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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]

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Maharashtra Minister tests positive for COVID-19

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, May 25:

Maharashtra PWD minister and former chief minister Ashok Chavan has tested positive for coronavirus. Chavan has been admitted at a hospital in his home town in Nanded in Marathwada region.
He contracted the infection a few days back and was reportedly under home quarantine. Now his condition has been described as stable. He has been travelling between Mumbai and Nanded frequently. As of now 06 persons have died and 128 tested positive in Nanded, while overall Marathwada figures stand as - 1744 positive with 61 deaths.
Earlier, NCP leader and Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad had tested positive for coronavirus. He recovered after remaining admitted in a hospital in Mumbai for more than two weeks.
On Sunday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said the fight against the novel coronavirus is going to be tougher now as the state’s case tally mounts and assured people that the government is prepared with extra health facilities to deal with any emerging situation out of this virus outbreak.
“We are adding to our healthcare capacity - field hospitals are being set up, ICU beds are being added and together we have 7,000 beds, “ Uddhav Thackeray said. “We will have 14,000 beds by next month. We have learnt that more than ventilators, patients needed oxygen support. So we are increasing beds with oxygen facility in field hospitals,” he added.
With a biggest-ever-hike of 3,041 new positive cases in the last 24 hours, the total number of infected persons in Maharashtra crossed 50,000-mark on Sunday. Of total 50,231 confirmed cases, 33,988 are active, according to the State Health Department.
The death toll has risen to 1,635 after 58 more people succumbed to the deadly disease, while a total of 1,196 people were also discharged on Sunday, taking the number of cured and discharged patients to 14,600.
Overall in India, 6,767 new positive cases were detected in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of Covid-19 patients to 1,31,868, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
India is currently under the fourth phase nationwide lockdown that has been imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the virus spread in the last week of March. The lockdown has been further extended till May 31 with certain relaxations in the rules.

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Domestic flights delayed, cancelled on day 1 after resuming operations

Our correspondent
Mumbai, May 25:
Over 80 flights were stated to be cancelled, at Delhi airport, including an Air India flight (AI-617- Mumbai-Hyderabad flight) were cancelled and other incoming and outgoing flights were delayed, even as domestic flight operations resumed at the Mumbai airport on Monday.
The Air India flight (AI-617), Mumbai-Hyderabad flight which was to depart from Mumbai at 2.10 PM was cancelled. The incoming Hyderabad-Mumbai (Vistara airlines) flight was the only flight to land before time (at 2.09 PM as against scheduled time of 2.15 PM).
In Mumbai, the arrival list included the flights from Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Chandigad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, while the departure list included the flights to Hyderabad, Delhi, Thiruananthpuram, Lucknow, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkatta. Vistara, Indigo, Air Asia, Go Air and Spice Jet, had scheduled to run these flights.
As domestic flights resumed at several airports across India, after two months since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed, there was confusion and chaos at airports in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities as a large number of flights were cancelled and passengers complained that they did not get any notification from the airlines.
The angry passengers at Terminal III of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport claimed  that they were not informed till the last minute. Airport officials said the cancellations were  on account of many states telling the centre that they will not be able to operate flights agreed upon earlier. The Delhi airport was to handle a total of 125 departures and 118 arrivals on Monday. Similarly 9 flights were cancelled at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.
The chaotic scenes were witnessed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, with several passengers seen sitting outside the airport after their flights were cancelled.

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Man arrested for prank call threatening to kill UP CM Yogi Adityanath

IT News
Mumbai, May 24 :
The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on Saturday arrested a 25-year-old man from Chunabhatti area in North East Mumbai, for allegedly sending a message on the Lucknow Police headquarters’ Whatsapp number, threatening to kill chief minister Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in a bomb blast.
In his message, the accused, identified as Kamran Amin Khan, claimed that he was plotting the attack on the UP CM. The message was received by the social media cell of UP Police’s integrated emergency response centre UP112 in the early hours of Friday morning, following which a first information report (FIR) was registered at Gomati Nagar police station under sections 505 (1)(b) (causing fear or alarm to the public to commit an offence against the state or public tranquillity); 506 (for threat to cause death), and 507 (for using anonymous communication for issuing threat) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against an unknown person.
After tracing the number used to send the message, to Khan, UP Police informed the Maharashtra Police and ATS started conducting an inquiry. Khan was picked up from Chunabhatti and brought to the Kalachowki ATS unit in South Central Mumbai. During his interrogation he confessed to the crime, an ATS officer said. Maharashtra ATS will hand over Khan to the Lucknow Police for further inquiry after being be produced in a court for remand in Mumbai.
“We traced the accused using technical and human intelligence. He has a history of drug abuse but no criminal record. His actions seem to have been a prank. Even his number is saved on Truecaller as ‘Yogi Ji’,” an ATS officer said.

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COVID-19 does not spread through burial of dead bodies: High Court

IT Correspondent

Mumbai, May 23:

The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed pleas by residents seeking cancellation of permission given by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to bury bodies of COVID-19 victims at Bandra (West) Kabaristan located in North West Mumbai.

Disposing of the petition filed by Pradeep Gandhi and others, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde, passed a ruling through videoconference, in which it observed that there was no scientific data to support the claim that COVID-19 can spread through dead bodies and that the BMC had all the authority to demarcate the cemetery. The court said that the case was fit for ‘exemplary costs’ but avoided to impose it on petitioners due to a pandemic situation and said that the plea was filed in panic.

The petition was filed by the petitioner, through advocate D P Singh in the Bombay high court on April 14. When it came for hearing on 27 April, the court refused to grant an interim relief to the petitioners and also directed the BMC to remove locks put up on the gates of the cemetery ground by local residents with the help of Police on 13 April, protesting against the burial of dead body at the cemetery. After HC refused relief, the petitioners moved Supreme Court with a special leave petition and the apex court on 4 May returned the petition to the HC with instructions that the petition be disposed of within two weeks.

The residents had claimed that permitting the use of the burial ground in Bandra (West) to bury COVID-19 victims will lead to community spread. They had claimed that the burial ground is located in the heart of Bandra (West), next to their residences, and as per the revised circular issued by BMC on 30 March 2020, COVID-19 patients cannot be buried near residential areas. On 13 April, a body was brought for burial at the cemetery. However, after the residents protested, the authorities did not bury the body.

The petitioners had pointed out that the burial ground shared a common wall with a residential area near G7 multiplex on V P Varde Marg off Turner Road. However, advocate Pratap Nimbalkar appearing for Kabaristan Trustees, had opposed the plea and said that due process was followed before disposing of the bodies and that the petitioners had not placed any scientific reasoning to show that COVID-19 spreads through dead bodies.

On 19 May, a senior counsel for BMC, Anil Sakhare, also opposed the petitioners’ argument and submitted an affidavit in reply saying burial of the victims cannot lead to spread of virus in adjoining areas. The BMC reply stated, “It is well established and declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) that Covid-19 virus is not “air borne” and hence transmission of the virus to other people staying in the vicinity of the burial ground is highly impossible.”

”The transmission cannot happen unless people in the locality come in direct contact with the body brought for burial or cremation. Direct contact of people staying in the locality with a body is impossible, as it is wrapped in plastic by hospital staff before handing it over to relatives for the last rites”, the BMC stated.

The court accepted BMC’s submissions and asked it to strictly follow WHO and Central government guidelines on burial of COVID-19 positive bodies and said that the civic body can add or delete demarcated cemeteries as per the law and guidelines.

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