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Bhaichung Bhutia
Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to punish the people who had attacked a team of healthcare workers in Indore and also pointed out the lack of testing kits in Sikkim to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Two women doctors were injured on Wednesday when a five-member team of health officials was pelted with stones by a mob in Taatpatti Bakhal area, Indore, prompting nationwide outrage. "I request @narendramodi to take strict action against the attackers who struck the doctors on the frontlines of the COVID-19 in Indore," Bhutia wrote in a letter in his twitter handle.
The police on Thursday arrested seven persons for the alleged attack and the district administration slapped the National Security Act (NSA) on four of them.
Bhutia also said that the health care professionals should be provided with required gears and equipment as they are most vulnerable.
"Healthcare workers are especially to be appreciated and looked after first, as they are most vulnerable to infection and becoming the carrier," said the decorated striker, who has played 107 matches for India.
"They should be provided with proper PPE and N95 masks all over India," added the veteran footballer, who had also part of the group of over 40 athletes, who on Friday participated in nearly an hour-long video call with the Prime Minister.
The 43-year-old from Sikkim also pointed out the lack of testing kits in Sikkim, North Bengal and North East.
"Testing is so necessary to contain the spread. We need to screen everyone. The lack of testing kits and PPE in Sikkim, North Bengal and North East is alarming," he wrote.
"The Kalimpong corona positive case infused how little prepared our doctors and hospitals are. The testing has to be thoroughly done. The health care workers safety and proper hospital equipment should be our primary concern in these desperate times."
More than 50 people have died in India with the total number of COVID-19 positive cases crossing 2,000.

COVID-19 Kalimpong
Six relatives of the Kalimpong woman who died of COVID-19 have tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.
As per reports, four relatives of the 44-year-old lady who had been the second one to die in North Bengal after contracting COVID-19 had also been tested positive for coronavirus recently.

The woman from Kalimpong, who was also the first one from North Bengal to test positive for COVID-19, had passed away at on March 30 last.
She was admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH), Siliguri.

The patient had a travel history and was kept in the isolation ward of the NBMCH after she tested positive.
The woman had returned from Chennai for her daugher’s treatment and later tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has increased to 2301 on Friday.
The death toll due to coronavirus cases in the country has reached 56 on Friday.
Prime Minister NarendraModi on Thursday chaired a high level meeting with the chief minister of states and union territories through a video conference.
He urged the States to manage the crisis at the district level and to focus on testing, isolation and quarantine facilities.
He also asked the States to upgrade the healthcare human resource, conduct online training of frontline workers along with increasing the strength of existing capacity through involvement of retired health workers from Government and private hospitals, NGOs, NSS & NSOs.

1st flush tea wiped out, Darjeeling tea may lose 2nd too
KOLKATA: For the first time in the history of the iconic Darjeeling tea, the entire lot of the expensive and exportable first flush leaves withered away amid the suspension of garden operations due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Garden experts confirm that it will take a few weeks to a month to get the tea bushes back in shape after re-opening on April 15, which may also affect the equally prized second flush crop of May-June. Tea planters in the Hills are already grappling with losses of Rs 150-200 crore for the erosion of the first flush. Now, they fear a never-seen-before liquidity crisis.
Famous for its light-coloured and flowery muscatel aroma, the Darjeeling first flush is generally plucked during the spring — mid-February to early April — at an interval of not more than five days to maintain quality. The prized revenue-earning period produces about 20% of the annual output and accounts for 35-40% of revenue.
According to Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) chairman Binod Mohan, it is unfortunate that the lockdown has coincided with “our prime first flush plucking season”, which generates revenue to meet half the year’s expenditure. “So, there will be economic consequences, which may increase depending on how long the lockdown continues.”
The planters believe that the industry will find it difficult to move past the current crisis, considering the carry-over deficits that had resulted from the 104-day-long Hills shutdown in 2017. “Darjeeling tea estates are yet to recover from the blow received during the 2017 strike. The incident forced many top global importers to drop Darjeeling tea from their list. Another disruption in supply could be fatal for the variety,” said Indian Tea Exporters’ Association (ITEA) chairman Anshuman Kanoria.
Goodricke MD Atul Asthana estimates the total loss for the tea industry at close to Rs 1,500 crore. “Even if the gardens open around April 15, we will lose the entire crop of April. Darjeeling will be the worst hit.” Dooars, Terai and Darjeeling produce around 353 million kg (mkg) of made tea annually and it may come down by 45-50mkg this year. There are 3.5 lakh labourers (along with their 15 lakh direct dependents) on payroll across the 290 tea gardens (Dooars 158, Darjeeling 87 and Terai 45) in north Bengal.
Meanwhile, the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA), the largest apex body of tea associations in India, wrote to the central government requesting a relief package. “The industry is facing a severe cash crunch, impeding its ability to cope with wage and other related obligations of the 1.2 million workers,” wrote Vivek Goenka, the chairman of both CCPA and ITA. He has asked for an assistance of Rs 1,000 per week for three months for each tea garden worker.

Kolkata HC slams Bengal cop for action against doctor who exposed shortage of protective gear
KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal Police on Thurday to return a seized mobile phone and a sim card of a doctor posted in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.
Indranil Khan, an oncologist, moved the court on Wednesday alleging harassment by police after an FIR was filed against him for some of his Facebook and Twitter posts at Mahestala police station in South 24 Parganas district. 
He also alleged that the police interrogated him for 16 hours.
The doctor had made some social media posts highlighting the alleged shortage of protective gear for those treating coronavirus patients and suspects.
Khan, in his Twitter handle, uploaded photographs on March 29 and described how doctors are being asked to wear raincoat and use substandard masks. 
The doctor was charged under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly causing disharmony and feeling of hatred which disturbed public tranquility.
He was called by the police for a lengthy interrogation on March 29 over the social media posts and his mobile phone, sim card were seized.
Khan's lawyer Lokenath Chatterjee told the court of Justice I P Mukerji during video conference hearing of the petition.
The High Court Justice said in his order that the state can only do so if a citizen tries to utilise this freedom by trying to circulate alleged facts maliciously with a view to causing damage to another person or to the public at large or the nation.
He directed that there shall be no further interrogation of Khan without the leave of a proper court.
He ordered that the police may start a criminal case against the petitioner without arresting him if at all the evidence prima facie discloses an offence.
Disposing of the petition, Justice restrained the doctor from making any posting on social media concerning the above issue for the time being.

By Express News Service

BGP opens Covid-19 Helpline for Gorkhas
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP) – national social organisation of Indian Gorkhas with 22 states and region units opened its national helpline numbers from 1st April for Gorkhas stranded in various cities and towns due to 21 days lockdown to contain covid19 pandemic.

Any Gorkha in any distress anywhere in the world due to the lockdown situation should call Shri. Akash Lama, National General Secretary (Organisation)
BGP’s Nodal officer for Covid19 Crisis
He will, on behalf of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP), coordinate with local BGP units and other fraternity organisations, local administration and extend all possible help.
So far several stranded youths and hospitalized patients and families have been extended help.
Press release issued by Munish Tamang, National Working President, BGP

North Bengal Medical College and Hospital
The health department has tracked down 28 flyers who had travelled with the Kalimpong woman who died of COVID-19 at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) on Monday. The woman had flown in to Bagdogra in a private airline from Chennai on 19 March. Among the co-passengers, 24 hail from Darjeeling district, including seven residents of the Siliguri Sub Division, while the remaining are from Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.
A co-passenger of Cooch Behar district, seated near the 44-year-old woman, has been admitted in the isolation ward of the Cooch Behar Medical College. Officials at the Bagdogra airport said they had given to the authorities the list of passengers who travelled with the woman in the flight.
All other passengers have been advised to go for immediate medical check-up and stay in home isolation, health department officials said. “Asymptomatic passengers have been sent in home quarantine,” an official said. Darjeeling district chief medical officer of health Dr Pralay Acharya said the health department had taken necessary steps.

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