Tue, 18 May 2021
Plea in SC against new Kerala govt's swearing-in
23:13 Plea in SC against new Kerala govt's swearing-in
A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court against the scheduled May 20 physical swearing-in ceremony of the new Communist Party of India Marxist-led Left Democratic Front government in Kerala headed by Pinarayi Vijayan.
The petition by activist K M Shahjahan has sought directions to the Kerala government to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol and ban all public gatherings.
The plea stated that reckless act of conducting the public swearing-in ceremony by the Government of Kerala in violation of the very same law and protocols, is a clear abuse of power and would only result in further spread of the dreaded disease, putting the life of the people in jeopardy.
"The interference of this Court is highly necessary as there are none to question the absolute abuse of power by the Government of Kerala and for directing the Chief Secretary to restrict the number of participants in the swearing-in ceremony scheduled to be held on May 20, 2021 at 75, which is maximum that can be permitted for a gathering", the plea said.
The plea has also sought directions to the Centre and the state governments to issue a uniform Standard Operating Procedure strictly banning any kind of public gathering with more than fifty people.
The ceremony, scheduled at 3.30 PM on May 20, would be held by adhering to COVID-19 protocol, Vijayan had earlier told reporters.
Governor Arif Mohammad Khan would administer the oath of office to 21 Ministers, including the Chief Minister.
The function would be held in the presence of 500 invited guests at the stadium, which has the capacity to hold 50,000 people, Vijayan had said. -- PTI
22:32 Mumbai reports less than 1,000 COVID-19 cases
Mumbai reported 953 new coronavirus infections and 44 fatalities on Tuesday, taking its tally of cases to 6,90,889 and death toll to 14,352, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.
For the first time since March 2 the city reported less than 1,000 COVID-19 cases, though the number of tests also dropped.
On March 2, the financial capital of the country had recorded 849 COVID-19 cases, after which daily infections surged to four digits.
On Monday, the city had logged 1,240 new cases and 48 fatalities.
However, there was also a considerable decrease in the number of COVID-19 tests. The BMC's data showed that 17,920 tests were conducted since Monday evening, taking the tally of tests to 59,34,165.
Till last week, more than 20,000 samples were being tested in the city daily.
Recoveries outnumbered the new infections on Tuesday, which reduced the number of active COVID-19 cases to 32,925.
As many as 2,258 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the number of recovered patients to 6,41,598.
The city's recovery rate is now 93 per cent.
The city had witnessed 11,163 new infections -- its highest so far -- on April 4, 2021. The highest 90 fatalities were reported on May 1, 2021.
The average doubling rate of COVID-19 cases -- period during which the caseload doubles -- also improved to 255 days.
The city's average growth rate of COVID-19 cases for the period between May 9 to May 15 was 0.27 per cent.
There are 78 active containment zones in slums and chawls and 305 buildings have been currently sealed after coronavirus patients were found there. -- PTI
22:08 Tauktae: PM to visit Guj, Diu to review situation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Gujarat and Diu on Wednesday to personally review the situation there and the damage wrought by cyclone Tauktae, government sources said.
He will leave Delhi at around 9:30 AM and land at Bhavnagar from where he will proceed for an aerial survey of Una, Diu, Jafarabad and Mahuva, they said.
Modi will also hold a review meeting at Ahmedabad.
At least seven people were killed in Gujarat as the cyclone battered parts of the state and left behind a trail of destruction along the coast, uprooting electric poles and trees, and damaging several houses and roads, officials said on Tuesday.
After reviewing the situation, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told reporters that despite such a high-intensity cyclone hitting the state, his government has managed to prevent any major loss to life or property as over two lakh people were already shifted to safer places. -- PTI
21:56 New COVID strain in Singapore: Puri says govt keeping eye on situation
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Tuesday said the Centre is taking all precautions and keeping an eye on the situation in Singapore after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to it to cancel all flights with the city-state as a "very dangerous" coronavirus strain has been detected there.
"Kejriwal ji, all international flights have been stopped since March 2020. We have no air bubble with Singapore either," Puri said on Twitter.
Only a few flights are being operated between the two countries under Vande Bharat Mission to bring stranded Indians back, he added.
"We are still keeping an eye on the situation. All precautions are being taken," Puri noted.
India suspended all scheduled international passenger flights on March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special international passenger flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under air bubbles formed with around 27 countries since July 2020.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal appealed to the Centre to immediately cancel all air services with Singapore, saying the new strain of coronavirus there is said to be "very dangerous" for children.
This new strain of virus could invade India in the form of a third wave, he said in a tweet.
While there is no known Singapore strain of the coronavirus or any known to have originated in the city-state, Kejriwal appeared to be referring to a media report on Monday.
The report had mentioned the threat posed to Singapore's children by the variant first detected in India. -- PTI
21:10 Russia, China to kick-off their biggest nuclear power project on Wed
Russia and China will hold the ground-breaking ceremony of their biggest nuclear energy project on Wednesday under which Moscow would jointly build four high power nuclear power plants in two Chinese cities.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will join his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin via video link in Beijing to witness the ground-breaking ceremony of the bilateral nuclear energy cooperation project on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the media here on Tuesday.
Both the countries signed a package cooperation deal in 2018 and agreed to jointly build units 7 and 8 of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant and units 3 and 4 of Xudapu Nuclear Power Plant.
The Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant is located in the city of Lianyungang in Jiangsu province. The Xudapu Nuclear Power plant is located in Xingcheng in Liaoning province.
"This has been the biggest China-Russia nuclear energy cooperation project to date and represents the highest level of practical cooperation between the two sides," Zhao said.
The successful beginning of the construction of the four units demonstrates the major cooperation outcomes in high-end equipment manufacturing and science and technology innovation and will boost the upgrading of practical cooperation between the two countries, he said.
Since nuclear energy is clean and efficient, the four units, after completion, will effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions, he said.
The two countries firmed up their close ties as they faced mounting adversity from the US and European Union on a host of issues. -- PTI
21:00 Cyclone after-effects: Delhi-NCR, parts of north India to receive rains
As Cyclone Tauktae weakens further, its after-effects will bring moderate rains to several parts of north India, including Delhi-National Capital Region, over the next two days, the India Meteorological Department said on Tuesday.
Kuldeep Srivastava, Head of the Regional Meteorological Centre of the IMD, said Cyclone Tauktae has brought rains to southern Rajasthan as it approaches north India.
"Tomorrow, it will stretch from Rajasthan to Haryana. Due to this, east and west Uttar Pradesh, east Rajasthan, the Delhi-NCR region will witness moderate rain. There is a possibility of heavy rains in some parts of Delhi," Srivastava said.
The IMD has issued an orange colour-coded warning for National Capital Region for Wednesday with a forecast of rains and squally winds of 50-60 kilometres per hour.
The weakened cyclonic circulation will also move to Uttarakhand and bring rains to the state along with Himachal Pradesh during the next two days, he added.
A western disturbance is also affecting parts of north India and the two weather systems are expected to bring rains.
Cyclone Tauktae hit Gujarat coast on Monday night as an "extremely severe cyclonic storm", bringing heavy rains to Gujarat. Earlier, the cyclone had battered the entire west coast. -- PTI
20:56 Over 1.94 cr vaccines available with states/UTs: Centre
More than 1.94 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and Union Territories, while one lakh jabs will be delivered to them within the next three days, the Centre said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Union Health Ministry said more than 20.78 crore vaccine doses have been made available to states and UTs far.
"The government has so far provided, both through the free of cost category and through direct state procurement category, more than 20.78 crore vaccine doses (20,78,04,890) to States/UTs. Of this, the total consumption, including wastages is 18,83,47,432 doses (as per data available at 8 AM today)," it said.
"More than 1.94 crore COVID Vaccine doses (1,94,57,458) are still available with the States/UTs to be administered. Furthermore, 1 lakh (1,00,000) vaccine doses are in the pipeline and will be received by the States/UTs within the next three days," the ministry said.
The ministry further said that in the second quarter of May 2021 (May 18 to May 31, 2021), 1.95 crore doses would be made available free of cost by the government to all States/UTs.
This advance information has already been shared with States/UTs by the Centre, the statement said.
"In addition, 72.40 lakh doses would be available for direct procurement by the States/UTs," it said. -- PTI
20:28 Covaxin trials for children to begin in 10-12 days
Bharat Biotech is set to begin the phase II and III clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in children in the age group of 2 to 18 years in the next 10-12 days, informed VK Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog on Tuesday.
"Covaxin has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India for Phase II/III clinical trials in the age group of 2 to 18 years. I have been told that trials will begin in the next 10-12 days," Paul said during a press conference.
Covaxin received the DCGI nod to conduct clinical trials in children on May 11.
The Niti Ayog official further stated that the anti-COVID drug '2DG' developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation has been granted permission for emergency use by the DCGI.
He also mentioned that the anti-COVID drug will be examined by the COVID-19 National Task Force for adding it to the treatment protocol.
"We will examine the drug in COVID-19 National Task Force for adding it to the treatment protocol. DCGI has granted permission for emergency use," said Paul.
19:36 Didn't export vaccines at cost of Indians: Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday issued a statement saying that the company has not exported COVID-19 vaccines at the cost of the people of India.
Poonawalla said the vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months and it would take 2-3 years for the entire world population to get fully vaccinated.
"SII has delivered more than 200mn doses, even though we received EUA two months after the US pharma companies. If we look at total doses produced and delivered, we rank amongst the top three in the world. We continue to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India," he said in a statement.
"We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in India and remain committed to do everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country, Poonawalla added.
19:31 Mallya loses bankruptcy petition amendment High Court battle in UK
A consortium of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India on Tuesday moved a step closer in their attempt to recover debt from loans paid out to Vijay Mallya's now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines after the high court in London upheld an application to amend their bankruptcy petition, in favour of waiving their security over the businessman's assets in India.
Chief Insolvencies and Companies Court (ICC) Judge Michael Briggs handed down his judgment in favour of the banks to declare there is no public policy that prevents a waiver of security rights, as argued by Mallya's lawyers.
At a virtual hearing, July 26 was set as the date for final arguments for and against granting a bankruptcy order against Mallya after the banks accused him of trying to "kick matters into the long grass" and called on the "bankruptcy petition to be brought to its inevitable end".
"I order that permission be given to amend the petition to read as follows: 'The Petitioners (banks) having the right to enforce any security held are willing, in the event of a bankruptcy order being made, to give up any such security for the benefit of all the bankrupt's creditors'," Justice Briggs' judgment reads.
"There is nothing in the statutory provisions that prevent the Petitioners from giving up security," he notes.
Mallya's barrister, Philip Marshall, had referenced witness statements of retired Indian judges in previous hearings to reiterate that there is "public interest under Indian law" by virtue of the banks being nationalised.
However, Justice Briggs found no impediment to the creditors relinquishing their security under Indian law because of the engagement of a "principle concerning public interest" and favoured the submissions made by retired Indian Supreme Court judge Gopala Gowda at a hearing in December 2020 in this regard.
"In my judgment the simple stance taken by Justice Gowda that Section 47 PIA 1920 is evidence of the ability of a secured creditor to relinquish the creditor's security is to be preferred," the ruling notes. -- PTI
19:13 Delhi receives over 60,000 Covaxin doses for 45+: Atishi
Delhi on Tuesday received over 60,000 Covaxin doses for key workers and those aged above 45, AAP MLA Atishi said.
Still, the city has only two days of Covaxin stock left for this category, while Covishield doses for the group can last up to four days, she said.
She also said that 1.13 lakh beneficiaries received jabs on May 17. Around 10.75 lakh people have got both the doses since the inoculation drive began on January 16.
"After Tuesday evening, the city will have only three days of Covishield stock left for the 18-44 age group. We appeal to the central government to make more vaccines available for this category immediately," she said,
adding the city government might have to stop vaccination for them from next week. -- PTI
18:47 Covid: IMA backs plasma therapy after ICMR drops it
Indian Medical Association on Tuesday lent its support to plasma therapy in moderate cases of COVID-19 infection and said such patients may need less oxygen with the use of plasma.
The approval for plasma therapy from the IMA comes a day after Indian Council of Medical Research's National Task Force had dropped use of convalescent plasma therapy from COVID-19 treatment protocol.
"What the IMA is saying is that it (plasma therapy) has been removed as an 'off label' use. But it is a clinical step that in moderate cases where oxygen saturation is low, the patient may need less oxygen to stabilise or saturate the oxygen level with the use of plasma," Dr Anil Goel, finance secretary IMA and urologist, told ANI.
"The use of plasma is being put to use with the consent of patients and attendants," Dr Goel added.
He further said that the high death rate is because the patients are going to hospitals very late, especially those who are in home quarantine.
"I advise them to see a chest specialist at some COVID hospital regularly for their better and early treatment," Dr Goel added.
On Monday, the use of convalescent plasma was dropped from the recommended treatment protocols for COVID-19. -- ANI
18:41 Singapore to vaccinate children aged 12 to 15 against COVID-19
Singapore has decided to vaccinate students aged 12 to 15 following a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in schools in the city-state, local media reported on Tuesday.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that those aged 12 to 15 are to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech injection.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was previously given only to those aged 16 years and above.
Ong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19, said that the Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) decision was supported by the expert committee on COVID-19 vaccines here.
"Both teams (expert committee and HSA) have assessed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine demonstrated high efficacy and safety for this age group," Ong said at a virtual press conference.
The Ministry of Education would work with the Ministry of Health to plan the vaccination programme for this age group, more details on which would be provided soon.
The announcement comes at a time when a number of schoolchildren have tested positive for the deadly virus.
Also at the press conference, MOH's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said more children have been infected with COVID-19 this year compared with 2020.
Mak said that children are less vigilant and disciplined when following safe measures. Vaccination, he noted, could protect not just children but also the adults around them.
But he added that the authorities have not yet decided whether to prioritise vaccinations for children, and that this decision would be made at a later date.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong noted that Singapore has multiple tracks in its vaccination programme, including one that focuses on those in the education sector - teachers, staff and students.
Wong, a co-chairman of the task force, said that teachers have already been vaccinated along with students in university hostels.
These students were offered the shot due to the communal setting they live in, which poses a higher risk of infection.
"So both MOH and MOE will be now looking at vaccination as a next step under the education track for schoolgoing children, and we will update in due course," said Wong. -- PTI
18:36 India's future needs the present Modi 'system' shaken out of sleep: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the country would not have been in such a painful situation due to the coronavirus pandemic today had the government ensured easy access to vaccines.
He also said that a coronavirus vaccine-treatment protocol should already have been in place for children in the country.
"The country would not have been in such a painful situation today, if access to vaccines (against coronavirus) was as easy as arresting people under the Modi 'system' for raising questions. Stop Corona, not questions raised by the public," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
His tweet came in the backdrop of arrest of over a dozen of people after posters were put up in Delhi questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the export of coronavirus vaccines.
In another tweet, he added, "In the time to come, children will need protection from Corona. Paediatric services and vaccine-treatment protocol should already be in place," Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
"India's future needs for the present Modi 'system' to be shaken out of sleep," he said.
The former Congress chief and his party have been criticising the government's vaccination policy describing it discriminatory.
Gandhi has been demanding a vaccination protocol be put in place for protecting all Indians from COVID-19. -- PTI
17:58 Maha must produce 3000 MT of oxygen, urges CM
Maharashtra cannot afford to rely on others for medical oxygen in the present COVID-19 situation and priority must be given to produce 3,000 metric tons of the vital gas per day in the state itself, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday.
He was speaking after commissioning online an oxygen generation plant and inaugurating an RT-PCR laboratory in Saibaba General Hospital in Shirdi in Ahmednagar, some 240 kilometres from Mumbai.
An official release informed that Thackeray praised Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust for setting up these facilities as it would strengthen his government's efforts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. He said the SSST was following Saibaba's teachings on humanity and helping the poor during this hour of crisis.
The second wave of infections appears to be ebbing but the state must be prepared with health infrastructure as experts have predicted a third wave, the CM said. The second wave was a strong one and patients needed oxygen on a large-scale due to which the state government was encouraging the setting up of oxygen generation plants, he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, state Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Ahmednagar Guardian Minister Hasan Mushrif, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope and others took part in the ceremony via video conferencing, the statement said. PTI
17:57 Twin brothers die of COVID-19 within hours of each other
Nearly a month after celebrating their 24th birthday together, twin brothers in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut died due to COVID-19 within hours of each other, leaving the parents struggling to come to terms with their loss.
According to the family, Joefred Varghese Gregory breathed his last on May 13 and after a few hours, his brother Ralfred George Gregory also succumbed to the infection.
"We have struggled a lot, they wanted to give us a better life. The two were planning to move from Hyderabad to Korea and then to Germany. I don't know why God gave us this punishment," their father Gregory Raymond Rafael said in a choked voice as tears rolled down from his eyes.
The twin brothers had celebrated their 24th birthday together on April 23. "Both of them had stepped into the world simultaneously. Both of them also did computer engineering and got a job in Hyderabad. Didn't know that both of them would be sick together and would leave this world together, Rafael said. Their health started deteriorating on April 24. Initially, the two were treated at home but when the fever did not subside, they were admitted to a hospital on May 1. Rafael said their first test report confirmed coronavirus infection. By the time the second report came, the infection had spread to their lungs. PTI
17:15 India keeps close watch of PLA troops exercising in E Ladakh
More than a year after the Chinese army displayed aggression on the northern front, the People's Liberation Army is carrying out an exercise in their depth areas near the Eastern Ladakh sector.
The Indian armed forces are also fully alert this year despite the COVId-19 pandemic and keeping a close watch on all these movements of the Chinese forces there.
"The Chinese have been coming to these areas for many years where they hold their exercises in summer time. Last year also, they had come to these areas in the garb of exercises and diverted from here towards Eastern Ladakh aggressively," sources told ANI.
The Chinese troops are well within their traditional areas with distances at some places ranging from 100 kms and beyond, they said.
Sources said the development is important as the two sides are still discussing issues related to existing friction points including hot springs and Gogra heights after the mutual withdrawal of troops from the Pangong lake area by both sides.
The Indian side has also seen summer deployment of troops at forward locations in eastern Ladakh and other sectors.
Senior officials from the forces deployed on the front have also reviewed security situation in forward areas recently and are keeping a close watch on the situation there, the sources said.
The forces deployed by the Indian side in Ladakh include the Indo Tibetan Border Police, Indian Air Force, and Indian Army which is now at the forward most locations in the sector.
16:52 Delhi govt announces Rs 50,000 ex-gratia for Covid deaths
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announces compensation for Covid-19 destitute."Every family that has had a death due to COVID-19 among them, will be given Rs 50,000 each as ex-gratia. Families where the breadwinner has died, will be given Rs 2500 monthly pension besides the ex-gratia. If husband dies, pension will be given to the wife, if wife dies it will be given to the husband. If an unmarried person dies, the pension will be given to his/her parents. Children orphaned due to Covid-19 or with one parent already dead and the other parent succumbing to Covid, will be given Rs 2,500 monthly pension till they attain the age of 25 years. They will be provided free education.
16:43 Of strawberry fields and sun-kissed Kashmiri summers
Amid all the gloom and doom of the Covid 2nd wave, this makes for a sunshine moment. Farmers sort strawberries on the outskirts of Srinagar. Strawberry is the first fruit that grows after six months of harsh winter in Kashmir and is supplied to various parts of north India including Delhi. Pic: Umar Ganie.
16:36 1.8% of India's population infected by Covid-19
GOI health ministry update on Covid-19:
-- 8 States with more than 1 lakh active cases. 10 States with more than 50,000 -1,00,00 active cases and 18 States with less than 50,000 active cases. Maharashtra, UP, Delhi, Bihar, MP and Chhattisgath showing a decline in COVID-19 cases.
-- Case positivity rate at 14.10% in the country today.
-- On May 3, recovery rate was 81.7%, which has increased to 85.6% now. 4,22,436 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours, the highest-ever for the country. A clear positive trend can be observed in Covid-19 recoveries.
-- 1.8% of total population of India has been affected by the disease so far. We have been able to contain the spread of the infection to under 2% of the population.
199 districts in the country showing continued decline in cases and positivity since last 3 weeks:
16:10 Sensex recaptures 50,000-level; Nifty above 15K
Equity benchmark Sensex rallied 613 points to settle above the 50,000-mark on Tuesday, driven by gains in index-heavyweights HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries and Bajaj Finance amid a positive trend in global markets.
At the closing bell, the 30-share BSE index was quoted 612.60 points or 1.24 per cent higher at 50,193.33.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty went past the psychological 15,000-level, and closed 184.95 points or 1.24 per cent higher at 15,108.10. M&M was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying nearly 6 per cent, followed by Bajaj Auto, Titan, Bajaj Finance, HDFC Bank and PowerGrid. Bharti Airtel, ITC, Dr Reddy's and SBI were the laggards.
"Domestic equities extended gains as early sign of decline in COVID-19 daily caseload and improving prospects of faster economic recovery emboldened investors," said Binod Modi, Head Strategy at Reliance Securities.
Strong cues from Asian markets also supported the rally, he added. Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended on a positive note. Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with gains in mid-session deals. Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.82 per cent higher at USD 70.03 per barrel. PTI
16:06 DoT permits intra-circle roaming in cyclone-hit districts of Guj, Maha, Goa
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has allowed intra-circle roaming arrangement in cyclone Tauktae-hit districts of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu for 24 hours, a senior government official said Tuesday.
The department has allowed intra-circle roaming (ICR), which allows telecom operators to use each others network, in Gujarat's Amreli, Bhavnagar, Botad, Gir, Somnath, Junagadh, Valsad and Navsari in Gujarat, and also in districts of Daman and Diu, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, telecom secretary Anshu Prakash told PTI.
"We have allowed ICR in districts where more than 10 per cent telecom networks have been damaged from the cyclone," Prakash said. He said that ICR has been allowed in Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts of Maharashtra as well as in north and south Goa.
15:37 Kejriwal asksCentre to cancel flights from Singapore
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday appealed to the Central government to immediately cancel all air services with Singapore, saying a new strain of coronavirus there is said to be "very dangerous" for children. This new strain of virus could invade India in the form of a third wave, he said in a tweet.
"The new form of coronavirus in Singapore is said to be very dangerous for children. It could reach Delhi in the form of a third wave. My appeal to the Central government: 1. Cancel all air services with Singapore with immediate effect 2. Work on vaccine alternatives for children on a priority basis," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi. PTI
15:25 UP govt inviting 3rd Covid wave: Priyanka
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday hit out at the Yogi Adityanath dispensation over the alleged low Covid-19 testing in Uttar Pradesh, and asked if the state government was preparing to make way for a third wave and then fight it.
Her attack on the government came a day after the Allahabad High Court said the entire medical system in villages and small cities of Uttar Pradesh is at God's mercy ('Ram bharose').
"Only 800-1,000 RT-PCR tests are being conducted every day for the same 32 lakh population of Bijnor. The honourable high court has said that 4,000-5,000 RT-PCR tests should be done daily in a district like Bijnor or else we are inviting the third wave," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Is the UP government preparing to make way for the third wave and then fight it," the Congress general secretary said, tagging media reports on the high court's observations.
"If a self-praising government was not there in Lucknow, it would have tried to look at the reality of COVID-19 in the 'Indira Gramin Kshetra' just 35 km away," Gandhi said in another tweet in Hindi and shared a media report on it.
"Neither there is testing, nor treatment, nor medical kits, but the government says that everything is fit," she said.
The Allahabad High Court had made the 'Ram Bharose' observation while hearing a PIL over the coronavirus spread and the condition of quarantine centres in the state.
A high court bench of justices Siddharth Verma and Ajit Kumar made the observation while taking into account the death of Santosh Kumar (64), who was admitted to an isolation ward at a Meerut hospital. Gandhi and other Opposition leaders have hit out at the state government over the handling of the COVID-19 situation, while the UP government has been rejecting all such criticism. PTI
15:04 Haryana hero who cremated 300, dies of Covid
An official of the Hisar Municipal Corporation, who ensured a dignified funeral for over 300 Covid-19 victims ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, succumbed to the disease barely two days after testing positive, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Praveen Kumar, 43, died at a private hospital on Monday night, the spokesperson of the municipal corporation said. Kumar was the head of the team formed by the municipal corporation to cremate the bodies of coronavirus patients.
"He had cremated over 300 COVID bodies so far since last year. He tested positive two days ago. He was admitted to a private hospital, where his oxygen level kept dipping due to which he died, the spokesperson said. Kumar was also the president of Municipal Corporation Safai Karamchari Union. His last rites were performed at a cremation ground in Rishi Nagar here on Tuesday as per the COVID guidelines.
Police man the coastline at Veraval, Gujarat.
14:55 Cyclone: Power supply to be restored in entire Goa by May 19
The electricity supply in Goa snapped due to the cyclonic storm Tauktae will be restored by Wednesday, the state electricity department said on Tuesday.
Most areas in Goa plunged into darkness on Sunday after high-speed winds coupled with rains uprooted transmission cables, poles and trees.
"We have managed to restore 80 per cent of the snapped electricity supply in Goa. Rest 20 per cent supply would be restored by tomorrow (Wednesday) morning," a senior official said.
He said the restoration work is going on in the state round-the-clock. "The damage caused by the cyclone is huge," the official said, adding more than 700-800 low tension poles lay broken while over 100 high tension 11 KV poles are damaged.
Besides, more than 30 Distribution Transformer Centres (DTCs) have been destroyed while the other 200 DTCs are hit by a glitch. The department is trying to re-erect four to five 33 KV towers that fell due to high-speed winds, he added. "Several electric conductors have snapped while kilometres of electricity cable has been damaged," he added. PTI
14:49 Live-in-relationships morally, socially unacceptable: Punjab and Haryana HC
The Punjab and Haryana high court has said a live-in-relationship is morally and socially unacceptable while dismissing a petition filed by a runaway couple seeking protection.
Petitioners Gulza Kumari, 19, and Gurwinder Singh, 22, in the petition had stated that they were residing together and intended to get married shortly.
They had apprehended danger to their lives from Kumari's parents.
"As a matter of fact, the petitioners in the garb of filing the present petition are seeking seal of approval on their live-in-relationship, which is morally and socially not acceptable and no protection order in the petition can be passed. The petition stands dismissed accordingly," Justice H S Madaan said in his May 11 order.
According to petitioner's counsel J S Thakur, Singh and Kumari were living together in Tarn Taran district.
He said Kumari's parents, who are in Ludhiana, did not approve of their relationship.
The couple could not get married as Kumari's documents, which have details of her age, were in possession of her family, Thakur added. -- PTI
14:47 Maha: Cyclone snaps power of 18 lakh consumers
Cyclonic storm 'Tauktae', which hit the Gujarat coast in Saurashtra region between Diu and Una on Monday night after passing close to the Konkan coast in Maharashtra, disrupted the power supply of 18.43 lakh consumers in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, an official release said on Tuesday.
Supply of 52 per cent of these consumers from 3,665 villages in these two districts has been restored while efforts are on on a war footing to restore electricity in the rest of the areas, it said.
Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut said 13,172 staffers are working tirelessly to restore the supply of the remaining consumers, the statement said.
A total of 13,389 citizens from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts were shifted to safer places, it said.
In Raigad district, 8,383 people were evacuated to safer places, as per the Maharashtra disaster management department. Ratnagiri and Palghar districts saw the shifting of 4,563 and 200 people, respectively.
In Sindhudurg and Thane, 190 and 53 persons were shifted, respectively.
The landfall process of the eye of the extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae, which hit the Gujarat coast in Saurashtra region between Diu and Una, ended around midnight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said.
The cyclonic storm lashed Mumbai and other districts in the Konkan region on Monday with heavy rains and high-speed winds. -- PTI
14:08 Congress helping in pandemic a PR exercise: BJP
The BJP hit out at the Congress on Tuesday over an alleged toolkit of the opposition party, saying it wants to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling the new strain of the coronavirus the "India strain" or the "Modi strain".
Citing the toolkit, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra said according to the document, it is clear that the Congress extending help to the needy during the pandemic is "more of a public relations exercise with the help of friendly journalists and influencers than a soulful endeavour".
In accordance with the agenda of the toolkit, the Congress has instructed its social media volunteers to call the new mutant strain of COVID-19 the "Modi strain" or the "India strain", Patra claimed in a tweet.
"Disgusting to say the least Rahul Gandhi wants to use this opportunity of pandemic to destroy the image of Prime Minister Modi. Congress workers instructed to call the mutant strain as Modi strain," he wrote on Twitter. The BJP leader further alleged that no stone has been left unturned to tarnish India's image with the help of foreign journalists.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the new strain of the coronavirus would not be named after India, but the Congress wants to do so. The opposition party is ready to tarnish the country's image for its politics, Patra said.
He further alleged that the "Congress toolkit" has also suggested calling the Kumbh Mela the "Super Spreader Kumbh". However, the Congress denied the allegation. "BJP is propagating a fake 'toolkit' on 'COVID-19 mismanagement' and attributing it to AICC Research Department. We are filing an FIR for forgery against BJP chief JP Nadda and Sambit Patra. When our country is devastated by COVID, instead of providing relief, BJP shamelessly concocts forgeries," the research department chief of the opposition party, Rajeev Gowda, said in a tweet. PTI
13:40 Ex-health minister KK Shailaja not in Kerala govt
Former Kerala health minister KK Shailaja, praised for handling the Covid pandemic, is not part of the Kerala cabinet. The CPM government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to exclude KK Shailaja following the decision to add new ministers to the Cabinet. Shailaja had won the polls with a record margin of over 60,000 votes. She is known as the best woman CPM leader in Kerala after Gouri Amma and Susheela Gopalan.
13:13 "Entire Families" Wiped Out By Covid In Rural India: Report
The Centre would do well to read this: "After devastating India's biggest cities, the latest Covid-19 wave is now ravaging rural areas across the world's second-most populous country. And most villages have no way to fight the virus."
Read the report here.
13:11 Continuous efforts to increase vaccine supply: PM
Update: Narendra Modi interacts with district and state officials on the Covid-19 situation: "Continuous efforts are being made to increase the supply of COVID vaccines on a large scale. Health Ministry is streamlining the system and process of vaccination. Attempt is being made to give a schedule of next 15 days to the states in advance.
"This will help people in the district know when the vaccine will be made available and prepare accordingly."
The PM also said there is a dip in the number of COVID-19 cases in some states while increase in others. "As the cases are decreasing, we need to be more alert. I have been requesting in the meetings which were held in last one year that our fight is to save every single life.
"In the battle against this virus, our weapons are local containment zone, aggressive testing and sending correct and complete information to the people."
13:00 PM holds meet on controlling Covid in rural India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held a meeting with field officials from states and districts about their experience in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa also attended the virtual meeting where Union Home Minister Amit Shah was present.
Office of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister in a statement said, "Shivraj Singh Chouhan is taking part in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on COVID19."
"You all are playing a very important role in the battle against Corona. In a way, you are the field commanders of this battle," Modi said.
"Last time, we didn't shut the farming sector. I was astonished to see how villagers were maintaining social distancing in the fields. Villages grasp the information and modify it according to their needs. This is the strength of villages," the PM added.
Office of Chief Commissioner, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) confirmed Yediyurappa's presence in the meeting.According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), officials from Karnataka, Bihar, Assam, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi will take part in the meeting.
"Through their interaction with the Prime Minister, the officials will share some best practices, in addition to suggestions and recommendations for continuing our ongoing battle against COVID-19, especially in semi-urban and rural areas," the statement said.
The battle against COVID-19 across various states and districts is being led at the cutting edge by field-level officials. Many of them have shown great initiative and come out with imaginative solutions.
"A better appreciation of such initiatives will help towards developing an effective response plan, targeted strategy implementation and support necessary policy interventions," the PMO said. -- ANI
12:52 Randhir Kapoor discharged from hospital
Veteran actor Randhir Kapoor, who was admitted to a hospital here after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, has been discharged, a hospital source said Tuesday. The 74-year-old actor returned home on Sunday from the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, where he was under treatment since April 28.
"(Randhir Kapoor) He is doing well and was discharged from the hospital on Sunday," a hospital insider told PTI. He was previously shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a day or two.
12:25 Migrants' exodus begins as Delhi extends lockdown
Migrant workers started heading for their home towns on Tuesday morning as the government of Delhi extended lockdown for the fourth time in the national capital after the second coronavirus wave.
Many migrant workers were seen at the Anand Vihar terminal trying to catch a train to their native places as they fear that yet another extension lockdown will leave them stranded with no food, money or work.
A migrant worker from Jharkhand, Subhodh Mandal waiting for his train told ANI, "The company shut down here. We have to pay rent, buy ration and send money back home, how will we survive here. We cannot stay hungry for long."
He further said, "Poor people are the ones who suffer. They suffer the most, others have no problems."
"I am going back to my home in Arrah (Bihar). The company is closed. For how many days will we stay hungry, that is why I thought that I should go back. My mother is also in a serious condition at home, there is no one to look after her. I have no money to buy food. Lockdown has been extended. What to do?," asked Ramji, another migrant worker.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday informed that lockdown in the national capital has been extended by one more week till next Monday.
The national capital has been under a lockdown since April 19 in view of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the second wave of the pandemic.The daily count of cases in Delhi has seen a steady decline over the last few days and the positivity rate dropped too.
Basharat Peer. Kind courtesy: @BasharatPeer
12:21 Basharat Peer leaves NYT
Basharat Peer, the former Rediff.com journalist and author of Curfewed Night, a memoir on his native Kashmir, is 'leaving the NYT, where he was a staff editor for international opinion. He will remain a contributing writer for opinion and will also work on a number of long-term writing projects', Politico Playbook reported on Monday night.
People line up to get vaccinated.
12:17 Top medical experts welcome move to remove plasma therapy from COVID-19 treatment
Several top medical experts have welcomed the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)'s updated advisory released on Monday dropping the use of convalescent plasma from recommended treatment protocols for COVID-19.
Ganga Ram Hospital chairman Dr DS Rana said plasma therapy has failed to change the "course of mortality" and asserted that some scientists are also of the view that it is helping in promoting mutations and variants.
"I think it is wise that plasma therapy has been taken off the list because over a period of one year it has failed to change the course of mortality. Every step taken should absolutely be based on the evidence. Some scientists are also of the view that this is helping in promoting mutations and variants," he added.
With an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, there has been an unprecedented spur in the demand for plasma which many experts believe to have done more harm than good. -- ANI
Union minister Sanjeev Balyan
12:13 Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan's brother dies of Covid
Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan's brother, Jitender Balyan, died in AIIMS, Delhi due to Covid-19 on Tuesday, according to family members. Jitender Balyan, who was the cousin brother of the union minister, was elected as the village head of Kutba village in Muzaffarnagar district in the recently concluded panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh. He got infected with COVID-19 during election campaigning and was being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, family members said. -- PTI
11:55 Mumbai records highest ever 24-hour rain in May
Mumbai received 230 mm rainfall due to the cyclonic storm Tauktae, with a weather expert claiming it to be the highest 24-hour downpour in May in the recorded history.
According to the India Meteorological Department's Mumbai centre, the Santacruz observatory (representative of suburbs) recorded 230.3 mm rainfall in the 24-hour period ending at 8.30 am on Tuesday.
Besides, the Colaba observatory (representative of south Mumbai) recorded 207.6 mm rain during the same period. As per the IMD's calculations, rainfall above 204.5 mm is considered as extremely heavy, "Mumbai (Santacruz): 230 mm in last 24 hrs due to cyclone effect, this is the highest 24hrs rain in Mumbai in May in the recorded history. #CycloneTauktae," Vineet Kumar, a researcher on cyclones in the north Indian Ocean at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, tweeted on Tuesday.
The IMD's head SID, Climate Research & Services at Pune, K S Hosalikar retweeted Kumar's post. Gusty winds and heavy showers lashed Mumbai and its neighbouring areas on Monday when the very severe cyclonic storm Tauktae passed close to the coast here while moving towards Gujarat. PTI
11:47 2nd Covid wave under control in Maha: Sena
The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra on Tuesday claimed that the state has controlled the second wave of Covid-19. The state will now also successfully find a way out of the crisis caused by cyclone Tauktae, an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana said.
"Crises are not new to Maharashtra and the state, which routs these crises, is not new to the world...," said the Shiv Sena, which one of the three key constituents of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi in the state.
"Maharashtra controlled the first and second waves of COVID-19. Defeated Nisarga (cyclone last year). Now, Maharashtra will successfully find a way out of the Tauktae cyclone crisis too," the editorial said. On Monday, Maharashtra reported 26,616 new cases of COVID-19, taking the overall count to 54,05,068, while 516 deaths pushed the toll to 82,486, as per official figures. PTI
The obit for former IMA president Dr KK Aggarwal
11:33 270 doctors have died in 2nd Covid wave in India
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday said 270 doctors across the country have succumbed to the coronavirus infection in the second wave of the pandemic so far. The list of the deceased doctors includes former IMA president Dr K K Aggarwal, who succumbed to the deadly virus on Monday.
Bihar saw the maximum number of 78 deaths of medical practitioners, followed by Uttar Pradesh (37), Delhi (29) and Andhra Pradesh (22). According to the IMA COVID-19 registry, 748 doctors succumbed to the disease in the first wave of the pandemic.
"Last year, 748 doctors across India succumbed to COVID-19, while in the current wave, in a short period, we have lost 270 doctors. "The second wave of the pandemic is turning out to be extremely fatal for all and especially for the healthcare workers who are at the forefront," IMA president Dr JA Jayalal said. PTI
11:16 2 TMC leaders arrested yesterday hospitalised
TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former minister Sovhan Chatterjee admitted to SSKM hospital's Woodburn block on complaint of breathing problem at around 3 am. CBI arrested TMC's Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovhan Chatterjee in connection with Narada case yesterday.
11:12 WHO reminds SII of global vaccine commitments
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that once the devastating COVID-19 outbreak in India recedes, the Serum Institute of India will need to get back on track and catch up on its delivery commitments to COVAX, the global initiative to supply coronavirus vaccines to nations around the world.
During a daily virtual press briefing on Monday, the World Health Organisation Director-General said that the surge in COVID-19 cases around the world has compromised the global vaccine supply and there is already a shortfall of 190 million doses to COVAX by the end of June. COVAX, the global COVID vaccine equity scheme, has so far delivered 65 million doses to 124 countries and economies but it is dependent on countries and manufacturers honouring their commitments.
Once the devastating outbreak in India recedes, we also need the Serum Institute of India to get back on track and catch up on its delivery commitments to COVAX, Ghebreyesus said.
The UN children's agency UNICEF said the devastating surge in coronavirus cases in India has impacted vaccine supplies to the COVAX facility. Among the global consequences of the situation in India, a global hub for vaccine production, is a severe reduction in vaccines available to COVAX.
Soaring domestic demand has meant that 140 million doses intended for distribution to low- and middle-income countries through the end of May cannot be accessed by COVAX. Another 50 million doses are likely to be missed in June, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement.
A note to editors in the UNICEF statement said that shortfall numbers are based on delays related to shipments from the Serum Institute of India (SII) only. Other delays related to the original COVAX delivery schedule are expected to be made up by the end of June. There is currently no timetable to resolve SII-related delays, the note said
10:57 Cyclone Tauktae to weaken in 3 hours: IMD
The severe cyclonic storm Tauktae lay centred about 210 km southwest of Ahmedabad and 130 km south-southwest of Surendranagar at 8.30 am and is expected to weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during the next three hours, the India meteorological department has said.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held a high-level review meeting on the cyclone situation and rainfall conditions in the state, specially in the 14 coastal districts.
Six Army rescue and relief teams have been activated for rescue and relief operations in Diu while six additional Army teams have also been staged forward to Junagarh to deal with the aftereffects of the cyclone and at other places like Botad, Amreli and Bhavnagar, the Indian Army said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to chief ministers of the cyclone-affected states -- Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat and the administrators of the Union territory of Dadra And Nagar Haveli for an update on the situation and to find out if they required any help from the Centre.
10:43 Badrinath reopens after winter break
The famous temple of Badrinath in the upper Himalayan region of Uttarakhand opened after the winter break early on Tuesday amid traditional rituals.
The chief priest of the temple, Ishwar Prasad Namboodiri, opened the portals of the temple at 4.15 am chanting Vedic hymns and praying for the well-being of all.
However, the opening ceremony was a subdued affair with only a limited number of people, including the priests, the dharmadhikari and administrative officials, attending it in compliance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures.
For the second consecutive year, the temple witnessed a simple, thinly-attended opening ceremony.
With the opening of Badrinath, all the four Himalayan temples known as Char Dham are now open in Uttarakhand.
Kedarnath opened on Monday while Yamunotri and Gangotri opened on May 14 and 15 respectively.
However, they have been kept out of bounds for pilgrims for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic.
09:55 Intense rain likely in Mumbai; 3 dead
The IMD has forecast moderate to intense spells of rain in Mumbai city and suburbs over the next few hours on Tuesday in the aftermath of cyclone Tauktae, the city civic body said.
Along with the rain, the city could witness gusty winds with speed reaching up to 80-90 kmph, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said quoting the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast issued at 7 am.
According to officials, two people were killed in neighbouring Palghar and one person died in Thane in separate incidents related to the severe cyclonic storm.
Between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm on Monday, when the cyclone passed close from the Mumbai coast towards Gujarat, 189 mm rain was recorded at Colaba in south Mumbai and 194 mm at Santacruz in the western suburbs, the BMC said.
Gusty winds reaching the speed of 114 kmph and heavy showers lashed Mumbai and its neighbouring areas on Monday, the civic body earlier said.
In neighbouring Palghar, a 51-year-old auto-rickshaw driver was killed after a tree fell on his vehicle in Valiv area of the district on Monday, police said.
Besides, a 40-year-old man died after being crushed by cement blocks that fell from the roof of a house due to high winds in Valiv area, they said.
In Thane, a 75-year-old woman was killed after a tree collapsed on her house in Kashimira area due to heavy rains, police said.
A highcompound wall of a housing complex collapsed in Lokpuram area of Thane in the wee hours of Tuesday, but there was no casualty, regional disaster management cell (RDMC) chief Santosh Kadam said.
Electric poles and trees got uprooted in several areas, including Naupada, damaging about six cars, he said.
A doctor, who was on his way to a hospital on Monday, got trapped when huge tree fell on his car in Naupada area.
On getting information about the incident, a team of the RDMC and local fire personnel rushed to the spot and pulled him out safely, Kadam said. -- PTI
09:28 Arrested TMC leaders taken to Presidency jail
In the ongoing investigation in the West Bengal's Narada scam, Trinamool Congress Ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, MLA Madan Mitra and Former Mayor of Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee were taken to Presidency Jail.
As per sources, "Four leaders had been granted the bail from the special CBI court. But later on, CBI moved to the high court citing that the investigation could not be carried on because they are influential."
While briefly speaking to ANI after leaving from the office, TMC leader Madan Mitra said, "The central government, mainly both the leaders can't accept the recent poll verdict of the people of Bengal. The ball has started rolling..."
Speaking in this matter, Firhad Hakim's daughter, Shabba Hakim told ANI, "It's a conspiracy by PM Modi and Amit Shah as they could not win Bengal democratically. Now they want to win it by arresting the most popular leaders and creating conspiracies to pave the way for a presidential rule."
"The bail was granted but for four hours they were illegally detained and somehow CBI knew that the bail will be cancelled. Our lawyers didn't even appear before the high court and bail got cancelled", she said.
Earlier, a team of doctors arrived at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)'s office for a medical check-up of four TMC leaders who were arrested, in connection with Narada Scam. -- ANI
08:45 Eminent cardiologist Dr K K Aggarwal dies of COVID-19
Padma Shri awardee and eminent cardiologist Dr K K Aggarwal has died of COVID-19, a statement posted on his Twitter handle said.
Dr Aggarwal, 62, who was the former national president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and was on ventilator support since last week.
According to the statement, he passed away at 11.30 pm on Monday after a 'lengthy battle with COVID-19'.
'Even during the pandemic, he made constant efforts to educate the masses and was able to reach out to 100 million people through numerous videos and educational programmes and saved countless lives. He wanted his life to be celebrated and not mourned,' the statement said. -- PTI
08:21 Navy rescues 132 from barge adrift off Mumbai
The Indian Navy has rescued 132 people on board a barge that went adrift in the Arabia Sea near Mumbai hours before a very severe cyclonic storm with winds gusting up to 185 km per hour made landfall on the Gujarat coast, an official said on Tuesday.
The Navy had deployed three of its frontline warships after receiving messages to rescue 410 people on board two barges off the Mumbai coast on Monday.
The ships deployed to extend assistance to the two barges were INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Talwar.
"A total of 132 persons from Barge P305 have been rescued in extremely challenging sea conditions," a Navy spokesperson said on Tuesday morning.
The Search and Rescue (SAR) operations continued through the night for the remaining crew, he said.
"In a separate effort, INS Kolkata rescued two survivors from the life raft of vessel Vara Prabha, and joined INS Kochi for the SAR of Barge P305 crew," he said.
Gal Constructor, another barge with 137 persons onboard has been adrift off the Colaba Point, eight nautical miles from Mumbai coast due to engine trouble, he said.
"This vessel was approached by the Emergency Towing Vessel 'Water Lily' that arrived in its vicinity for rendering assistance. The barge continues to drift N'ly because of extreme sea condition," he said.
These ongoing rescue efforts will be augmented by naval aircraft and helicopters, weather permitting on Tuesday and the SAR efforts will continue through the day, the spokesperson said.
"On receipt of a request for assistance for barge 'P305' adrift off Heera oil fields in Bombay high area with 273 personnel onboard, INS Kochi was swiftly sailed with a despatch for search and rescue assistance," the Navy officer said.
The oil fields are around 70 km southwest of Mumbai.
The Navy spokesperson said the rescue operations on Barge 305 are being undertaken amid extreme weather conditions. -- PTI
00:09 Delhi has less than a day's stock of Covaxin: AAP
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi said on Monday that Delhi has less than a day's stock of Covaxin left for the 45-plus age group and they will have to temporarily shut down centres administering it.
While issuing the vaccination bulletin, Atishi said Delhi also started walk-in vaccination for 45-plus, healthcare and frontline workers from Monday.
She said there are 97 schools where such centres have been opened as there are many people who don't have smartphones and can't register online.
"Approximately, we have calculated that a total of 57 lakh people in Delhi are above 45 years. Thus, a huge segment of the population cannot access the CoWIN platform and complete the registration process," she said.
Pointing out at the shortage of vaccines, she said, "We urge the Centre to supply us vaccines for the 18-44 age group since the new strain of coronavirus is affecting young people.
"We will have five days stock of Covishield, but less than a day's stock of Covaxin for 45-plus age group after today's vaccination," she said.
Atishi said they have only four days of Covishield left for the 18-44 age group.
Approximately, more than 22 lakh people got themselves vaccinated after registering on CoWIN, she said.
Atishi said for the 45-plus segment, Delhi had received a total of 44,94,250 doses, of which 42,00,690 have been utilised.
The national capital is left with nearly 2,93,000 doses, of which 58,000 are of Covaxin and 2,35,000 of Covishield.
"We will have no choice but to temporarily shut down 50 vaccination centres administering Covaxin to this segment after tomorrow," she said.
In case Delhi doesn't receive new stock of Covaxin by the Union government, more centres will have to be shut down, she said.
On May 16, a total of 90,832 doses were administered, according to data shared by the legislator.
"This number is slightly lower than the usual doses given on a daily basis, only because the gap between first and second dose of Covishield has been increased up to 12-16 weeks by the central government. Hence, the first doses administered accounted for 79,353 and the second for 11,479. So, all in all, until now, 45,81,752 doses have been administered," she said.
As many as 10,57,950 people have been fully vaccinated while 35,23,802 have received the first dose until now, she said. -- PTI