Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]

Follow him

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, May 03:

Nearly 24 patients, including some COVID-19 positive, died at district hospital in Chamarajanagar, the southernmost in Karnataka, allegedly due to the shortage of oxygen on Monday.
The incident took place at a district hospital in Chamarajanagar where at least 144 patients are being treated. A pall of gloom descended on the Chamarajanagar district hospital as the grieving kin of the deceased gathered after hearing the news. Family members of the dead also staged a demonstration at the hospital and alleged there was a shortage of oxygen and raised slogans. The district officials have, however, denied the allegations that all the patients died due to oxygen shortage at the hospital.
A total of 250 oxygen cylinders were sent to the hospital from Mysore in the middle of the night as an emergency stock as the oxygen cylinders that were supposed to come from Ballari (Bellary)(north-eastern part of Karnataka) did not reach the hospital due to a delay in supply.
Chamarajanagar district in-charge Minister S Suresh Kumar, who is also the Primary and Secondary Education Minister, said he has ordered a death audit report from the district administration into the incident. “We are waiting for the death audit report,” Suresh Kumar said. However all the deaths did not occur due to oxygen shortage. “It’s not appropriate to say that all the 24 deaths happened due to oxygen shortage. These deaths happened from Sunday morning to this morning. The oxygen shortage happened in the wee hours of Monday — from 12.30 am to 2.30 am,” Suresh Kumar said. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa called the officials to inquire into the incident in Chamarajanagar.
In the meanwhile Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the central government over the Chamarajanagar incident and the deaths that have been reported across the country due to the oxygen shortage. “Died or Killed? My heartfelt condolences to their families. How much more suffering before the ‘system’ wakes up?” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
Hospitals across the country, especially the states that have been witnessing an upsurge in the COVID-19 cases, have been sending out desperate messages of help on social media and other platforms, flagging their dwindling stocks of oxygen.

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, May 2:

All banks, be it private or public sector, will be closed for 12 days in May throughout the country, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) holiday calendar list.  
The COVID-19 pandemic has already forced banks to cut short it’s working hours and staff attendance to 50%. These holidays have been notified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under three brackets — the Negotiable Instruments Act, Holiday, Real Time Gross Settlement Holiday, and Banks’ Closing of Accounts.  
The banks will also remain closed on the second and the fourth Saturdays in May and four Sundays. The banks will also operate from 10 AM to 2 PM, as per the new guidelines. 
However, all banking services that are online seem to be available including ATMs, mobile banking, and online banking services even during holidays. 
Bank holidays in May 2021:
May 1, 2021: Maharashtra Din/May Day (Labour Day)
May 2, 2021: Weekly off (Sunday), May 7, 2021: Jumat-ul-Vida,
May 8, 2021: Second Saturday, May 9, 2021: Weekly off (Sunday),
May 13, 2021: Ramzan-Id (Id-Ul-Fitr) (Shawal-1),
May 14, 2021: Bhagvan Shree Parshuram Jayanti/Ramjan-Eid (Eid-UI-Fitra)/Basava Jayanti/Akshaya Tritiya,
May 16, 2021: Weekly off (Sunday),
May 22, 2021: Fourth Saturday,
May 23, 2021: Weekly off (Sunday),
May 26, 2021: Buddha Pournima and
May 30, 2021: Weekly off (Sunday).

By IT Correspondent
New Delhi, April 29:
Given the COVID-19 crisis worsening at an astonishing pace, the US’s State Department in  a Level 4 travel advisory, on Wednesday advised its  citizens to get out of India as soon as possible.

The US state department, in a highest of its kind Level 4 travel advisory, advised U.S. citizens “not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.” There are 14 direct daily flights between India and the U.S. and other services that connect through Europe, the department https://www.google.com/url?q=https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/India.html%23/&source=gmail&ust=1619788404104000&usg=AFQjCNHnga2wcjl0FCN1KHoEgf76-Tggwg">said. Access to medical care is severely limited due to COVID-19 cases. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should use available commercial options now. Daily direct flights to the US and flights via Paris and Frankfurt are available, it added.

“Indian authorities and hospitals are struggling to cope with unprecedented COVID-19  infections and deaths. Official data on Thursday showed new cases rose by a staggering 379,257 over the prior 24 hours, another record, while 3,645 additional lives were lost. More than 204,800 people have died” it said.

U.S. citizens are reporting being denied admittance to hospitals in some cities due to a lack of space,” the https://www.google.com/url?q=https://in.usembassy.gov/health-alert/&source=gmail&ust=1619788404104000&usg=AFQjCNFbN663arCPiZecuwkTrQlcO_7vpg">website of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India said in a health alert. All routine U.S. citizen services and visa services at the U.S. Consulate General Chennai have been cancelled.

The unfolding tragedy is prompting some of the world’s biggest corporations to organize aid. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/AMZN:US&source=gmail&ust=1619788404104000&usg=AFQjCNHqHC-SfMnPcFDRxkpoZlBYhfvGBQ">Amazon.com Inc. is harnessing its global logistics supply chain to airlift 100 ICU ventilator units from the U.S. and the equipment will reach India in the next two weeks. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/MSFT:US&source=gmail&ust=1619788404104000&usg=AFQjCNGhQF4-0MelVOWm72J8Pl4SM-ZFcw">Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said he was “heartbroken” by the situation and the tech behemoth is using its voice, resources and technology to aid relief efforts and help buy oxygen concentrators.

The virus has gripped India’s populace with a severity not seen in its first wave. Mass funeral pyres, lines of ambulances outside overcrowded hospitals and desperate pleas on social media for oxygen pose a challenge of tackling the latest outbreak.

In the meanwhile as per union health ministry, the total number of COVID-19 infected people reached up to  1,73,76,524 of which 2,04,832 died. On Wednesday 3,79,257 people tested positive, 3645 died and 2,69,507 were discharged across the country. The number of tests conducted reached 28,44,71,979 on Wednesday, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, April 28:

Ahead of its planned drive to inoculate all aged above 18 from May 01, the Union Government has asked Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) and Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech, manufacturers of “Covishield” and “Covaxin” respectively, to reduce prices of COVID-19 vaccines.
 SII - the world’s largest vaccine maker in terms of volume has announced a price of Rs 400 per dose for its ‘Covishield’, for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals. Whereas Bharat Biotech has fixed the price of “Covaxin”, at Rs 600 per dose for state governments and Rs 1,200 per dose for private hospitals. Both vaccines are available to the central government at a rate of Rs 150 per dose. 

States demand ‘one nation, one price’
Many states have objected to different prices of the vaccines, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying this is not time for profiteering. Kejriwal has also appealed to the vaccine manufacturers to bring down the price to Rs 150 a dose, saying that they have an entire lifetime to earn profits but this is a time to show humanity. He said the central government should cap the price of vaccines if needed. 
Terming the new anti-COVID-19 vaccine policy “discriminatory and insensitive”, the Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala has claimed that “The population below 45 years of age is 101 crore. To vaccinate them, we need 202 crore doses and the cost of these will have to be borne by the states or the individuals themselves. Based on this and assuming that states will provide 50 percent vaccination and individuals will bear 50 percent of vaccination cost, the profit of the two vaccine manufacturers — SII and Bharat Biotech — will be Rs 1,11,100 crore.” 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to amend the policy adopted by the Centre and provide the entire quantity of the vaccine free of cost to the state governments. The open market distributors may be permitted to have a specified quota of vaccine for which affordable price has to be fixed so that unscrupulous players do not exploit the public,’’ Vijayan has said. 
Modi has made it clear that the Government will not import COVID-19 vaccines and the matter should be left to the states. He has said that the government would instead aim to support domestic vaccine makers by guaranteeing purchases from them. After cases began soaring this month, Modi’s government urged Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to seek permission to sell their shots in India, and he relaxed rules for them. 

SII defends vaccine pricing
However, the SII has defended pricing saying the earlier price was based on advance funding and now it has to invest in scaling up and expanding capacity to produce more shots.
In a statement on Saturday, the Serum Institute clarified that there was an “inaccurate comparison” done between the global prices of the vaccine with India. “Covishield is the most affordable COVID-19 vaccine available in the market today,” SII said. 
In a statement, SII said that “for the next two months, we will address the limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production. Going ahead, 50% of our capacities will be served to the Government of India’s vaccination program, and the remaining 50% of the capacity will be for the state governments and private hospitals.”

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.