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Mumbaikars battle with water crisis, poor sanitation along with COVID-19.

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Aashwin Shanker, Mumbai Uncensored, 23rd June 2021:

“Midst reinfections and vaccination Mumbai is also fighting a continuous battle for water. The slums are more affected than the non-slums”. 

NGO Praja Foundation on Tuesday launched a report on the unsatisfactory work of the municipal corporation in Mumbai. While it appreciates the municipal corporation’s work in handling the pandemic it also addresses how Mumbaikars, specifically people in slums and sub-slums, are deprived of basic civic comforts. 

‘Status of civic issues in Mumbai – 2021’ is a white paper compiled based on data obtained through the Right to Information Act, 2005 for all 24 wards.

The report, above all, states the unbalanced water supply in the city. While some areas struggle to fulfill even their basic needs due to lack of water, others are getting enough and even surplus amounts of it. 

Look, Mumbai receives 188 lpcd (litres per capita per day) which is even higher than the rules set by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) of 135 lpcd. The astonishing thing is that while the slum areas receive only 45 lpcd at ₹4.85 per month, through metered connections, the non-slum areas receive a superfluous 150 lpcd at ₹19.44 per month.

While people living in non-slums areas (able to afford water at a raised rate) enjoy a discounted price, the ones unable to fulfill their needs have to rely on water tankers and other sources, which approximately costs them Rs. 500-550 per month.

On this wretched issue, Milind Mhaske, Director, Praja Foundation said that “If BMC is able to provide 135 lpcd (as per the BIS norms) of water supply to the slum population through metered connection then, the cost will be as low as Rs 14.54 per month. Implementing 100 percent metered water connection in slums would allow them to access a required quantity of water at just Rs 14.54 per month as compared to Rs 500-550 they are currently paying.”

Apart from the monopolistic rights over the distribution of water the paper also raised concerns over the poor sanitation of people. 

The figures are as follows:-

• As early as 2019, the BMC announced that it will build 22,774 new toilets by 2020 of which 50 percent or 11,000 toilets will be available for women. But the white paper has claimed that just 1 out of every 4 public toilet seats were available for women in 2020. 

• In their report, the Praja Foundation has also raised concerns about depleting toilets for women. From 2018 to 2020 the total number of toilets for women decreased by 3 percent  i.e. from 3,237 to 3,146. 

• But women are not the only sufferers, toilets for men too have also decreased from 9,646 to 8,927 in 2020 I.e. a decrease of 7 percent.

• Meanwhile, the toilets for disabled persons have increased by 83 percent in 2020.

This is not all, Praja Foundation also highlights the shortcomings of BMC in door to door waste collection. While the BMC claims 100 percent door-to-door garbage collection for the year 2019-2020, 34% of all Solid Waste Management complaints were related to the garbage not being collected in 2020.

Nitai Mehta’s “Three Deeds to a Healthy Ward” (Trustee Praja Foundation) 

“During BMC’s COVID-19 management, three key areas of successes came to light that can be carried forward in post-pandemic rebuilding and further improve the services at ward level. 

• First, decentralisation of various functions at the local level for inclusive decision making and better quality of services. 

• This can, secondly, be achieved through even more extensive use of technology, which the BMC has previously showcased an inclination for (Live Streaming budgets, online ward committee meetings and so on). 

• Thirdly, BMC should collaborate with various stakeholders in both the public and private sector to find innovative solutions to the city’s growth. This will not only help BMC in providing basic day to day services efficiently but also in becoming a future-ready city.”, 

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Tamil Nadu becomes the 1st state to have its own genome sequencing lab.

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Manasa Maddila, Mumbai Uncensored, 6th January 2021:

The whole-genome sequencing (WGS) laboratory of the State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) has joined the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).

Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said there could have been no other State in India that has set up a genome sequencing lab all alone.

In spite of the State having its own genome sequencing lab that was set up at an expense of 4 crores, and initiated on September 14, it was sending tests to labs in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune that are important for INSACOG for affirming the sequencing of the Omicron variation.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has perceived Tamil Nadu’s State Public Health Laboratory to direct entire genome sequencing, which implies the state will don’t really need to send tests to labs in Pune, Bengaluru, or Hyderabad to affirm variations, like Delta and Omicron.

Ma Subramanian remarked, “The state’s public health lab at the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services, which is overseen by CM MK Stalin, has set up equipment worth Rs 4 crore for this purpose”.

A senior authority of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said that around 150 samples can be tried at the same time at the lab and requires no less than five days to get the outcome.

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Delhi And Mumbai See Spike In Covid Cases; Yellow Alert Issued in national capital

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Aditya Dwivedi, Mumbai Uncensored, 29th December 2021:

The highest COVID-19 cases recorded in the last 6 months have shocked the nation and the authorities. India’s overall tally of COVID-19 cases saw a tremendous increase by 44% from Tuesday with 9,195 cases.

Delhi tops the list with 238 fresh cases of the highly transmissible Covid-19 variant Omicron and the positivity rate rose to 0.89 on December 29th. As a result, a Yellow Alert has been issued in Delhi for the prevention of the further spread of the virus in the region. 

During the briefing, CM Kejriwal said, “As the COVID-19 positivity rate has been above 0.5 percent for the past few days, we are enforcing Level-I (Yellow alert) of the Graded Response Action Plan. 

He added “In the past few days, the number of cases in the capital city and the country is rising. One needs to not worry but exercise caution. Our government is well prepared. The cases reported are mild. Everyone needs to make sure to wear masks and ensure proper social distancing”

Schools, colleges, theatres, entertainment parks, spas, and gyms have been closed till further orders. Public transports, restaurants (can only operate between 8 am-10 pm) are advised to function with 50% of the total capacity while taking proper measures to avoid the spread of the virus. 

The timing of the night curfew has also been changed from ’11 pm-5 am’ to ’10 pm-5 am’. 

A complete halt on social, political, religious, and entertainment gatherings has been imposed by the government.

Gathering in weddings and funerals has been limited to only 20 people while the banquet halls are not allowed to host weddings or any function and remain shut till further orders. Grade-1 officers in the Delhi Government offices will be required to be present with 100% capacity. Meanwhile, the private firms are advised to call 50% of the staff between 9 am-5 pm.

Mumbai sees a sudden surge in covid 19 cases with 1,333 cases on Tuesday, the highest since last 7 months. Government officials expressed their concerns over the issue and gave an indication of imposing stricter restrictions if the cases continue to rise.

Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray stated, “Last week we were reporting 150 cases per day, now we are reporting around 2000 cases per day. Mumbai may cross 2000 per day cases today”

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China enrolls 1st human fatality due to Monkey B infection

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Manasa Maddila, Mumbai Uncensored, 27th July 2021:

A Beijing-based vet, who was declared as China’s first human contamination case with Monkey B Virus (BV), has kicked the bucket from the infection. However, his nearby contacts are protected from it, for the present, Global Times announced. 

The 53-year-old male worked for an organisation exploring non-human primates. He started showing side effects of queasiness and heaving, a month after he examined two dead monkeys in the beginning of March. The vet looked for treatments in several hospitals, but eventually died on May 27.  Reports conducted by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said that there were no deadly or even clinically obvious BV contaminations in China earlier. Experts had gathered the cerebrospinal liquid of the veterinarian in April and distinguished him as positive for BV, yet tests of his nearby contacts came out negative.

The virus first broke out in 1932, is an alphaherpesvirus enzootic in macaques of the genus Macaca. It very well may be sent through direct contact and trade of real discharges; it also has a casualty pace of 70-80 percent.  Studies suggested that BV in monkeys may represent a possible danger to Laboratory workers and veterinarians since they are exposed to monkeys occasionally; it is important to wipe out BV during the advancement of explicit microorganism free rhesus settlements and to fortify observation in research centers that work with macaques in China.

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