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Chhattisgarh seeks 30,000 cr from Centre to deal with economic fall out caused by lockdown




Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel at ThePrint's Off The Cuff in New Delhi on 7 December
Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel | Representational image | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

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New Delhi: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding an assistance of Rs30,000 crore for the state to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus lockdown.

He requested the prime minister to immediately release Rs10,000 crore of the total amount, so that assistance could be given to industry, business, service and agriculture sectors. He said the assistance would be for the next three months for operation of relief and welfare schemes and relaxation in the economic activities related to revenue generation in the state.

The chief minister also requested for immediate exemption in a few sectors to restart economic activities.

Baghel urged the PM that exemption be given for operation of sweets shops, so that it can be possible to sell milk of milk-producing farmers. He said operation and registration of showrooms of vehicles, including the exemption of registration and purchase of properties, operation of construction works in cities, air conditioners in view of summer season, operation of show rooms of coolers and fridges, be also given.

It would be appropriate to allow repair work and open all types of retail works in all green zone districts.

Every effort will be made by the state government to ensure wearing of masks and social distancing of all individuals, he said.

Baghel told the PM that due to long period of lockdown, revenue collections have come down to almost zero.

In the current economic scenario, there is also a big reduction in the amount that the state receives from central taxes, he said.

On the other hand, the state government is needing additional resources for the livelihood of the 56 lakh poor and needy families of the state, who have no means of income left, he said.

Baghel said if the above activities are not given permission immediately, then normal operations of the state will not be possible.

“It is requested to take the trouble of providing immediate approval to the demands of the state,” he urged the prime minister.

He wrote that the main sources of income of the state are mining activities, excise, GST, registration of properties, registration of vehicles and forest wealth. But permission has been granted by the Centre to conduct only economic activities related to urgent services from April 20 to May 3, which will not provide any special assistance in revenue receipt of the state. “It is certain that economic activities in the country will take a long time to return to normal. In such a situation, it will be very difficult to conduct development and welfare schemes for the state,” he said.

The chief minister said the coronavirus outbreak in the state is comparatively better than other states. As of April 21, only 36 Covid-19 patients have been found, out of which 25 have recovered and the remaining 11 are being treated.

Around 400 people are being tested every day in the state.

No new COVID-19 infection has been found in the last five days, Baghel said, adding that of 28 districts in the state, not a single person has been found infected in 23 districts, while 4 districts where 8 were found infected, no cases have been reported in the last 3 weeks and 11 active infected people of the only district are yet to be treated.

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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