9 districts of Karnataka including Udupi have no oxygen bottling units

News Network
May 4, 2021

Bengaluru, May 4: A startling fact that emerged out of the Chamarajanagar tragedy is the absence of an oxygen bottling plant in several districts. As many as nine districts of Karnataka - Gadag, Chikkaballapur, Chitradurga, Bidar, Yadgir, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Mandya and Udupi rely on neighbouring districts for oxygen in the absence of a dedicated plant.

This increased dependency on neighbouring districts has led to uncertainty in supply as logistical issues like distance, time, condition of oxygen tankers and breakdowns have affected the timely delivery of oxygen. 

Chitradurga, for example, relies on oxygen supply on Davangere. Chitradurga DHO Dr Palaksha C L, said, "We have a storage capacity of 6,200 litres at the district hospital. Even then we need oxygen refilling every alternate day from Southern Gases in Davangere. We've got 60 jumbo cylinders and another 90 donated by NGOs."

Surprisingly, Yadgir district hospital gets 2,500 litres of oxygen all the way from Chennai. The oxygen is transported from Praxair company in Chennai to Ballari and then to Yadgir, said district health officer Dr Indumati Kamshetty. "The entire district needs 5,000 litres per day. While private hospitals get it from the Kalaburagi district, we get it twice a week from Chennai via Ballari. We do not have the luxury of waiting till some hours of oxygen is left so we get a refill when there's a buffer stock of two to three days as it takes days to travel and reach here," she said.

Mandya District Health Officer Dr Manche Gowda said they rely on Mysuru for the supply. While Mandya Medical College has a 13 kilolitres capacity, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences has another 13 kilolitres, Sanjo Hospital has two kilolitres storage. "We get a refill three to four times a day if there's a requirement. While the government hospitals alone require 350 jumbo cylinders, we need 500 per day," Gowda said.

Karnataka's oxygen allocation has been increased from 802 metric tonnes per day to 865 metric tonnes per day. But the state requires 1,471 tonnes of oxygen. A total of 675 metric tonnes of oxygen out of 815 produced in the state go to the consumers in the state, the rest 140 tonnes are sent to other states. Karnataka also procures 130 tonnes from other states.

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News Network
April 27,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 27: The CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet against former Karnataka minister Roshan Baig on Tuesday in connection with the Rs 4,000-crore I-Monetary Advisor (IMA) ponzi scam case, officials said.

In its chargesheet filed before a special CBI court in Bengaluru, the central agency has also named the then MD of IMA Group Mansoor Khan, the company, Baig's company Daanish Publications and others.

"It was alleged that the accused former minister received several crores of rupees from IMA funds for election expenditure. It was further alleged that the accused was also utilising the said funds for day-to-day expenditure, including salaries of employees of his firm. It was also alleged that the accused has spent the funds for various social and cultural activities in his constituency to increase his popularity," CBI spokesperson R C Joshi said in a statement.

The IMA scam pertains to over Rs 4,000 crore collected by IMA Group from over a lakh gullible investors in the name of providing attractive returns on investment following Islamic ways.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged that the money was diverted to Baig, a minister in the erstwhile Congress government led by Siddaramaiah, so that the IMA Group could continue its illegal activities, officials said.

The CBI had registered four cases in connection with the scam and earlier filed three chargesheets and three supplementary chargesheets against 33 accused, including Khan, company directors, several revenue and police officials. 

"It was alleged that the said Group had raised unauthorised deposits & cheated the public by failing to repay the principal and as well as the promised returns. These funds were allegedly diverted for acquiring properties, paying bribe amounts, etc. Several properties, including moveable & immovable, were identified and attached under KPIDFE (Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments) Act, 2004 by the competent authority," Joshi said.

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coastaldigest.com news network
April 27,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 27: In spite of chief minister B S Yediyurappa’s assertion that covid-19 situation in Karnataka is beyond control, the State Election Commission went ahead with elections to 266 wards of 10 local bodies in eight districts today as per schedule.

Elections are being held to 10 local bodies with 266 wards spread over eight districts - Ballari City Corporation in Ballari, Vijaypura Municipal Corporation in Bengaluru Rural, Ramanagara City Municipal Corporation and Channapattana City Municipal Corporation in Ramanagara district, Gudibande Town Panchayat of Chikkaballapura district, Bhadravati City Municipal Corporation and Teerthahalli Town Panchayat in Shivamogga district, Beluru City Municipal Council of Hassan district, Madikeri City corporation of Kodagu district and Bidar City Corporation in Bidar.

Among these eight districts, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkballapura, and Ramanagara districts share their borders with Bengaluru city which has recorded more than 20,000 cases.

"Along with these 10 local bodies, there is one ward each in Bidar and Haveri district are facing bypolls. These polls are scheduled to be held on Tuesday (tomorrow)," the circular said.

The SEC maintained in its directive that these bodies were going to polls after the High Court had directed them to conduct elections, and Covid safety protocols were in place. 

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Agencies
April 25,2021

Bagdad, Apr 25: A fire that ravaged a Covid-19 hospital in the Iraqi capital killed 82 people and sparked angry calls for the sacking of officials, in a country with long-dilapidated health infrastructure.

"At least 82 people died and 110 were wounded in a Baghdad Covid-19 hospital fire overnight Sunday," the Iraqi interior ministry said in a new toll.

"The interior ministry announces the death of 82 people and injury of 110 in the Ibn al-Khatib fire accident," it said in a statement carried by state media.

The blaze at Baghdad's Ibn al-Khatib hospital started with an explosion caused by "a fault in the storage of oxygen cylinders", medical sources said.

Flames spread quickly across multiple floors in the middle of the night, as dozens of relatives were at the bedsides of the 30 patients in the hospital's intensive care unit where most severe Covid-19 cases are treated, a medical source said.

"The hospital had no fire protection system and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products," the civil defence said.

"The majority of the victims died because they had to be moved and were taken off ventilators, while the others were suffocated by the smoke," it added.

Medical and security sources told AFP some 50 others were injured in the blaze, and the civil defence said it "rescued 90 people out of 120 patients and their relatives".

Videos on social media showed firefighters battling to put out the blaze as patients and their relatives tried to flee the building.

"It was the people who got the wounded out," Amir, 35, told AFP, saying he saved his hospitalised brothers "by the skin of his teeth".

Iraq's hospitals have been worn down by decades of conflict and poor investment, with shortages in medicines and hospital beds.

The incident sparked outrage on social media and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khademi called for an investigation into the cause of the blaze, and declared three days of national mourning.

After daybreak, dozens of tall oxygen cylinders that had been evacuated could be seen lined up outside the building, alongside gurneys and scattered debris, an AFP photograph said.

More than 200 patients in all were rescued, according to the health ministry, which pledged to release an official toll of the dead and wounded later.

The fire -- which according to several sources was caused by negligence often linked to endemic corruption in Iraq -- sparked anger on social media, with a hashtag demanding the health minister be sacked trending on Twitter.

Baghdad Governor Mohammed Jaber called on the health ministry "to establish a commission of enquiry so that those who did not do their jobs may be brought to justice".

In a statement, the government's human rights commission said the incident was "a crime against patients exhausted by Covid-19 who put their lives in the hands of the health ministry and its institutions and instead of being treated, perished in flames".

The commission called on the prime minister to fire Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi and "bring him to justice".

Kadhemi responded by calling for "an investigation" -- echoing President Barham Saleh and parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi -- and said he wanted results "within 24 hours".

The prime minister also suspended the health director for the eastern sector of Baghdad and the head of Ibn al-Khatib, as well as the hospital's heads of security and technical maintenance teams.

They are being questioned and nobody, Kadhemi said, will be released "until those who have done wrong are brought to justice".

The UN top representative in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, expressed "shock" at the tragedy and called "for stronger protection measures to ensure that such a disaster cannot reoccur".

On Wednesday, the number of Covid-19 cases in Iraq surpassed one million, the highest of any Arab state.

The health ministry has recorded more than 15,000 deaths since the country's first infections were reported in February 2020, and has carried out around 40,000 tests daily from a population of 40 million.

Rather than go to overcrowded or run-down hospitals, patients who can afford it have often set up oxygen tanks for their use at home.

Iraq rolled out its vaccination campaign last month and has received nearly 6,50,000 doses of different vaccines -- the majority by donation or through the Covax scheme.

Around 3,00,000 people had received at least one dose as of Wednesday, the ministry said.

Health authorities have faced an uphill battle to convince Iraqis to get vaccinated, in the face of widespread scepticism over the jab and public reluctance to wear masks since the start of the pandemic.

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