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‘Covid driver’ of hills, always on call

‘Covid driver’ of hills, always on call

Amir Gurung lives less than a kilometer away from Darjeeling district hospital but for the past three months, he has only been promising his six-year-old son Sherab that he will come home soon.

Amir, the “Covid driver”, however, is not sure when he will reunite with his wife Sona, 16-year-old son Ayush and Sherab.“I have been staying at the district hospital ever since the pandemic started….for almost three months now,” said Amir.

The family stays near Lewis Jubilee Complex in Darjeeling.

Amir,44, is the “main driver” of “102 ambulance” and the one+ to transport suspected Covid-19 patients to hospitals. The ambulance service’s helpline number is 102.

“My family, especially Sherab, makes a video call everyday and tells me ‘Baba, I know you will come tomorrow,’ I tell him ‘yes I am coming’. But how can I go home ?” asked Amir.Amir is not sad that he is indulging in white lies with his son.

“This is my job, I cannot shy away from it,” the driver, who has been provided with accommodation at the hospital, said.

However, his job has not been easy.

“I was scared when I had to drive a suspected coronavirus patient (who later tested positive) to Siliguri for the first time,” confessed Amir. After returning to Darjeeling, he was more “depressed than scared”.

“The eateries near the hospital denied me entry. People started avoiding me. This continued for days and I was very depressed with their attitude,” said Amir.

Right now, there are four ambulances to ferry suspected Covid-19 patients, but Amir is the first choice.

“If his ambulance is engaged, we fill in the service,” said Dipesh Mukhia, another driver.

Even Mukhia feels sad with the general attitude. “I have a three-year-old son and villagers used to avoid him, too. Such attitude de-motivates us,” said Mukhia. Both Amir and Mukhia said the attitude was slowly changing now. Unlike Amir, other drivers return home.

The drivers are aware of their professional hazards.

“I do a weekly swab test. I am very particular about sanitising the vehicle and my PPE kits. One has to take precautions,” said Amir.The drivers work for a private agency GVC-EMRI and are paid Rs 10,000 each per month. They are not paid allowances for the Covid-19 duty.

Their job is also thankless.

“Sometimes, people call us to places which can be reached only through four-wheel drive vehicles. Once I was struck for six hours in a jungle near Relling. The residents were adamant that I took the ambulance to the village but my vehicle would not move along the muddy road,” said Amir.

The patient was finally brought to the spot where Amir was stuck in a pick-up van that had four-wheel drive provisions.

Tuesday, however, was a special day for Amir. Residents near the Eden hospital (district hospital) felicitated Amir for his grit and determination. “We have been noticing his selfless service and decided to felicitate him,” said Rajesh Rajak, general secretary, Nav Jyoti Gram Samaj.

Amir said: “I am deeply moved by this recognition. I am really happy today. I do not know when I can return home but such recognition provides me with the josh to carry on.”

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Dstv DarjeelingNews

Boris ‘stable and not on ventilator’

Boris ‘stable and not on ventilator’

Boris Johnson has been “stable overnight” in the intensive care unit at

St Thomas’ Hospital on London where doctors have not thought it necessary to put him on a ventilator though his breathing has been helped with oxygen.

According to a Buckingham Palace spokesman, “the Queen sent a message to (his pregnant fiancée) Carrie Symonds and to the Johnson family. Her Majesty said they were in her thoughts and that she wished the Prime Minister a full and speedy recovery.”

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall also “sent their wishes for a speedy recovery to the Prime Minister this morning”, a spokesman for the pair confirmed.

Prince William also joined in, tweeting: “Our thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family, who like so many in the UK and around the world are affected by coronavirus. We wish him a speedy recovery at this difficult time.”

A Downing Street spokesman tried to sound reassuring: “The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits,” “He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance.”

The spokesman: “He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”

A large group of photographers and reporters are now doorstepping St Thomas’ which is located on the south side of the Thames opposite the Palace of Westminster. There is also a big police presence at the entrance to the hospital.

The No 10 spokesman rejected complaints from some journalists that No 10 had sought to hide the seriousness of his condition.

“We have been fully frank with you throughout,” the spokesman told reporters.

“We have issued you with regular updates on the Prime Minister’s health. His condition worsened yesterday afternoon. A decision was taken that he needed to be moved to an intensive care unit at around 7pm.”

After the country was shocked on learning that Boris was taken into the ICU at 7pm on Monday after his condition had deteriorated in the late afternoon, there was a mini-drama on Tuesday morning when the cabinet office minister Michael Gove announced he was going into self-isolation because a family member was showing signs of coronavirus.

Although the foreign secretary Dominic Raab is deputising for Boris at his request, it is generally recognised that it is Gove who is probably the most senior person in the cabinet after the Prime Minister.

However, should Raab be taken ill, the chancellor Rishi Sunak would be next in line to take over, the Prime Minister’s spokesman clarified.

Before himself going into self-isolation, Gove gave a series of interviews on Tuesday morning to provide reassurance that even in the absence of Boris, government would continue to function smoothly.

He dodged the question when asked if Raab had the authority to press the nuclear button by saying he could not possibly discuss security.

“Dominic is in charge,” he said. “I won’t go into the details of the different national security decisions and protocols that there are but there are appropriate ways in which decisions can be taken in order to keep this country safe.

“As we speak the PM is in intensive care being looked after by his medical team receiving the very, very best care from the team in St Thomas’ and our hopes and prayers are with him and with his family,

“The work of government goes on. We have a superb civil service and they have ensured that the machinery is there for decisions to be made by ministers, by medical and scientific experts and for those decisions to be followed through in a way which enables us to help those at the frontline.”

He said everyone was discovering that the virus “has a malevolence that is truly frightening”.

At the Downing Street news conference on Tuesday, Raab said Boris was “receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance”.

He added the Prime Minister was “receiving the very best care from the excellent medical team” remained stable overnight and in “good spirits”

There had “been a groundswell of messages of support” and everyone was wishing the Prime Minister a very speedy recovery.

He added: “It comes as a shock to all of us. He is not just a prime minister, not just our boss, but also a colleague and also our friend.”

“I’m confident he will pull through because if there is one thing that I know about this prime minister is he is a fighter and he will be back leading us through this crisis in short order.”

Gove then had to issue this statement: “In accordance with the guidance, I am isolating at home after a member of my family started to display mild symptoms of coronavirus on Sunday. I have not displayed any symptoms and am continuing to work as normal.”

“When the news first broke that 55-year-old Boris had been admitted to an ICU, it shocked a nation which has almost got used to several hundred coronavirus deaths a day.”

Presenter Iain Dale on LBC talk radio sounded as though he was in tears as he discussed the breaking news with his callers. Many of them said much the same thing: “I am not religious but tonight I am praying for Boris.”

The UK’s coronavirus death toll has jumped by record-high 854 in a day with 6,227 known victims. Of those who were put on a ventilator, 50 per cent have not survived.

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Dstv DarjeelingNews

Will protect special status accorded to Sikkim: Golay

Will protect special status accorded to Sikkim: Golay

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang on Thursday promised to “ensure and moderate” Article 371(F) of the Constitution, which gives extraordinary status to the small outskirt state.

Tamang, otherwise called Golay, likewise said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah guaranteed him that the rights allowed to the state won’t be tinkered with.

“On the event of 73rd Independence Day festivities, I promise to ensure, moderate and merge the Article 371(F) of the Constitution which gives an exceptional status to our state,” he said in the wake of spreading out the national banner at Paljor arena here.

As indicated by Article 371(F), “the Governor will have an exceptional obligation regarding harmony and fair game plan for guaranteeing the social and financial headway of various areas of the number of inhabitants in Sikkim… what’s more, the Governor of Sikkim will, subject to such headings as the President may, every once in awhile, esteem fit to issue, act in his caution”.

It additionally expresses that “neither the Supreme Court nor some other court will have a ward in regard of any contest or other issue emerging out of any arrangement, understanding, commitment or other comparative instrument identifying with Sikkim….”

The ongoing repeal of the arrangements of Article 370 in J&K by the Center has brought anxieties up in the upper east, with a few gatherings and associations expecting that the Center may likewise tinker with the uncommon status agreed to their states.

Association Home Minister Amit Shah, notwithstanding, explained that the focal government has no such aim.

Plotting his administration’s needs, Golay said he will endeavor to make Sikkim a defilement free state by guaranteeing straightforwardness and responsibility in the working everything being equal, open utilities and advancement programs.

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Assam Releases District-wise NRC List Despite Supreme Court’s ‘Sealed Cover’ Order

Assam Releases District-wise NRC List Despite Supreme Court’s ‘Sealed Cover’ Order

Guwahati: The Assam government on Thursday set in the get together a point by point locale astute rundown of individuals whose names were prohibited in the National Register of Citizens (NRC), regardless of the Supreme Court requesting the subtleties in a fixed spread.

The rundown, which demonstrated that the level of names avoided from the draft NRC is higher in the locale flanking Bangladesh than different areas, is as of now being refreshed under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

The peak court had before solicited the State Coordinator from National Registration (SCNR) to present a report in a fixed spread, naming the issue as a “human issue with extraordinary greatness”.

Assam Accord Implementation and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary laid the region astute rundown of incorporation, dismissal, and exclusion of candidates’ names in the NRC.

The rundown demonstrated the complete number of candidates was 3, 29,91,385 and out of which 40,07,717 names, which is 12.15 percent, were excluded.

As per the rundown, the level of exclusion of names in Bangladesh flanking regions of South Salmara was 7.22, Dhubri 8.26 and Karimganj 7.67. In the non-fringe regions, the rundown demonstrated Hojai and Darrang regions to have the most astounding avoidance rate at 32.99 percent and 30.90 percent, individually.

“It involves worry that the level of names barred from the draft NRC is higher in the Bangladesh outskirt locale than contrasted with the remainder of the state,” Patowary said.

The SCNR experienced harsh criticism from decision BJP individuals in the state get together, who communicated question whether a right NRC will be distributed.

The treasury seat individuals guaranteed that the pace of prohibition of NRC candidates in the locale circumscribing Bangladesh was not exactly the state normal — 12.15 percent. This is verification that an area of the general population living in outskirt regions of Assam has wrongly been incorporated into the NRC, they said and censured the SCNR.

Patowary said there has been a gross abuse of the heritage information in different areas, especially in the locale circumscribing Bangladesh. “Because of this abuse, nearly less number of individuals’ names were let alone for the draft NRC in those locales”, the clergyman said in an announcement.

BJP MLAs Debanana Hazarika, Shiladitya Deb, and Numal Momin and AIUDF part Nurul Amin raised the issue during Zero Hour.

Just seven percent of the candidates from the Bangladesh outskirt regions have been prohibited from the NRC draft list, Hazarika said and inquired as to why the example check as requested by the Supreme court was not done.

Deb guaranteed that solitary eight percent names were dropped from circumscribing Dhubri area and its neighbor Barpeta, while 14 percent names were dropped in Karbi Anglong, which isn’t a fringe locale.

Momin said while 5-7 percent of the names from the fringe regions were avoided from the draft NRC, 18 percent names of indigenous individuals were dropped from the rundown.

Under the Supreme Court’s headings, the primary draft of the NRC was distributed on December 31, 2017, and the last draft on July 30, a year ago where 40 lakh odd individuals were forgotten about.

The Supreme Court on July 23 broadened the due date for distribution of definite NRC by a month to August 31. “We need a mistake-free NRC that will incorporate the names of Indian natives and without the names of outsiders,” Patowary said.

Assam, which had confronted the flood of individuals from Bangladesh since the mid-twentieth century, is the main state having an NRC which was first arranged in 1951.

 

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