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Jalandhar, July 28-(Ozi Indian Bureau):
Making their contribution in the ongoing war against the Covid-19 pandemic, an NGO namely Hamco Cheritable Trust today donated a sum of Rs. Two lakh to the district relief funds.

While handing over the contribution to Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori, the Chairman of the NGO Shant Kumar Gupta hailed the efforts of the district administration to contain the virus spread and save many precious lives amid the global health crisis. He said the pandemic can be won over only with collective efforts of the society and being responsible citizens. It's the need of the hour that every citizen works shoulder to shoulder with the local administration.

Lauding the efforts of philanthropists during the ongoing crisis, Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said that such endeavors not only help the administration but also instill a sense of responsibility among others. He said that such noble gestures go a long way by triggering a massive response from various walks of society. He hailed the contributions of NGOs and individuals in this battle while asserting that only collective efforts can yield fruitful results in the end.

Punjab Government recruits 128 Medical specialists in Health Department

Chandigarh, June 30 (Ozi Indian Bureau):

Health and Family Welfare Minister Punjab, Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu today distributed appointment letters to 128 Medical specialists.

Mr. Sidhu said under the 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar Yojna' of the Punjab Government, jobs were being provided to unemployed youths of the state, around 11,500 vacancies have already been filled under different categories.

Principal Secretary Health, Mr. Hussan Lal said that today in appointment process 41-Microbiologist, 21-E.N.T, 13- Community Medicine,17- Pathalogy, 11-Psychiatry, 13-Ophtholmologists, 19-General Surgery, 6-Skin and V.D.,10-Forensic Medicine and 4-B.T.O appointed as Medical specialists. He added recently fresh appointments of Medical officers, Pharmacy officers and Class IV were made in the department and these employments will strengthen the medical services.

While congratulating the fresh appointees Directors Health Services, Dr G.B. Singh said that during pandemic all medical fraternity worked diligently and these appointments will surely reduce the burden of medical staff involved in pandemic duties. On this occasion, MLA Bassi Pathana Gurpreet Singh , OSD to Health Minister Dr. Balwinder Singh, Superintendent Nirlep Kaur and Mass Media officer Gurmeet Singh Rana were present.


CHANDIGARH, JUNE 30 (Ozi Indian Bureau):

Soon, the solution to the perennial stray animal menace will be at your fingertips. You can upload the picture of stray animals roaming in your area on an e-portal following which the enforcement staff will take them away and rehabilitate them at the pounds and sheds available for the purpose in the state.

This 24x7 facility will be one-of-its-own-types and is aimed at checking the increasing menace of stray animals.

Besides, the existing capacity of the cattle pounds besides the sheds at the government facilities will also be augmented with additional space to accommodate more stray animals to be caught under the special drive to free the roads and public spaces of the stray animals in the state.

The decisions to this effect were taken at a high-level meeting, chaired by the Chief Secretary, Ms Vini Mahajan, to review the steps being taken to effectively address the menace of stray animals in the state.

The Chief Secretary instructed the Governance Reforms department to develop an e-portal with the 24x7 facility of uploading the clicked picture of stray animals roaming in the public area with its latitude and longitude (geo-tagging). The uploaded picture on the portal shall be accessed at the headquarter level, from where the same will be automatically transferred to the concerned officials for catching and taking away the photographed stray animals.

On getting the intimation, the animal catching team, along with all the requisite necessary equipment and logistics, will move to the area concerned and bring that animal to the nearest shelter, pound, and shed with prior information to that government and private facility for making all the necessary arrangements for the arriving animal. The animal, after being lodged at the facility, would be given due veterinary care by the local veterinarian and the requisite care and management would be provided by the concerned shelter house for ensuring proper rehabilitation of the caught stray animal. The officials concerned will be responsible to act on every photograph and intimate the action taken report to the headquarters.

The Chief Secretary also directed the Rural Development and Panchayats department to construct more sheds in all the 20 government cattle pounds in the state.

Besides, she also asked the Rural Development department to work out a plan to open smaller pounds in a 5-acre area at block level in the state.

Additional Chief Secretary Animal Husbandry Vijay Kumar Janjua apprised the Chief Secretary that 10,024 cattle have been kept at 20 government pounds, having 77 cattle sheds.

ACS Rural Development and Panchayats Seema Jain, Principal Secretary Local Government Ajoy Kumar Sinha and other senior officials of the state government also attended the meeting.


CHANDIGARH, JUNE 29 (Ozi Indian Bureau)

In order to further enhance transparency, responsiveness, and accountability in the effective management and faster implementation of the public works projects, the Punjab Government on Tuesday decided to implement the Engineering and Project Management (EPM) system of PWD (B&R) in all the state engineering departments.

The EPM system has been conceptualised to adopt means and measures to integrate and improve the procurement, execution, management, and monitoring of the public works in a more effective, transparent and efficient manner.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of senior officers concerned, chaired by the Chief Secretary, Ms Vini Mahajan, here.

The robust system under implementation is a workflow-based system for engineering works, covering preparation of work estimates, seeking administrative approval and technical sanction, tender preparation, contract management, e-MB and online bills submission directly to the state treasury with integration of the state IFMS system.

The Chief Secretary directed the departments concerned to implement the system in all the state engineering departments in a time-bound manner to ensure complete transparency, responsiveness, and accountability in the execution and management of the public works projects in the state.

Considering the usefulness and efficacy of transparent, responsive, and accountable working in the engineering domain, the Chief Secretary said it was decided to leverage the EPM module to the other state engineering departments, including Water Supply and Sanitation, Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Rural Development and Panchayats, GMADA, Punjab Police Housing Corporation, Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, Local Government and Water Resources.

Additional Chief Secretary Governance Reforms Anirudh Tiwari briefed about the system and informed that even NIC has such a robust system in place for the engineering works.

Principal Secretary PWD Vikas Pratap informed that the system is working as per the satisfaction of PWD (B&R) and has been adopted for use in all the field offices of PWD (B&R). He further said that all bills relating to roads and bridge works are being prepared and submitted online to the state IFMS for faster clearance using this system.

DGP-cum-CMD PPHC MK Tiwari, Principal Secretaries Sarvjit Singh (Housing and Urban Development), Jaspreet Talwar (Water Supply and Sanitation), and Secretary Local Government-cum-CEO Water Supply and Sewerage Board Ajoy Sharma also attended the meeting.


Mohali being developed as Medical hub- Balbir Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh/SAS Nagar: June 29 (Ozi Indian Bureau):

Mohali is being developed as the Medical Hub in the state with government medical infrastructure being scaled up multi-fold, said Balbir Singh Sidhu, Health and Family Welfare Minister Punjab while informing that Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has allotted 8.72 acres of land for the construction of New Civil Hospital in Mohali.

The 42204.8 sq. yds of prime land in sector 66 valuing over Rs. 18 crore has been given for the hospital which would soon successfully cater to large majority of the local population right up to Derabassi. It will be equipped with all medical facilities and the latest medical equipments.

“Chief Minister Punjab has assured issuance of immediate instructions to the State Finance Department for the release of funds for the construction of Hospital”, informed Health Minister and thanked S. Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Minister for Housing and Urban Development for the early release of Letter of Intent (LoI).

In the meanwhile, in pursuit of providing best health services in the region, first of its kind Aayush Hospital is being set up in Dayalpura, Derabssi. Aiming to treat various diseases and promote healthy living in a natural way, the Aayush Hospital would be built over an area of more than 9 acres of land. This would be a 50 bedded hospital which would provide health check up and treatment services under Ayurveda, Yoga Yunani, Siddha and Homeopathy medicine.

The work on Medical College Mohali is going on full swing and it will help cater to the growing demand of doctors in the State while the BSc Nursing College will also come up in 3 acres near the Government College campus in Mohali. The Department of Higher Education has issued No Objection Certificate (NoC) for the same.

Simultaneously, medical facilities are being provided to the remotest corner of the city, said he adding that Community Health Centre(CHC) in 3B1,Primary Health Centre(PHC) in Sanetta and dispensaries in sector 69 and 79 are other health care institutions added to Mohali.

Reiterating that Punjab Government is committed towards providing cheaper and quality health services to people state-wide and is taking all necessary steps to ensure that the people of the state are not deprived of quality health services, the Health Minister said that the Budget for health services and family welfare has been increased; medical infrastructure has been ramped up by the State Government. The recruitment of doctors, paramedics and other supporting staff is being made at regular intervals and four new medical colleges besides medical college at Mohali have been approved with construction process at various levels of approvals as of now.

The Health and Family Welfare Minister said that “Today, the world is facing the COVID 19 threat which created a global health crisis .The war against the virus has been challenging and we are all geared up to make Mohali a medical hub with exceptional facilities to tackle any such health threat”.

First Ante Natal Check-up is Key to End Female Foeticide: Balbir Sidhu

Chandigarh, June 29 (Ozi Indian Bureau):

With the efforts of the Health Department the sex ratio (at birth) of Punjab has considerably improved from 888 in 2016-17 to 919 in 2020-21. This is due to stringent implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 1994 Act. State Supervisory Board consisting of 22 members is in place in Punjab and a meeting of the board Under the Chairmanship of Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu was held for the successful implementation of the Act.

Director Health Services (Family Welfare) Punjab Dr. Andesh Kang welcomed the members and apprised them regarding the salient features, achievements and barriers in the implementation of the Act. She addressed in the meeting that a total of 1738 Ultrasound Centres are registered in the state and Health Department regulates their working as per the Provisions of the Act to end female foeticide.

Chairing the meet Health Minister said that the Punjab Government is taking a number of steps to end female foeticide. The health department also carries out regular IEC activities from time to time to change peoples' mindset so that they do not have any prejudice against the girl child. Health Department is taking strict action like carrying out decoy operation (sting operation) for catching the violators under the PC-PNDT act and State Health Officials keep a vigilant eye on Scan Centres by checking them regularly via District Appropriate Authority (DAA). He also warned that registration of any scan centre can be cancelled if it is found violating the provisions of the Act. Stating about the importance of the first Ante Natal Checkup(ANC) he stressed on the need to carry out first ANC as soon as possible or within the first trimester so that any misdemeanour can be tracked by the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) and consequently by the senior Health officials.

Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Husan Lal took a serious note of low performing districts in terms of inspections by the District Appropriate Authorities. He emphasised the use of technology in regulation of ultrasound machines in the state, training and capacity building of the DAAs, hiring of a new detective agency and preparation of an SOP or Checklist for the smooth working of the inspecting authorities.

In the meeting, Director Women and Child Development Vipul Ujjwal, Joint Secretary Social Justice Department Raj Bahadur Singh, Director Health Services Punjab Dr. G.B. Singh, Director Health Services (Family Welfare), Dr. Andesh Kang, Deputy Director Dr. Veena, Senior Gynaecologist Dr. Vineet Nagpal, Principal Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Medical Sciences Dr. Bhaveet Bharti, Dr. Meena Hardeep Singh, Associate Professor GMC Patiala Dr. Simmi Oberoi, Radiologist GMC Faridkot Dr. Taranjit Kaur, Additional Legal Remembrance A.S. Virk, NGO member Dr. Ranjit Powar, Mass Media Officer Gurmeet Singh Rana and others were present.

Milkfed comes to aid of milk producers during Covid crisis

Chandigarh, June 29 (OZi Indian Bureau):

Holding the hands of dairy farmers during the difficult times of Covid, Milkfed Punjab has decided to increase the procurement price of milk by Rs. 20 per kg fat from July 1. It was disclosed by the Cooperation Minister S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa in a meeting with the dairy farmers led by the President of Progressive Dairy Farmers Association (PDFA) Mr. Daljit Singh Sadarpura at his official residence here today.

S. Randhawa said that Milkfed Punjab has always stood by the dairy farmers and would continue to help them in the future too. He further pointed out that during the time of Covid epidemic when some private buyers had stopped buying milk and others had reduced the price of milk, the Milkfed, despite its limited resources, not only procured the entire milk but also did not reduce the price of milk.

On the occasion, MD Milkfed Mr. Kamaldeep Singh Sangha said that the recent increase in the prices of diesel and petrol as well as the sharp rise in the prices of raw materials used in animal feed such as soyabeans, husks, sorghum etc are likely to reduce the profits of milk producers. As a result, the decision taken by the Cooperation Minister to increase the price of milk by Rs. 20 per kg fat to improve the economic condition of 2.5 lakh milk producers affiliated to Milkfed would benefit the existing milk producers.

In addition, educated unemployed youth will be motivated towards dairy farming and starting self-employment ventures such as dairy farming in their homes which would lead to expanding the scope of the crop diversification concept. He appealed to all the milk producers to join the village level milk cooperative societies of Verka and help in strengthening the cooperative movement, added Sangha.

MLA Barindermeet Singh Pahra, Treasurer of PDFA Ranjit Singh Langeana and executive member of PDFA Sukhdev Singh were also present on the occasion.


Chandigarh, June 29 (Ozi Indian Bureau):

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday appreciated and thanked all the doctors and other medical professionals for the excellent job they are doing in helping the state fight the deadly Covid pandemic.

The relentless and self-sacrificing work being done by the professionals, at great risk to their own lives, was an inspiration for one and all, said the Chief Minister, complementing for their hard work.

Thanking them on behalf of the government and the people of Punjab, the Chief Minister, in a brief message to mark International Doctors’ Day on July 1, said the whole state was proud of the medical professionals.

Every Punjab was indebted to the doctors, the medical staff, and all the healthcare workers for their support through these tough times, said the Chief Minister. Many of these professionals and workers had lost their colleagues and others in this pandemic, but continued to provide care and treatment to the patients in the face of grave danger to themselves, said Captain Amarinder.

“We will not forget your contribution to saving lives. Every Punjabi will always remember your selfless service,” he added.


Chandigarh, June 29 (Ozi Indian Bureau):

With the state running out of Covishield vaccines today and a Covaxin stock of just 112821 doses, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has reiterated the demand for supply of more vaccines by the Centre to vaccinate the entire 18-45 population to complete the vaccination of all eligible persons in the next two months.

Even as he ordered opening of the vaccination to the entire population in 18-45 age group, subject to availability, the Chief Minister said the efforts would remain focused on covering the categories prioritised earlier. His government had set a target to immunise all eligible in two months, followed by the second vaccine dose as per schedule, he added. Currently, 4.8% of Punjab’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, with Mohali leading the chart in both one and two doses.

Taking stock of the vaccination progress and status in Punjab at a Covid review virtual meeting, the Chief Minister noted that the state government had already vaccinated more than 62 lakh eligible persons and had been utilising the stock without any wastage. However, he noted, that there is a gross shortage of vaccines, with no stock of Covishield in the state as of today, and only a small stock of Covaxin available.

Pointing out that the state had been repeatedly taking up the issue of inadequate doses with Government of India, Captain Amarinder said this has assumed critical importance as Punjab has slowly been opening up sectors conditional to stakeholders having taken at least one dose. He said he will take up the matter again with the Union Health Minister on urgent basis, and escalate it to the Prime Minister if needed.

Health Minister Balbir Sidhu questioned the larger number of doses received from the Centre by BJP-ruled states like Haryana and Gujarat.

Citing a Punjab Police study showing 98% protection among police personnel after two doses of vaccination, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asked the Health and Medical Education departments to continue monitoring the vaccine efficacy in the light of the new variants of concern. So far, around 79000 Punjab Police personnel had been vaccinated, of which 57% had received the second dose. The study, conducted by Dr Rajesh Kumar, between February 3 to June 28, showed that of the total deaths in this period, 15 were of those not vaccinated at all, nine of those who had received one dose, and only two who were fully vaccinated, disclosed DGP Dinkar Gupta.

The Chief Minister also directed the concerned departments to drive a campaign to encourage vaccination, testing and help in case of micro-containment zones. These should be activated in all urban and rural areas, he stressed.


Chandigarh, June 29 (Ozi Indian Bureau)

With cases of Delta Plus variant coming to light, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered extension of the Covid restrictions till July 10, with certain more relaxations, including opening of bars, pubs and ahatas at 50% capacity, beginning July 1.

Skill Development Centres and Universities have also been allowed to open conditional to the staff and students having taken at least one dose of vaccine. IELTS coaching institutes were already allowed to be opened, subject to students and staff having taken at least one dose of vaccine.

Announcing the relaxations at a high-level Covid review meeting, the Chief Minister made it clear that the bars, pubs and ahatas would have to strictly maintain social distancing protocols, and waiters/ servers/other employees should have taken at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. He made it clear that it would be the responsibility of the owners to ensure that the conditions are met.

Expressing satisfaction over the decline in positivity to less than 1%, with overall fall in active cases, the Chief Minister noted that the positivity rate in some districts still remained over 1%. Further, the finding of Delta plus variant was a matter of concern, making it essential to continue with the curbs, he stressed.

The month wise whole genome sequencing has shown that more than 90% is a variant of concern, with the original virus having been practically replaced by variants, disclosed the Chief Minister. Two cases (Ludhiana and Patiala) have shown Delta plus variant, while in May and June, the Delta variant was most prevalent, he pointed out.

Of the 198 contacts of the Ludhiana patient traced and tested, one was found positive and the sample has been sent for genome sequencing, while in the Patiala case, for which the genome sequencing report was received on June 26, the process of tracing/testing is going on. Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan disclosed that genome sampling of as many as 489 samples (including 276 sent in April, 100 in May and 113 in June were still pending with the central lab). She also clarified that the Delta plus variant was found in samples sent by the state govt in May, whose results were given by GOI labs recently.

Captain Amarinder ordered fast tracking of the establishment of a Whole Genome Sequencing Lab at GMCH Patiala, in association with the international non-profit organisation PATH, to make it operational by July. He also ordered intensification of genome sequences of cases reported from clusters in limited geographical, institutional or superspreader event area to check the spread of the potential third wave.

Health Minister Balbir Sidhu suggested a close watch on visitors from countries reporting Delta Plus variant cases.

Reviewing the preparations for what experts have predicted as an imminent third way, the Chief Minister directed the Health and Medical Education departments to scale up testing Further from the current 40000 a day and contact tracing, currently at 22 per positive person, at not less than 15 per person. Underlining the need to continue with Corona Mukt Pendu Abhiyan in full force, he also directed organisation of outreach camps especially in villages for testing.

On the steps taken to reduce the turnaround time for testing, he stressed the need to proceed expeditiously with the proposal from PATH to support automation of the government lab at GMCH Patiala on a pilot basis, and equip it with barcode scanning so that data is automatically fed into the system.

Health department should continue to prioritise the Lok Sanjhedari model so that there is community ownership and a sustained campaign to observe Covid appropriate behaviour, said the Chief Minister. Health Secretary Hussan Lal, in a brief presentation earlier, said the department had formulated a comprehensive surveillance strategy to keep a check on the potential third wave drivers. These drivers include behavioural change after the 2nd wave, seasonal changes, re-infection due to waning of immunity and viral mutations.

The Chief Minister asked the department to work on restrictions computed on area basis (ward, village, block, town, city), going beyond the micro containment and containment strategies being followed so far.

Captain Amarinder asked the department to give appointment and postings, at the earliest, to the 128 specialist doctors recently selected by the Dr KK Talwar committee. Regular recruitment should also continue at all levels, he added. The Chief Minister noted that 77 PSA plants are in the process of being set up to meet requirement of oxygen in case of a sudden surge. The state also has over 6700 Oxygen concentrators, he added.

Medical Education & Research Minister OP Soni said 80% of the preparations needed to tackle the third wave were already completed in the Government Medical Colleges of the state.

Dr Talwar told the meeting that it was very difficult to predict the third wave due to mutation, with the Delta Plus variant already reported from 12 countries and 52 cases in Maharashtra. Urging extreme caution, he said it was necessary to see how the mutant behaves. As of now, the existing vaccines were showing effectiveness against the present variants, he said.

On the Black Fungus (Mucormycosis), the Chief Minister noted that Punjab has had much fewer cases than most other states, including Haryana, and Delhi, which not only saw more cases but more than three times the deaths in Punjab. The Chief Minister, however, said it was unfortunate that 51 people had died due to black fungus in the state.