing of Delta, B.1.36 is reported 311 times, B.1 236 times, B.1.113 123 times and B.617.1 95 times. The alpha variant (B.1.1.7) is found in 81 sequencing from out of 2,932 sequences.
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat in 24 hours recorded 45 new Covid-19 positive cases, reporting a dip of 10% compared to 50 cases on Thursday. Out of 45, 31 or 69% of the cases were recorded from municipal corporation areas. With discharge of 45 persons, the stateâs active cases remained at 318. The new positive cases included 15 from Ahmedabad city, 6 from Surat city, 5 from Vadodara city, 3 each from Anand and Vadodara, 2 each from Rajkot city, Navsari and Valsad, and 1 each from Bhavnagar city, Gandhinagar city, Jamnagar city, Kheda, Mehsana, Porbandar and Surat districts. The number of patients on ventilator increased to 8 in Gujarat. Out of 33, 13 districts have zero active cases. Gujarat in 24 hours recorded vaccination of 3.9 lakh, taking the total to 8.22 crore. For the past four days, the state has been recording 40 or more cases, a marked rise from average 30 cases in November. Experts said that the spike is primarily due to increase in testing across the state and at major cities.
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat on Tuesday reported a major increase in new Covid-19 cases â from 27 on Monday to 40 on Tuesday, the highest increase in over a fortnight. At 10 cases, Ahmedabad city accounted for 25% of the stateâs daily cases, whereas 31 or 77.5% of cases were from the six municipal corporations. The new cases included 10 from Ahmedabad city, seven each from Vadodara and Jamnagar cities, four from Surat city, three from Navsari, two each from Bhavnagar city and Kutch, and one each from Gandhinagar city, Anand, Gir Somnath, Vadodara and Valsad. With the discharge of 27 patients, active cases rose by 13 to 275.
The Central government affidavit before the Supreme Court, filed through joint secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Sanjeev Kumar Jindal, on Covid-19 ex gratia by states shows that Andhra Pradesh is the only state that has received double the number of claims at 28,468 forms, than the number of dead officially recorded at 14,431.During the hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court expressed concern at the low number of claims across most states and Union Territories (UTs).In Gujarat, where the state government said that 10,092 Covid-19 deaths were recorded, 1,250 claims were received and Rs 1.74 crore was disbursed in 347 cases and another 925 was sanctioned. The Congress has been alleging that three lakh people died of Covid19 in Gujarat. The state government submitted that the official death figure “may change” as per the September 3 guideline of MOHFW “definition of death is broadened”. Rajasthan, too, put out a similar disclaimer of its official deaths (8,955) changing owing to “broadened” definition of death.States such as Tripura have disbursed ex gratia of Rs 3 lakh each to the kin of 128 victims till December 31, 2020, amounting to Rs 3.84 crore, while Haryana said it had disbursed Rs 15.58 crore.Tripura, like Gujarat, had earlier said that henceforth it would pay Rs 50,000 in each death case “after inquiry” (which now stands revised, doing away with scrutiny). The state reported 817 Covid-19 deaths as on November 25. Telangana and Tamil Nadu, too, had a checks mechanism for new claims. Telangana stated that it would process the claim after examination by a district level authority, while Tamil Nadu entrusted its district level committee to scrutinise the petitions.Taking note of the high number of claimants in AP, the Supreme Court recorded in its order on Monday, “It may be because of our earlier order that a claimant can make application for compensation in case the RT-PCR report of the deceased was positive and he died within a period of 30 days, irrespective of the cause mentioned in the death certificate. The number of claimants may increase in other states as well.”Delhi was the only jurisdiction to admit that while it had officially recorded 25,095 deaths as Covid deaths as of November 23, another 5,922 deaths would qualify as COvid deaths under the expanded definition as per Ministry of Health and Welfare issued guidelines and Supreme Court’s order on ex gratia.The UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, where four Covid deaths were recorded officially, has disbursed the ex gratia to the kin of all four. The UTs submitted that they have a grievance redressal committee at the district level.Haryana’s scheme has an assistance of Rs 2 lakh provided to BPL families where the deceased was aged between 18 and 50 years and under the different ex gratia schemes, Haryana government has disbursed more than Rs 15.58 crore to the kin of Covid-deceased so far. Assam, too, submitted that it has three schemes existing as relief to next of kin of Covid-19 deceased, including one-time financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh to each widow of Covid-19 deceased.West Bengal was the only state that stated that of 19,407 official Covid deaths, three were inhabitants of other states, although it was not specified if their kin would be eligible for claiming the ex gratia amount from West Bengal.Even as the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to establish an online portal for filing of claims for ease of the claimant, states such as Haryana submitted that an online portal saralharyana.gov.in has been established for filing claims as well as a set-up of a helpline number for assistance in submitting a claim online.Maharashtra submitted that it has initiated the development of a web-based application for filing of claims through its relief and rehabilitation department. Odisha too has a similar mechanism in place where a claimant can file for ex gratia at caps.odisha.gov.in.Kerala, where an online portal has been established, has also made “arrangements” for issuing Covid death certificate as stipulated by ICMR “to facilitate the disbursement of ex gratia through another portal” and the Kerala government states that “both these portals are integrated for speedy verification of the claim.” Kerala has recorded 38,737 Covid deaths officially as of November 26.
GANDHINAGAR: After the Supreme Court reprimanded the Gujarat chief minister and state administration over dilly-dallying in paying compensation to families of Covid-19 victims, the state government decided to release ex gratia financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to more than 10,000 families who have lost a family member to Covid-19. A key source in the state health and family welfare department said, âDue to a misunderstanding, the Supreme Court got the wrong impression about the compensation process for families of Covid-19 victims. However, after the Supreme Court directions, the state government has decided release compensation to the families of over 10,000 victims whose medical records are available with the government.â Officials said the government will also provide financial assistance to those who died within a month of their RT-PCR report showing Covid-19 positive. âThere might be cases where such persons got themselves treated at private hospitals and records of such deaths may not be available with the government. âThe state government will provide compensation to all those who died within a month of being found to have Covid-19 through an RT-PCR test or even if a registered doctor certified the death as being due to Covid-19,â said a source. The Supreme Court raised serious concerns and commented that the chief minister and state administration may not be taking its directions seriously. A bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna had on November 18 observed that the constitution of the scrutiny committee appeared to be an attempt to overreach directions passed by the apex court to give compensation to the families of the Covid-19 victims in the state. The apex court also reprimanded top officials of the state health and family welfare department for their poorly drafted submission to the court.
The Gujarat government has dropped the scrutiny process for Covid-19 ex gratia compensation after the Supreme Court’s rap on the knuckle last week. It has also taken steps to include deaths by suicide within 30 days of testing positive for Covid as Covid deaths and provide compensation. Gujarat notified the changes after the apex court last week criticised the state’s constitution of the Covid-19 Death Ascertaining Committee (CDAC) via a government resolution dated October 29. The state government amended the resolution a day ahead of the hearing scheduled for Monday.A resolution was also passed by the state’s revenue department on November 20 stating the payment of the ex gratia amount would be made from the State Disaster Relief Fund. Annexed to the resolution was also a sample application form, revised on November 21, to incorporate the health department’s amended resolution conditions.The new resolution, issued by the Gujarat health department, mentions four circumstances under which the next of kin of those deceased need not approach CDAC for the compensation. Instead, they could “directly apply to the district disaster management authority/ district administration for access to Covid-19 death-related assistance”.Apart from considering Covid-19 deaths specified on Form 4 (filled for medical death certification in case of death at an institutional set-up) or Form 4A (filled for medical death certification in case of death at a non-institutional set-up), the amended resolution also expands the other scenarios that would be considered Covid deaths and would not require any scrutiny.These include cases of death that occured in the hospital or outside, while testing positive for the coronavirus, either through a positive RT-PCR test, rapid antigen test (RAT) or any other molecular test or clinically determined through investigations at a hospital or in-patient facility by a treating physician. A positive case, while admitted in the hospital/in-patient facility and who continues as the same admission beyond 30 days and dies subsequently, shall also be treated as a Covid death. If a Covid positive patient dies by “suicide within 30 days of being tested positive”, the next of kin of the deceased would be eligible for financial assistance, the notification says.It clarifies that in the above-mentioned three scenarios, if the specified provisions and conditions are being fulfilled, it would be considered “death by Covid-19” even if the cause is not written as Covid-19 in the medical certificate.In cases where the Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCD) form does not clearly state the cause of death as due to Covid-19 and fulfills the above-mentioned criteria, the Covid test report and the death certificate issued by the sub-registrar “shall have to be annexed while filing an application for assistance before the district disaster management authority/district administrative unit,” the amended resolution states.It is only in cases other than those mentioned, the next of kin of the deceased will have to apply to the committee (the concerned jurisdictional CDAC) appointed as per the October 29 resolution to get the Covid-19 death certificate. “In case, the family members of the deceased face any difficulty they may approach the committee (CDAC) constituted as per the resolution dated 29/10/2021. This committee shall also act as a grievance redressal committee,” the amended resolution states.The notification comes in the wake of the SC order, dated November 18, that took note of Gujarat’s constitution of CDACs. “It appears that an attempt has been made to overreach the directions issued by this court,” the apex court stated.The court clarified that it had directed to constitute a grievance redressal committee in case the compensation is not paid and the family members are aggrieved and/or they are aggrieved with respect to the death certificate issued. “There was no direction at all for the purpose of constituting a scrutiny committee for the purpose of issuing a certificate for getting the compensation. Our direction was very clear that the amount of compensation to be paid on production of RT-PCR certificate and the death certificate showing that the death has occurred within 30 days… It was made clear that even in a case where the cause is not shown as death due to Covid the death certificate but if found that the deceased was declared Covid-19 positive and he has died within 30 days, automatically, his/her family members are entitled to the compensation without any further conditions… Still, such a notification has been issued without the application of mind…,” the court said. Following the SC’s observations, the state government modified its earlier resolution, and in an affidavit dated November 21, submitted by Additional Chief Secretary of Gujarat health department, Manoj Aggarwal before the SC, it was stated that the state did not intend to “overreach” the court’s directions. It added that the eligibility criteria for compensation have been simplified in the modified GR. “There is no requirement of appearing before any scrutiny committee, in cases where a person has died within 30 days of being declared as Covid-positive or if the Covid patient has passed away during or within 30 days of receiving hospital treatment/facility,” it clarified.
VADODARA: Former chairman and managing director (CMD) of Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (IPCL), Hasmukh Shah, died on Friday in Karamsad due to post-Covid complications. Shah, 87, was also a former joint secretary in three consecutive Prime Minister Offices (PMO). Shah is believed to have contacted Covid during a recent visit abroad. He was admitted to a hospital in Karamsad for treatment and battling other health complications too. Shahâs daughter Alpana Parida said that he had turned Covid-free over the last few days. âBut a lot of other complications had taken place,â she said. Shah was cremated in Vadodara later in the day. Shah had studied in Bhavnagar and later started teaching at Gujarat University. He later went on to become the joint secretary in the PMO when Morarji Desai, Chaudhary Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi were in office. During his tenure as the CMD of IPCL before its disinvestment, he ensured a joint venture between General Electric and IPCL for development of engineering plastics. It was during Shahâs tenure that Chemical Insight of the UK rated IPCL as the best petrochemical producing company globally. After retirement, Shah remained active and set up several institutions and worked with others. He was the founder of Gujarat Ecology Commission, Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology, Gujarat Ecology Society, Gujarat Nature Conservation Society and founder chairman of the Heritage Trust. As the founder trustee of Darshak Itihas Nidhi (DIN), he organized several multi-disciplinary international conferences on the maritime history of Gujarat and sponsored scholarship and publications on the subject. He was also on the board of National Institute of Design (NID), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Institute of Rural Management (IRMA), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), MS University, Surendranagar Education Society, Centre for Fuel Research, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Gujarat Industrial Research and Development Agency (GIDR) and Lok Bharati. He was also on the board as trustee or chairman of several NGOs and foundations. He was witness to several historical events â from being in the Prime Ministerâs plane that crashed in Jorhat in 1978 to the Sydney bombing of the Commonwealth Heads meeting (CHOGM), The Tiananenmen Square protests and many other events. He has captured these in his memoirs âDithu Maiâ¦â in Gujarati. The English edition âFrom the Margins of Historyâ will be released shortly. Shah is survived by his wife Nila, son Amlan and Parida.
AHMEDABAD: Mahesh Trivedi alias Batuk Morari, a resident of Vav in Banaskantha, who had shot a video of demanding Rs 1 crore from Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel or be ready for consequences has been charged with sedition. The video had gone viral on social media after which Banaskantha police tracked him in Rajasthan.
WITH AN aim to crack down on power theft and thereby reduce aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, the Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL) has checked more than 1.43 lakh power connections and detected power theft worth Rs 35.08 crore crore over the past two months.Vigilance squads of the Rajkot-headquartered PGVCL intensified their checking drive from October onward and continued it through November, company officials said. According to data accessed by The Indian Express, the company checked a total of 91,219 power connections in October and detected power theft worth Rs 19.85 crore in 11,640 of them, the data show.Similarly, vigilance squads checked total 51,921 power connections between November 1 and November 25 and detected 6,308 cases of power theft. The company assessed the power theft to the tune of Rs 15.23 crore by the 6,308 customers. PGVCL, the state government-owned company which distributes power in 12 districts of Saurashtra-Kutch regions as well some areas of north Gujarat region, provides total 56.11 lakh power connections. Of them, 37.64 lakh (67 per cent) are residential power connections, 10.70 lakh (19 per cent) agricultural, 7.18 lakh (12.79 per cent) commercial and industrial, 18,152 (0.32 per cent) waterworks and 39,981 for general lighting purpose and others. The company distributes 5300 megawatt power daily through its 4323 feeders.The intensification of the vigilance activities coincides with a dip in power availability in October, forcing the company to stop supplying day-time power under the Kisan Suryodaya Yojana (KSY) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year to supply electricity to farmers during daytime. Varunkumar Baranwal, managing director (MD) of the PGVCL told The Indian Express, “Because of the poor monsoon, there was a very high drawal in agriculture sector. Agriculture sector is generally a very high-loss sector. Equally, the government took a decision to give power for 10 hours in AG (agricultural) feeders instead of the (routine) eight hours. This resulted in additional loss for us. Due to these reasons, the loss percentage of our company had gone up. We had to compensate it somehow — by finding theft, by finding missing units everywhere,” The MD said that transmission and distribution losses of PGVCL stood at 20 per cent and commercial losses at three per cent as of September. Thus, AT&C losses were more than 23 per cent. “So, last month, we were averaging around Rs1 crore per day (in detecting power theft) and in October also, we averaged around that– Rs 80-90 lakh per day,” said Baranwal.He said that the drive was also aimed at creating a deterrence mechanism against such illegal activities. The MD said that the company is planning to make the vigilance activities a data-driven exercise. “So, areas where our loss percentage is very high, we will be doing these surprise checking in those areas,” he said.However, Baranwal said that power availability has improved as compared to October. “There is no shortage per say. The situation which was there towards the end of October last for about 10 days. That was the limit of it and after that the situation has returned to normal,” the MD said.However, PGVCL was forced to stop supplying power to farmers during daytime in the last week of October to manage power demand and keep the power grid steady in view of reduced availability of power. The MD said that farmers covered under the KSY are still getting electricity as per the routine schedule.
To ensure kin of those who died of Covid-19 get ex gratia assistance of Rs 50,000 expeditiously, the Gujarat government on Friday launched a mobile-friendly online portal (https://iora.gujarat.gov.in/Cov19_Login.aspx).Launching the portal, Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi said the state government has developed the portal so that the ex gratia amount could be directly deposited in the bank accounts of the kin thus, preventing unnecessary delays.Quoting Trivedi, an official release stated that family members of those who died due to Covid-19 would have to upload the death certificates of the deceased and other documents related to the Covid-19 treatment.In addition, the applicant will have to upload the consent of other heirs in the form of an affidavit and bank details on the portal along with their online application. The ex gratia amount will be deposited in the bank account within 30 days. At the same time, the offline mode of submission of the applications will continue.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and state BJP president CR Paatil will preside over the inaugural ceremony of the the third edition of the Youth Parliament of India to be organised by Karnavati University at Uvarsad in Gandhinagar at its campus on December 4 and 5.Along with the CM and state BJP chief, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal; Gujarat Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Pradip Parmar, Gujarat Minister of State for Co-operation Jagdish Panchal and BJP General secretary Ratnakar will preside over the function. From students to ministers, political figures, public policy experts many are expected to participate in discussions and debates on topics including “Farm Act and CAA Act-merits and demerits”, “media trial-is media the new judiciary”, “National Education Policy 2020-a right step to make India the global gurukul” and “2024 elections-ek se badhkar ek”. The inaugural ceremony will be followed by a series of speaker sessions and debates and discussion by students, ministers of state and central government, renowned political figures and public policy experts.Ritesh Hada, president of Karnavati University and Director Youth Parliament of India, said, “Over the past three years, Karnavati University has taken pride in hosting the first two editions of the Youth Parliament of India, by providing a platform to the youth of this country to share their thoughts and ideas on a variety of diverse topics of public and national importance.”“Thought-provoking and poignant discussions and discourses have taken place on this platform not just by students but eminent political figures from the length and breadth of this country in addition to public policy experts and ministers from both state and central governments,” Hada said.
A 50-year-old doctor who resides in the United Kingdom, recently landed in Navsari and has tested Covid-19 positive. His samples were sent to been sent to Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) in Gandhinagar for genome sequencing. Gujarat reported 45 new cases and discharged 45 others on Friday. Navsari has reported 30-odd cases in the past 30 days.Sources in the health department in Navsari district said that a total of 34 international travelers from “at-risk” countries had landed in Navsari district, from November 26 to till date. The health department officials had carried out Covid tests on them and found them all negative, except one traveler who was tested positive.Sources said that the patient is an Ayurvedic doctor by profession who was in Manchester city in United Kingdom for the past six months and he landed in Navsari on November 27. After a week, he had a cold and cough, following which, he carried out a test in private laboratory in Navsari town, which turned up positive on December 2. After he was tested positive, the health officials of Navsari reached his place and carried out RT-PCR tests which returned positive.Navsari district medical officer Dr. Mehul Deliwala said, “The Ayurvedic doctor is presently in a private hospital in Navsari town. We have also carried out the Covid test on 12 people with whom, he came in contact and they all returned negative. We have sent samples to Gandhinagar laboratory for genome sequencing test and in the next couple of days, we will get its report. He came down to Navsari recently and started staying at his sons house in the Navsari town.”Sources in the Navsari health department said that till date out of 194 Covid-19 deaths in the district, 31 were due to the infection and the remaining were due to comorbid conditions while being infected with the virus. The district has however officially reported 25 deaths till date. A total of 7,281 positive cases were reported in the district, out of which 7,073 had been discharged. Presently there are 14 active cases in the district.
Days after the BJP won the Vapi Municipality polls in Valsad, despite losing four seats to the Congress party, Gujarat BJP President CR Paatil Friday said the BJP’s win was with a “thumping majority” as “Arvind Kejriwal suffered the highest loss of deposit along with the Congress”. He was referring to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which had contested the election for the first time, and lost.Paatil, who was in Nadiad for the BJP Snehmilan, emphasised the creation of page committees that would help the party connect with the voters of the state, ahead of the Assembly polls slated for next year. He stressed the state unit of the party, under his leadership, had “closed doors to outsiders”.Flanked by Union Minister of State and Kheda MP Devusinh Chauhan, Gujarat Cabinet Minister Arjunsinh Chauhan and party leader Gordhan Zadafia, Paatil was speaking at a gathering of party workers from Kheda. Enlisting the party’s victories in Gujarat since Paatil took over as president of the state executive in July 2020, he said, “After I took over, we won a lot of elections… We have won nine Assembly bypolls that were Congress seats. We also won all the 31 district panchayats, ensuring that in one, the Congress party could not even win one seat and remained in single digits in 26 of these DPs. We gained 96 seats in Municipal Corporations, 75 of 81 seats in Municipalities… 205 of 231 in Taluka Panchayats… the strength behind this is the strength of the party workers like you sitting here.”Crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the party’s success, Paatil also heaped praises on the “hard work put in by Amit Shah to build the party by inducting members”, but went on to say that under Paatil’s leadership in Gujarat, the party had not roped in a single “new leader from outside”.“After I took over, we haven’t brought in any new party workers, we closed doors to outsiders… It goes without saying that it was the strength of you all sitting here that we won so many elections… Before the Gandhinagar elections, I called some party leaders. They said they were holding a meeting to decide who will be the Mayor… that is the confidence,” Paatil said.
Sukhram Rathva, 66, a tribal leader and four-time Congress MLA from Pavi Jetpur constituency in Chhota Udepur was unanimously elected as the Leader of Opposition (LOP) for the Gujarat Assembly Friday evening in an all MLA meeting held in Gandhinagar.According to officials of Gujarat Congress, the name of Rathva was proposed by Rahul Gandhi and AICC Gujarat in-charge Raghu Sharma as the LOP to replace Paresh Dhanani who had resigned from his post early March this year. Rathva was in Delhi on Thursday along with newly appointed Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Jagdish Thakor for a discussion with Gandhi and Sharma.After both of them arrived in Ahmedabad on Friday, an all-MLAs meet was called by the Congress party in Gandhinagar on Friday evening under the leadership of Raghu Sharma. As many as 55 MLAs out of total 65 Congress MLAs attended the meet, said sources. The absentee Congress MLAs later gave their support through proxy voting.Speaking to The Indian Express, Manish Doshi, spokesperson, GPCC said, “Sukhram Rathva is a respected tribal leader from Central Gujarat who has risen from an extremely humble background as a dedicated Congress worker. Apart from being an excellent orator, he has good grip on ground-level politics in central Gujarat and is respected among all sections of the tribal community. Today, his name was proposed by outgoing LOP Paresh Dhanani and all MLAs present in the meet unanimously gave their support to Rathva. Now as per procedure, an official letter will be sent to Congress president regarding his candidature being accepted by Gujarat Congress MLAs and a gazette notification will be released. With Rathva being the LOP, Congress will benefit from the social engineering of OBC, Patidar and Tribal communities in Gujarat.”Rathva, is a farmer by profession and began as a Youth Congress leader in the early 1970s. He was a member of the Vadodara District Panchayat in 1975. He was also an elected member of the Chhota Udepura taluka panchayat from 1980 to 1985, when Chhota Udepur was still part of the Vadodara district.Thereafter, Rathva won four consecutive terms as MLA of Chhota Udepur assembly constituency (part of Vadodara district) from 1985 to 1998. He contested the Pavi Jetpur constituency in 2017 and defeated sitting BJP MLA Jayanti Rathwa from the constituency.Rathva is known to raise issues related to the tribal area development. In March this year, Rathva had also raised the issue of the closure of Chhota Udepur district’s only Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (CEmONC) centre at Jabugam, which catered to a tribal population of close to 12 lakhs as well as other parts of the state. Rathva had also raised the issue of the appointment of health staff and doctors for vacant posts in tribal districts, in the Assembly earlier this year.
Behind Harshal Patel’s death-over metal is music of a subtler variety, which he explains to Pratyush Raj. Patel’s has been an eventful journey, one laden with rejection and dejection, doubts and setbacks, but from one which he emerged stronger to blossom late with a little inspiration from Dylan songsThere is music to Harshal Patel’s bowling. The rhythmic strides into crease, the unhurried gather and release, and the note-perfect riffs of his deliveries. The music he produces with the ball is a fusion of cricket’s subtle tones—curl, dip, swerve, cut, and change of pace. For batsmen last IPL, those were deathly tunes, as he ended the league with 32 wickets, joint most with Dwayne Bravo for most wickets in any season, besides winning the man of the match award on his international debut, against New Zealand in Ranchi.There is music in his life too. A song, mostly of his favourite singer Bob Dylan, plays in his ears all the time. Often, its one of Dylan’s most political song, Masters of War, a poignant song in the backdrop of the Vietnam War, a song about the greed of arm merchants. “This song has wisdom which has lasted generations and it will last generations. The truth in this song is just mind-blowing,” pipes in Patel.Patel could reproduce a couple of lines, like Frank Tyson used to recite Wordsworth and Keats at fallen batsmen, to some of his victims too. Like this one: “I just want you to know. I can see through your masks.” Patel is a lesson, to all those who give up sports all too easily. For long, he was thrust into wilderness, but retuned his game to bounce back, and seize his day. In a freewheeling chat with The Indian Express, he talks Dylan and pistol shooting, Zaheer Khan and dipping yorkers, failures and resurgence, besides the riffs that make his life. Excerpts..Blowin’ in the wind…Patel doesn’t recall how he was introduced to western music, especially Dylan. But he feels he got hooked to the songs because of his own non-conformist nature.“I have always been a rebel, but in a nice way. I am not a conformist, I have my ideas about life and I want to live my life in that way. Maybe that’s why I got hooked with the songs of Mr. Dylan,” he says.“Songs like Blowin’ in the Wind, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, and Mr. Tambourine Man are my favourites. But I can listen to Masters of War on a loop.”Love for pistol shooting A post shared by Harshal Patel (@harshalvp23)In an Instagram post, dated October 1, Patel shared a photo of his target cards with the caption ‘Accuracy is important off the field too.’ For him, pistol shooting is just a hobby, which he loves doing whenever he gets the chance, whenever he visits his family in the US. His family moved to the US 2005, but he stayed back to pursue his dream.“The US is big on guns. I like to shoot, but It is just recreational. It’s just a hobby, nothing else,” he says. “Everybody wants to be a guy with the gun in their hands, It is just a hero complex,” he adds.Race called lifeAnirudh Chaudhry, former BCCI Treasurer, who has watched his development from close quarters says he used to be harsh on himself, a reason he had to wait 12 years to make his international debut.He agrees, and elaborates: “The kind of family I come from, the collective psyche is that you are in a race, from the moment you are born. You are competing with your brothers, cousins, peers, and neighbours. Our social conditioning is like whatever you have achieved is not going to be enough.”One is often obsessed with the future. “When I got picked for the India U-19, nobody told me to enjoy the moment. It is not going to come again. Everybody told me you have to do well because this is the stepping stone to the Indian team. They sent me to New Zealand with so much pressure that I never stepped out of the hotel, didn’t see things around, and not even enjoyed my game. I was just playing with the mindset that I have to do well. In that process, the love for the game gets lost. I carried this on for a long time,” he adds.The turning pointThe 2018 IPL auction was one of the turning points of his career. He felt ‘insulted’ after being overlooked by franchises, and was motivated to work on his skills and improve. Eventually, Delhi Capitals acquired him for his base price of Rs 20 lakh. However, he did not get many opportunities.“I realised that at the end of the day, it is just a game. Sometimes you have to zoom out from this race and stop looking at yourself as a cricketer and look at yourself as a person. Those are the things which will give you a bigger purpose,” he says.He turns philosophical: ”You are eventually going to die and nobody will remember how many wickets you have taken or how many runs you have scored. You need to find ways to make life meaningful, you can’t always be a ‘hands-on the wheel’ kind of person all the time.”But he dealt with performance-related anxiety due to the ruthless nature of the IPL, where a player is dropped after one bad match. “In 2018, I realised that I don’t want to be a player who is playing only to complete the final XI, who plays when someone gets injured or someone is not in form, and who plays a couple of games and then gets dropped. I told myself that I want to be a player who can win games for his team, and it was the only way to ensure that I get to play all the games,” he adds.Failure and the turnaroundIn the 2018-2019 Ranji Trophy season, he picked up only 23 wickets from nine games. It seemed the consistency had deserted him. The 2019 IPL didn’t go according to plans either, as he fractured his hand after playing just two games.He even decided to retire from red-ball cricket. But with his 2019 IPL ending prematurely, he got time to reassess his game. He analysed what he was doing, pieced together the missing links, refreshed his approach, and started anew. Something exceptional was just round the corner.The turnaround began with the 2019 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, where Patel started opening the batting for Haryana. With field restrictions in place, he used the long handle well to rake in 374 runs at an average of 31.16 and a strike rate of 165.48. He was fourth in the list of highest run-getters. As is often the case, he translated the confidence into his bowling—snaffling19 scalps at an economy of 7.04 to be the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. His heroics led Haryana to the final where they eventually lost to Karnataka.He continued his red-hot form in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy, snaring 52 wickets in nine games, breaking left-arm spinner Rajinder Goel’s 36-year-old record for most wickets in a season for Haryana. In addition, while batting at No. 8, he scored 292 runs at an average of 22.46 with two half-centuries. Despite an extraordinary season, he was not even picked for the India A team.Zaheer’s adviceA piece of advice from Zaheer Khan massively influenced his career. “When I was with DC and we were playing MI, I got a chance to speak with Zaheer bhai. I have this massive problem of my deliveries drifting down the leg stump, and I spoke to him about it. He spotted an issue with my release angle. With my angle, if I pitch the ball on the off-stump, it will automatically drift to the leg stump.He suggested a minor tweak. “The release angle should target the sixth or seventh stump line and then the ball will hit the off stump, he advised me. A small tip made a massive difference in my consistency and changed me as a bowler,” recollects Patel.Mastering the dipping yorkerThere are few bowlers who have mastered the art of dipping yorker. Lasith Malinga was one, a natural at that because of his slinging action. Dwayne Bravo acquired it over time. Patel too has bagged a handful of wickets with his slow dipping yorkers.“I always had the slower ball. Dipping yorker came out after toiling a lot in the Ranji Trophy on flat pitches,” he says.He explains the nuance: “If you are getting swing, you get a very good backspin on it. It allows the ball to cut through the air and swing. The same concept applies to off-cutters and the slower yorkers. If you see my hat-trick wicket ball against Hardik (Pandya) in Dubai, it was a half-volley. But because of the back spin, it got stuck into the pitch and bounced and he top-edged it. If there was no back spin, he could have hit it easily.”He aims to bowl it quickly. “I aim to bowl it quickly. My arm-speed should be faster than my normal deliveries and then the second thing is to put as much revolution on the ball as possible. My slower ball are my efforts ball,” he adds.So cleverly disguised a delivery that it deceived even some of his noted RCB colleagues. “Someone like Virat Kohli, Ab de Villiers, and Glen Maxwell, have told me that they don’t see my slower ones coming out of my hand. That gives me enough confidence that if these people are not able to read it then most of the other batters won’t be able to read it,” he says.On reading batter’s mindThough not an expert quick, he has managed to outsmart some of the cleanest strikers of the game. “This ability to read the game comes with experience and game time. I have always been someone who has failed with his execution, never the planning. I was always good with getting under the skin of the batters, without saying anything. But I was always bad at execution. It took me around eight years to get it right,” he says.On being death bowlerHe was a bit surprised when he RCB entrusted with death-bowling duties, but grabbed the chance with both hands.“RCB management trading me back and giving me this role changed my life completely. There are two or three career-defining instances for me. The first was when I moved to Haryana, the second was the 2018 IPL auction, and then RCB entrusted me with bowling in the death overs. To be honest, when the RCB management decided to give me the role of bowling in the death overs. I was a bit surprised but they had more faith in my ability than I had at that time,” he said.Buoyed, he kept on churning one death-over masterclass after the other. But he had to deal with performance-related anxiety due to the ruthless nature of the IPL.“My last competitive game was in IPL 2020, where I twisted my ankle and I was out for four and half months. The next competitive game I played was against MI in Chennai in the IPL 2021. I had zero game time, I was coming back from injury, so I’ve had massive performance anxieties,” he says.But he learned to deal with it. “It’s a very mental thing, you have to figure out a way and how to get out of the mindset. If you continue to play with that mindset you will never be able to express yourself on the field. Every individual has to figure out how to get out of it. I just told myself that this is the opportunity I was looking for. I have to be that player who raises his hand whenever the team is in a tough situation and brings the team out of it,” he explains.Occasionally, he would get a reality check or two. “When Jadeja smacked me for 37 runs in an over, it was a reality check for me. But in professional sport, you cannot run away from failure. If you don’t take on those situations, you will never be a match-winner. In my personal experience, I can say that being willing to fail has helped me to bring the best out of myself,” he says.Death-over masteryPatel is a big believer in pre-match planning. “Pre-match planning is important. When you are under the pump, your brain stops working, because there is so much adrenaline, there is so much fight or fight kind of situation, where you won’t be able to think clearly. So most of your planning has to be done off the field,” he says.However, he changes his bowling according to the circumstances. “What I decide to bowl depends upon how I am seeing the game then.” “I am not someone who is shy of bowling 6 or 12 slower balls in a row. I know this is going to work. I know I can bowl a quick bouncer, quick yorkers, but I don’t need to bowl it right now. If the game situation calls that I need to bowl a yorker, or a slower one, I will do that without any hesitation,” he adds.The second homeA ‘Patel’ from Ahmedabad plying his trade in Ahmedabad seems bizarre. But it has a backstory. Patel made his List-A debut for Gujarat in 2009 but couldn’t break into the Ranji squad. But Anirudh Chaudhary, Indian manager from the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, advised him to try for Haryana. He rented a flat in Rohtak and changed his residential address to be eligible to play for Haryana. “Words are not enough to describe how thankful I am to the Haryana cricket, Anirudh sir, and my teammates. I will always be grateful,” he signed off. In the end, it seems a more than inspired decision, as has been a lot of others.He could relate to another Dylan song. His most famous one. Blowing in the Wind, and sing along; “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?”
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has successfully conducted CBSE Term-1 Class 12 Board Exam 2021-22 of English (Core) subject code- 301 on Friday, December 3, 2021. The exam was conducted from 11:30 am to 1 pm at various exam centres located across the country and abroad.The question paper carried 40 marks and needed to be attempted in 90 minutes. The question paper had three sections (Section A, B and C). There was no negative marking, each question contained 0.8 marks and more details about these sections are given below.“The overall difficulty level of the questions was easy to moderate. The questions were based only on the topics mentioned in the term-1 CBSE Syllabus. Reading and literature sections were easy while a few questions in the writing section were a bit tricky. Most of the students were able to finish it in time. The question paper had a variety of multiple-choice questions. Literature section was based upon the NCERT textbook,” said Yogesh Chandra Pandey Senior Educator, Unison World School, Dehradun.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has directed school heads and exam centre superintendents to ensure the question paper for classes 10 and 12 are printed only in one language — either English or Hindi.The board has stated that the question papers need not be printed in both languages for each student. Only one language, that is either English or Hindi, has to be prioritised as per what the students of a particular school or exam centre require.“It has come to the notice that some of the examination centres are printing both English and Hindi versions of question papers and thereafter these are being distributed to the students. This is not as per the directions supplied by the CBSE,” read the official CBSE statement.“It is desired that only the English version of question paper is to be printed first and supplied to the students. Hindi version question paper is printed only if any candidate is in need of Hindi version of the question paper,” it further stated. The same needs to be followed where the medium instruction is Hindi. “Where Hindi is the medium of instruction of the candidates, the examination centres should first print the Hindi version of the question paper and distribute the same to the students,” the CBSE added.
The Gujarat Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) held an assistant sub inspector (ASI) of police at Valsad for accepting Rs 50,000 bribe in exchange of not booking a person under prevention of anti social activities (PASA) act.PASA is a stringent act in Gujarat applied to accused persons booked in over three FIRs of similar kind of offence.According to ACB officials, the accused Satish Somvanshi, ASI (Grade 3) at Valsad Rural Police Station was detained in a trap at Simada Naka area of Valsad on Thursday night.“In this case, the accused cop had threatened and demanded initially Rs 1 lakh bribe from the complainant in exchange of not booking him under PASA act. Finally the amount was settled to Rs 50,000 after due negotiation by another private person Ram Singh Patil on behalf of accused policeman. The complainant then approached the ACB and On Thursday nights, a trap was set and the ASI was caught red handed accepting the bribe amount along with his accomplice Ram Singh Patil. Both of them have been booked under prevention of corruption act,” said a senior official of Gujarat ACB.