Other States

Centre steps in as COVID-19 cases rise in Gujarat

Strict vigilance: A policeman keeping check as migrant workers wait in queue to board buses in Surat.   | Photo Credit: PTI

With 49 deaths caused by COVID-19, Gujarat recorded the highest single-day fatality in the country, with the entire State now engulfed in the surging pandemic. On Tuesday, 441 cases were reported from the State, bringing its numbers to 6,245 while the number of fatalities climbed to 368.

The State’s fatality rate is now almost 5.9 %. On Tuesday, 186 persons were discharged, taking the recovery numbers to 1,381 so far.

Ahmedabad is the worst hit with as many as 39 deaths and 349 cases on Tuesday. The city’s overall numbers had jumped to 4,425 infections and 273 deaths as on Tuesday. Meanwhile, alarmed by the spike in cases and fatalities in the State, the Central government has reportedly directed Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s administration for course correction to contain the pandemic and manage the situation.

Accordingly, the government on Tuesday roped in senior IAS officer Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta, handing him overall charge of Ahmedabad city which has emerged as the largest cluster with a steep spike in infections and deaths. Dr. Gupta will now oversee the pandemic containment and management efforts of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

Also read: Gujarat reports 376 cases and 29 deaths

Similarly, the Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra has been sent on a two-week home quarantine after he came in contact with an infected person, and senior IAS officer from Gandhinagar Mukesh Kumar has been made Commissioner in-charge of the civic body.

Another senior IAS officer Pankaj Kumar has been made in-charge to guide the State Health Department in its COVID-19 management efforts. This move is aimed at curtailing the powers of Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Jayanti Ravi, whose performance was not as per the expectations of senior leaders in Delhi.

Also read: Coronavirus India lockdown Day 42 live updates

“New Delhi was not happy with the way the situation was getting out of hand in Gujarat,” an official said.

The top people in Delhi and even some in Gandhinagar were apparently not happy with the way Mr. Nehra and Ms. Ravi handled the pandemic situation in the city.

Another factor that has led to lack of proper management of the pandemic is apparent differences between CM Rupani and his Deputy CM Nitin Patel, who is also Health Minister in the State.

“Anything bad happening in Ahmedabad has political repercussions nationally, so naturally Delhi’s intervention was expected,” a senior insider said.

It is learnt that Chief Secretary Anil Mukim and K. Kailashnathan, the PM’s pointsman in Gujarat, had to prevail over the political bosses in the State to make the necessary changes.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 9:23:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/centre-steps-in-as-covid-19-cases-rise-in-gujarat/article31512811.ece

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