Times of India | 1 week ago | 22-11-2022 | 04:50 am
MUMBAI: SevenHills Hospital in Andheri, which functioned as a dedicated Covid-19 hospital for the past two years, will open 50 beds for measles patients. The BMC plans to increase the count of beds for measles to 135, which includes 34 oxygen beds and nine ventilator beds across the city's municipal hospitals. Although the measles outbreak started at the end of September, the BMC only last week began to augment beds looking at the growing need for admissions. On Monday, the Shivaji Nagar Maternity Home in Govandi opened a 20-bed facility to admit children from M-East ward, which is the epidemic of the outbreak. There are plans to develop an intensive care unit here, civic officials said. Dr Sanjeev Kumar, the additional municipal commissioner, said that SevenHills Hospital will have 25 beds each for suspected and confirmed cases. The wards will become functional in the next two days. The hospital currently has just 35 Covid patients. Kumar said that SevenHills will function as a referral centre for patients from the western suburbs. Beds have been started at Kasturba Hospital (96), Shatabdi Govandi (10), and Rajawadi (7). On Monday, 23 children got admitted to various hospitals, taking the overall count of admissions to 94.
Good morning,The Big StoryUnprecedented public protests have flared up in China, amid a surge in coronavirus cases, despite heavy censorship and the government’s attempts to manage the situation. Major cities like Shanghai and Beijing are witnessing a wave of civil disobedience against President Xi Jinping with frustration rising over the government’s ‘Zero Covid’ strategy. What triggered the latest protests? We explain.Only in the ExpressBorrowers of Mudra loans – essentially micro and small enterprises – have been paying their EMIs to banks, in over seven years since its launch. Non-performing assets of banks for Mudra loans are lower than the average NPAs of the sector as a whole, data obtained under the Right to Information Act reveals.In the latest edition of Idea Exchange, Dr Soumya Swaminathan talks about quitting as WHO’s chief scientist, the way forward with long Covid, and a desperate need for high-level governance to avoid a future pandemic. From the Front PageIf there is a tweak in the familiar story of the Gujarat election, if this time the 27-year-incumbent is facing a plucky new competitor it cannot ignore, it has a lot to do with what happened in the 2021 civic polls in Surat. Read this to get a closer glimpse of the Gujarat election’s newly minted triangle — BJP vs Congress vs AAP.On an average, 20-25 cases are filed under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Jammu and Kashmir daily. But the conviction rate is very low. Speaking to The Indian Express, J&K DGP Dilbag Singh underscored the need for specialised units for time-bound investigations and more convictions.The crisis in Rajasthan Congress has deepened. The high command is upset with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over his attack on rival Sachin Pilot. Though the party has said it needs both Gehlot and Pilot, the Congress also made it clear that it would not shy away from taking “tough decisions”. Sources said the decision will only be taken after the Rajasthan leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.Must ReadBihar has launched the Har Ghar Gangajal project, a unique and ambitious initiative to provide Ganga water on tap in parched areas of the state that do not lie along the course of the river. We explain how this project will help regions such as Rajgir, Gaya, and Bodhgaya, which have for long depended on tankers of drinking water from adjoining districts, overcome the existing crisis.Over the last four decades, senior advocate Santosh Kumar Rungta has been at the forefront for fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. During a chat with The Indian Express, Rungta, who has been visually impaired since childhood, said: “It was in the third standard that I decided that if I ever want to make some difference in the life of the blind, the only profession to achieve this is the legal profession. I studied with this single focus in mind.”The aviation and telecom departments will shortly roll out a plan to ensure safe flight operations around airports with 5G airwave infrastructure. The plan includes telecom companies setting up infrastructure powering 5G networks away from the flight path around airports, carrying low power signals in such areas and a plan to upgrade the altimeter of all aircraft by August 2023. And Finally…Substitutes Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal earned Morocco their first World Cup victory in 24 years as they upset a hugely disappointing Belgium side 2-0 in World Cup Group F on Sunday. The Indian Express reports from Qatar on how coach Walid Regragui’s decision to make two substitutes helped Morocco register a thumping victory against Belgians.Delhi Confidential: BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad’s connection with Gujarat started in 2003 when he was invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Kailashpati Mishra as the Governor. A frequent visitor to party offices across the state, he is now in Gujarat for campaigning. On Sunday, at the BJP media centre, Prasad was nostalgic as many seniors reminisced the time he had spent there.🎧 In today’s episode of the ‘3 things’ podcast, we discuss about the firing incident at the Assam-Meghalaya border, the BJP’s manifesto for the ensuing Gujarat elections, and the surge in measles cases in Mumbai.Until tomorrow,Sonal Gupta and Anandu Suresh
NETRANG (BHARUCH): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused that the Congress of not having respect for the tribal community and said that the party opposed candidature of Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election held earlier this year. He was canvassing for the BJP in Netrang, a tribal area of Bharuch district. Modi also said that the entire world was amazed at how India managed to come out Covid-19 pandemic in such a short span. "Congress has no respect for tribals in the country. When we proposed to make our tribal daughter (Droupadi Murmu) the president of the country, the Congress opposed it. We put all our might and made the tribal daughter win the election," Modi said. "Be it Birsa Munda or Govind Guru, the Congress never gave the due respect to the tribal leaders," he further alleged. The PM said the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in a big country like India was terrifying. "We faced the pandemic and came out of it. The entire world is amazed how we did it," Modi said. During pandemic factories were closed, people had to go back to their villages. "In such circumstances, our first concern was to provide enough food to poor people. We have been providing free ration to 80 crore people for the last three years," Modi said. He said that when many countries are still struggling to vaccinate their entire population, India has provided more than 200 crore doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine to its people. "After two doses, we provided a booster dose also free," Modi said.
AHMEDABAD: When you relish the lavish spread of delicacies on your dining table, remember that the indispensable salt in your food and the timber used for the table most likely came from Kutch — India’s largest district. Kutch accounts for 80% of India’s salt production and 70% of the country’s timber imports, which have seen local businessmen laughing their way to the banks for decades. The riches are visible in the port town of Gandhidham where businessmen splurging Rs 1 crore to host birthday parties for children does not raise eyebrows. Members of opulent families pompously narrate how women in their families take the morning flight from Kandla to Mumbai and return donning the best make-up and latest designer outfits for a lavish party in the evening! However, this affluence is limited to just one portion of the district, once written off as a mere expanse of desert. It was a severely water-starved region where agriculture was impossible, leave alone industrial development. After the 2001 killer earthquake flattened the region and killed thousands, Kutch has turned the tables on adversities. Tax holidays announced by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government saw companies queuing up here, and the investments now run into lakhs of crores across a spectrum of industries. Kutch has also found a spot on the global tourism map due to the runaway success of the white sand festival, Rann Utsav, and the World heritage site, Dholavira. However, elsewhere in villages separated by swathes of the highly invasive gando bawal (prosopis juliflora), life is full of drudgery. The district has six assembly segments and one Lok Sabha seat. And yet, the election is a humdrum affair, devoid of acrimonious campaigning. The hoardings and posters of candidates are visible in significant towns like Gandhidham, Adipur, Anjar, Bhachau, Rapar, Bhuj, and Mandvi. The party workers are busy chalking out booth management strategies in the election offices of candidates. Reaching out to all villages is a cumbersome task for candidates, given the long distances they must travel in this region, which accounts for 24% of Gujarat’s geographical area. Water crisis always looms large in Kutch, which ironically received 186% of its average annual rainfall this monsoon, 86% more than its average. Residents in big towns blame illegal constructions and encroachment of natural waterways for their situation. However, in July this year, locals cheered the arrival of Narmada water in Mandvi with the completion of the 750km long Kutch branch canal. While the BJP candidates are harping on unprecedented industrialization, tourism development and free ration distribution during Covid-19 to attract votes, the Congress is highlighting price rise, Covid mismanagement, farmers’ issues, drug hauls worth thousands of crores of rupees, and the lack of educational infrastructure in the district. “We are seeking votes on the achievements of the Modi government. Free ration during Covid, Ujwala scheme and Rs 6,000 per year for farmers along with important national issues like abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Satvik Gadhvi, Kutch BJP spokesman. Unlike Saurashtra and south Gujarat, where PM Modi and an array of senior BJP leaders campaigned feverishly over the past fortnight, Kutch haswitnessed around 15 rallies held by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma. Notably, Sarma gave a communal hue to the campaigning by raking up the macabre Shraddha Walkar murder, saying many more ‘Aftabs’ will be borne if the BJP is not voted to power. Kutch’s Congress spokesman Dipak Ahir said, “There has been rapid industrialization, but locals are not getting jobs. Moreover, 200 schools have shut down in Kutch, and many that do not have teachers. Also, the lumpy virus left thousands of cattle dead in the district, but owners have not received compensation. These are the real issues we are focussing on. ” However, Rajesh Soni, working with a private school in Bhuj, said, “Elected representatives hardly come to meet us after polls. Important issues like roads, drainage and water availability are hardly discussed. ” Arvind Thakkar, president of the Bhuj GIDC Association, said, “Elected representatives don’t raise genuine issues with the bureaucracy to bring out a solution. They hardly organize regular meetings with trade and industry bodies. ” The laurels frequently marketed by BJP leaders do not cut ice with the voters as far as voting is concerned, as caste equations ultimately decide the fate of candidates. Meanwhile, the poll battles on some seats like Mandvi — famed for its pristine beach — have turned exciting with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fielding Kailashdan Gadhvi, a chartered accountant, against Aniruddh Dave,nephew of former RSS veteran and BJP MP Anant Dave, and Congress’s Rajendrasinh Jadeja. The Gadhvis have sizeable votes that will impact the results. A juicy battle is also on the cards in Rapar, the oasis that produces the luscious Kutchi kesar mangoes. Two Patel candidates — Congress’s Bachhu Aarathiya and AAP’s Ambabhai Patel — are pitted against sitting Mandvi MLA Virendrasinh Jadeja. Kutch headquarters, Bhuj, has always seen a see-saw battle with rural areas voting for the Congress but the BJP having the last laugh, thanks to rurban voters. This time, the Congress has chosen Arjan Bhudia, sarpanch of Madhapar — the village once famed for having the maximum NRI deposits in the country. Bhudia, a Leuva Patel, is contesting against the BJP’s Keshubhai Patel, a Kadva, making the contest quite absorbing.
With the campaigning for the first phase of the Assembly elections entering the home stretch, Union Minister Parshottam Rupala Sunday alleged that Opposition leaders wanted to “cause” mass casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic by “spreading misinformation” about the vaccine and thereby, defame the BJP governments—both at the Centre and state. The Minister warned that such people could go to any extent to seek votes during an election.“Aa badhi mayaoye to deshni jantane gum karvani clipu ferviti ne evu bolta ke rasi leho to napusank thai hajo. Evi clipu ferviti. Evi…evi pravrutiyo aa deshni andar karo chho ane atyare mat mangva avo chho? (They had circulated (video) clips misleading people of the country saying if you got a shot of the vaccine, you would turn impotent. You have the gumption to come and seek votes after indulging in such kind of activities?” Rupala, the Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, said without naming anyone in particular. He was addressing a BJP meeting as part of the party’s campaign at Bhatiya in Kalyanpur of Devbhumi Dwarka.The BJP leader further alleged that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to save people during the deadly waves of Covid-19, Opposition leaders were busy spreading rumours.However, he claimed these leaders tried to get themselves jabbed ahead of others. “But then they realised that if they didn’t take the vaccine, (they’ll die and) their names would be struck off ration cards. So, they stood in the first row by waking up earlier than us and demanded that they and their uncles also be given shots of the vaccine,” the minister, who is a native of Amreli district, said.He also criticised the Opposition for politicising the development of the Covid-19 vaccine and alleged that they insulted scientists. “But you failed to congratulate even the scientists who took the entire world aback by developing not one but two vaccines. Those vaccines were not developed by the BJP but by scientists of our country.”The Dwarka Assembly seat, which comprises Dwarka and Kalyanpur talukas of the coastal Devbhumi Dwarka district, has been a BJP stronghold since 2007 when Pabubha Manek, the then sitting Congress MLA, switched over to the saffron party and won. Manek, who hails from the Vagher community, has remained undefeated on this seat from 1990, winning Assembly elections for three times as an Independent, once as a Congress nominee and thrice on a BJP ticket. The BJP has given him a ticket to contest election this time, too—eighth time from this constituency.The Congress has fielded Mulu Kandoriya, a leader from the Ahir community, who had fought against Manek in 2012 but had lost. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has given its ticket to Lakhman Nakum, a member of the Sathvara community that holds the second largest number of votes in the seat after Ahirs. Vaghers form the third largest group of voters.Rupala alleged that the Congress has brought in AAP as a sacrificial “camel” to break BJP’s hold on the seat. In battles, he said, elephants don’t charge at spiked gates of forts and therefore, the invading armies would park camels in front of the gates so that the spikes are invisible to the elephants and they can break open the gates by pushing the camels against the spiked doors. “Don’t entertain their pleas to vote for them due to caste considerations,” said Rupala.With the polling scheduled on December 1, the campaigning for the 48 seats of Saurashtra, six of Kutch and 35 seats of the south Gujarat region ends Tuesday evening.
Vasim Shaikh, who earns his living as a daily-wage worker in a garment unit in Surat city, was made to sign a few documents by some people in his “friend circle” a couple of days ago.Shaikh’s name figures among a list of 30 Muslim candidates contesting as Independents from Surat’s Limbayat constituency which will go the polls in the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls on December 1.“Mai toh cutting ka kaam karta hoon idhar, dihadi hai mera. Kisine bataya toh maine bhar diya (I am engaged in cutting in a garments unit. Someone told me to fill up forms which I did. I was not aware that I was being made a candidate),” Shaikh claims.The Limbayat Assembly seat is part of the Navsari Lok Sabha constituency represented by Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil, from where a total of 44 candidates are contesting — the highest among the state’s 89 seats in the first phase — that include altogether 34 Independents. The Muslim community makes up about 30 per cent of voters in Limbayat.In the neighbouring Surat East Assembly constituency, which is also scheduled for voting on December 1, Minhaj Patel, a delivery boy with a private online food and grocery store, is among seven Muslim faces out of 8 Independents in the fray. “I work with Big Basket company. I felt like contesting, so I filed nomination this time,” he said. A total of 14 candidates are contesting the Surat East seat.The Congress, which has fielded a Muslim candidate in Surat East, has charged that the ruling BJP has fielded “dubious Independent candidates” in the two seats to split minority votes. Recently, the Surat East seat had hit the headlines when Kanchan Jariwala, who was fielded by the AAP, withdrew his candidature amid a row and exchange of allegations and counter-allegations between the AAP and the BJP.When contacted, the Congress’s Surat East candidate Aslam Firozbhai alleged, “Of the 2.15 lakh voters in the seat, 43 per cent are Muslims. Everyone knows that the BJP has fielded these so-called Independent candidates to split the Opposition votes from the minorities. If CR Paatil was so confident of winning a seat under his constituency, why did he feel the need to resort to such tactics?”Kher Paresh Anandbhai of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav), who is also contesting from Surat East as an Independent, also made similar allegations.A Surat BJP leader, who did not want to be named, rejected these charges, pointing out that the party had a smooth victory from these seats in the 2017 polls.Apart from Shaikh and Patel, The Indian Express spoke to a slew of Independent candidates in the two constituencies, who have varied backgrounds — from a couple engaged in social work to a scrap dealer, to an autorickshaw driver. Here are excerpts from their responses.Saiyad Suraiya Latif (Limbayat): I work as a domestic help. This time, I thought of contesting the polls to gain experience. Maine socha ye bhi karke dekh lete hain (I thought let me try my hand at this too).Hamid Shaikh (Limbayat): This is the fifth time I am contesting as an Independent. I like elections. I work as a commission agent in the transport sector.Hameed Madhavsang Rana (Limbayat): I work as a commission agent for a tour and travels agency. My wife, Sayarabanu, who is also contesting from Limbayat, and I served people in various ways during Covid. She is a homemaker. The allegations of the Congress regarding BJP setting us up to split votes is false.Sabirabibi (Limbayat): I am a homemaker. I decided to contest as other parties do not help us in any manner. My contribution as a social worker will hold me in good stead in politics.Shaikhlal Samir Shah (Limbayat): Currently, I am not working anywhere. I am contesting to safeguard the rights of people in my area. I feel pained by their plight. Other parties are least bothered.Aiyub Shah (Limbayat): I run an autorickshaw on rent. This time I thought why not contest the polls? At least more people will get to know me. I am campaigning with my family members including in Hindu areas.Mohammad Shaikh (Limbayat): I am contesting Assembly polls for the first time. I had also contested the local body polls as a BSP candidate in the past. I am contesting as parties discriminate between communities.Irfan Pathan (Surat East): I manage the parking lots under flyovers that come under the Surat Municipal Corporation. I was with the BJP 10 years back. Later, I decided to focus on my work. This time, the youth of my area encouraged me to contest.Shahabudin Jainudin (Surat East ): I am in the business of buying and selling cars. My mother, who is no more, had contested the civic body polls as a Congress candidate. I no longer have ties with any party.Samir Fakruddin Shaikh (Surat East): I am involved in the scrap trade. Bas aisehi chunav mai aane ka mann hua (I just felt like entering the poll fray). I want to do social work. The youth of my locality encouraged me to contest as I had assisted people during the Covid-19 pandemic.Mohammad Faruq Mulla (Surat East): I am essentially a broke. I want to use politics as a medium to serve the society. I am not connected to any political party.