Joshimath crisis | Border Management Secretary, NDMA members to visit Uttarakhand

January 08, 2023 08:27 pm | Updated 08:27 pm IST

A man shows cracks appeared at his house at Joshimath, Uttarakhand.

A man shows cracks appeared at his house at Joshimath, Uttarakhand. | Photo Credit: PTI

Central government agencies and experts are assisting Uttarakhand to prepare short-, medium- and long-term plans to deal with the Joshimath situation, officials said on Sunday after the Prime Minister’s Office held a high-level review meeting.

One team of the National Disaster Response Force and four teams of the State Disaster Response Force have already reached Joshimath, where people are in alarm due to land subsidence and cracks have developed in hundreds of houses. Affected families are being shifted to safe locations, officials said.

The Border Management Secretary and members of the National Disaster Management Authority will visit Uttarakhand on Monday and assess the situation.

A team of experts from the NDMA, National Institute of Disaster Management, Geological Survey of India, IIT-Roorkee, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, National Institute of Hydrology and Central Building Research Institute will study the situations and give recommendations, they said.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Sukhbir Singh Sandhu visited the subsidence-hit areas of Joshimath on the day to assess the situation.

Joshimath has been declared a landslide-subsidence zone and more than 60 families living in damaged houses in the sinking town have been evacuated to temporary relief centres, a senior official said. At least 90 more families have to be evacuated. The local administration has set up relief centres at four-five places in the Himalayan town, Garhwal Commissioner Sushil Kumar said.

Also, a petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Centre to constitute a committee headed by a retired judge to look into the issue. Highlighting the woes of over 3000 people of Joshimath, the plea said cracks have developed in at least 570 houses due to continued land subsidence.

Petitioner and advocate Rohit Dandriyal claimed construction activities by the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways and Power, New and Renewable Energy, in Joshimath in the past years have worked as a catalyst in the present scenario, and “violated” the fundament rights of the residents.

Two more groups banned, four individuals declared terrorists

Continuing its crackdown on terrorism sponsored from across the border, the Centre banned two proxy organisations of the dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad and declared four individuals terrorists in the last four days.

On January 4, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification declaring Aijaz Ahmad Ahanger alias Abu Usman Al-Kashmiri an individual terrorist. He is a Kashmir-born terrorist who has contacts with al-Qaeda and other global terrorist groups and is engaged in restarting the Islamic State in India.

A day later, the MHA declared The Resistance Front, a proxy of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned organisation. The MHA said Sheikh Sajjad Gul is a Commander of the TRF and has already been designated as a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967.

On the same night, the MHA designated Mohammed Amin Khubaiab alias Abu Khubaiab, who belongs to Jammu and Kashmir but currently lives in Pakistan, an individual terrorist. He is acting as launching commander of the LeT and has developed a deep association with the cross-border agencies and is playing a vital role to revive and accelerate terrorist activities of LeT in Jammu.

On January 6, the MHA banned People’s Anti-Fascist-Front, a proxy outfit of another Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, for its involvement in terror acts in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere. The MHA said the PAFF has been regularly issuing threats to security forces, political leaders and civilians working in Jammu-and Kashmir from other states.

Through a separate notification on the same night, the MHA designated Arbaz Ahmad Mir, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir but is presently based in Pakistan and is working for banned terror group LeT, an individual terrorist.

On January 7, the MHA declared Asif Maqbool Dar, who lives in Saudi Arabia and a leading radical voice involved in influencing Kashmiri youth to take up arms, as an individual terrorist.

Urinating incident | Air India’s response should have been much swifter: Tata Sons chairman

Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran said the urinating incident on November 26 aboard an Air India flight from New York to New Delhi has been a “matter of personal anguish to him and his colleagues at Air India”.

“Air India’s response should have been much swifter. We fell short of addressing this situation the way it should have been,” the Tata Sons chairman said in a statement.

“The Tata Group and Air India stand by the safety and well-being of our passengers and crew with full conviction. We will review and repair every process to prevent or address any incidents of such unruly nature,” the statement added.

Delhi Police arrested Shankar Mishra, 34, from Bengaluru, who allegedly urinated on a woman co-passenger during the flight. He has been sent to judicial remand for 14 days by a Delhi Court which rejected a plea by police for his custody.

On January 7, the airline’s CEO Campbell Wilson had said that four cabin crew and one pilot have been issued show cause notices and de-rostered pending investigations.

‘Fake’ Indian COVID-19 medicines flood China’s black market amid surge in cases

Chinese health experts are warning that fake versions of Indian generic medicines are flooding the black market in China as a record surge of COVID-19 cases fuels demand for antivirals, particularly Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Indian generic versions.

With Paxlovid in short supply and highly regulated in government clinics, sales of Indian generic versions have ballooned through Chinese e-commerce platforms in the wake of the ending of the “zero-COVID” policy on December 7.

China has seen millions of cases since then — an estimate of the National Health Commission pegged the figure at 250 million as of December 20 — and although most have been mild, cities have seen a high number of deaths particularly among unvaccinated elderly. Crematoria in many Chinese cities have reported record waiting periods.

With the huge demand for COVID-19 medication, some fake versions of Indian generics have also entered the market.

“Chinese laboratories are raising the alarm over a new potential danger to public health amid a massive wave of COVID-19 infections: a growing trade in fake antiviral medication,” Chinese media outlet Sixth Tone reported.

“Boxes of Paxlovid are now selling for as much as 50,000 yuan ($7,200) on the black market, forcing many in China to seek out cheaper alternatives. That is driving a surge in demand for generic versions of the drug produced by Indian manufacturers. However, laboratory analysis indicates that a large amount of the ‘Indian drugs’ circulating in China are fake,” the report said.

While there has been no evidence of the fake versions causing harm so far, experts are concerned as they are ineffective against the virus and could end up resulting in patients not seeking treatment.

In Brief: 

Winter vacation in Delhi private schools extended till January 15

Winter vacation in Delhi’s private schools have been extended till January 15 in the wake of a cold wave in the national capital, a circular from the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education said. Private schools were slated to reopen after winter break on January 9. “In continuation to the DOE’s (Directorate of Education) earlier circular, all private schools of Delhi are advised to remain close till January 15, 2023, in the wake of cold wave prevailing in Delhi,” the circular read. A severe cold wave walloped Delhi on Sunday, with the minimum temperature at the Safdarjung Observatory, the city’s primary weather station, plunging to a bone-chilling 1.9°C, the lowest in January in two years.

Russia hits Kramatorsk in ‘retaliatory strike’ for Makiivka attack: Defence Ministry

Moscow said on Sunday its Army conducted a “retaliatory strike” in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatrosk to avenge the deaths of 89 Russian troops killed in Makiivka. “More than 600 Ukrainian servicemen were killed” as a result of a strike on Kyiv troops stationed in two buildings in Kramatorsk, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow.

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