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Eatala’s meeting with Cong, BJP leaders futile!

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Former health minister Eatala Rajender, who was sacked by CM K Chandrashekar Rao from his cabinet, two weeks ago, has been holding series of meetings with Congress and BJP leaders.

The purpose of these meetings is to garner the support of Congress and BJP in the event of bypoll to Huzurabad Assembly constituency.

Eatala is left with no option but to quit TRS party and also MLA post anytime soon and face bypoll.

Even if Eatala won’t quit, KCR is planning to dismiss him from the party and also disqualify from Assembly for anti-party activities. In any case, Eatala has to face bypoll anytime.

Eatala wants to fight bypoll as an Independent candidate and want all non-TRS parties to support him.

For this reason, he is meeting Congress and BJP leaders. But the Telangana leaders of Congress and BJP made him clear that they cannot give any assurance to this effect as they are national parties and any decision on this issue has to be taken by party high commands in New Delhi.

Eatala realised that it’s not possible to garner the support of Congress and BJP and decided to make his own plans to face the election.

Eatala went to Huzurabad on Monday to brace up his supporters for the bypoll instead of running around Congress and BJP leaders seeking support.

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Etala to be disqualified from Assembly!

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TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao seems to be in no mood to spare former minister Etala Rajender.

KCR took over Etala’s health portfolio and later he dismissed him from the cabinet. All this happened within hours last week.

Speculations are rife in TRS circles that KCR is now planning to disqualify Etala from Legislative Assembly.

As per plan, the TRS will file a complaint with Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy to disqualify Etala for resorting to ‘anti party activities’.

Since Speaker anyway belongs to TRS and most loyal to KCR, he cannot say no to this complaint and disqualify him.

With this, Etala will lose even MLA post. This will result in bypoll for Huzurabad Assembly constituency within six months.

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Etela lands issue: TS Govt gets a shocker in High Court!

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The Telangana High Court on Tuesday (today) took TRS government to task over conducting ‘jet speed inquiry’ against former minister Etala Rajender over allegations of encroaching assigned lands by Jamuna Hatcheries, owned by family members of Etala.

The High Court issued interim orders not to take any coercive action against Etala based on the report submitted by Medak collector Harish that the company encroached 66 acres lands.

The court adjourned the case to July 6. The court stated that the Medak collector’s report was ‘invalid’ as the survey of lands was done without issuing notices to land owners or adjacent land owners.

Etala’s wife and son, Jamuna and Nitin Reddy filed a petition in the High Court stating that officials from revenue, vigilance, ACB, survey departments created a war like situation on their lands, barged into their premises to conduct survey without issuing any notices, as per norms. It asked where was such a hurry to complete survey within hours and submit a report.

They said the entire 177 acres survey was done within hours and submitted a report that Jamuna Hatcheries had encroached 66 acres.

They said Medak collector gave a report to government stating Jamuna as wife of Nitin Reddy, which itself shows how the collector was under presssure from goverment to submit report at jet speed even without verifying the facts.

The court rapped officials for violating the natural principles of justice.

It asked the government to do inquiry from the front door and not adopt back door methods.

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Will quit MLA post: Etela Rajender

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TRS senior leader Etela Rajender on Monday (today) said he will quit from his MLA post but he will do that only after consulting the people in his Huzurabad constituency besided his supporters and well wishers.

Addressing his first press conference after he was sacked from cabinet by CM KCR over charges of encroaching assigned lands, Etala said, “TRS has given me B-form six times and I won. B-form is not everything. All candidates who get B-form don’t win. One needs people support to win election. But tomorrow TRS leaders may say I have won on car symbol and therefore I should quit MLA post. I will definitely resign but before that I will consult my people, leaders and supporters in my constituency and seek their opinion and what to do?”

If Etela resigns, one more bypoll will be on the offing in Telangana in other six months.

Etela denied encroachment of assigned lands and said the inquiry report framing him was prepared by officials on the directions of CM KCR.

He demanded inquiry on his lands and assets by a sitting judge.

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KCR sacks Etela Rajender from cabinet

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A day after making Etela Rajender, a minister without portfolio, Chief Minister Telangana K Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday (today) sacked him from his cabinet.

Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan issued orders to this effect late on Sunday on the advice of CM KCR.

The decision follows after an inquiry committee set up by KCR to probe into alleged encroachment of assigned lands by Etela submitted a report to KCR confirming encroachments by Etela to the tune of 66 acres in Medak district.

Now Etela is left with no option but to quit TRS.

KCR took over health portfolio of Etela on Saturday.

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Etela Rajender a minister without portfolio

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has issued orders removing the medical and health portfolio from Minister Etela Rajender. The medical and health portfolio is also shifted to the CM now. With this, Etela has become a minister without any portfolio. Now questions are being asked in the political circles of Telugu States why KCR has just removed the portfolio of the Minister. Rumours are also going strong that the CM would ask the Minister to put in his resignation any time now.

A badly embarrassed Etela has said that it was the prerogative of the Chief Minister to keep any portfolio with him. At the same time, Etela has not hesitated to say that some deep-seated conspiracy has been hatched against him. He would discuss this with his followers in his constituency to chalk out his future course of action.

Meanwhile, the TRS circles are full of speculation that serious action would be initiated against Etela once the Chief Secretary and ACB DGP would file their reports on the land scam involving Etela. On his part, the Minister has been saying that he has not resorted to any irregularities there.

The Etela controversy has shaken the political scene in the Telugu States. Known for his key role in Telangana agitation, Etela Rajender has now become the target of the KCR family. Even KTR has not given appointment for him in the last four days.

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Debate on Eetela Rajender’s political future

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There have been stories and rumours about Eetela Rajender having strained relation with Chief Minister KCR since quite some. But the sudden and continuous stories in pro KCR media against Eetela shocked his fans. Those stories about land grabbing allegations on the Telangana health minister Eetela Rajender stirred the state as people also got shocked at such allegations on the leader who has a clean image so far. With all this, his political future has become a topic of discussion in the political circles.

Rajender is a key leader in the party since its inception and has been a minister since the formation of the TRS government. He was a student leader before joining politics. In 2004, he won as MLA from Kamalapur constituency in Karimnagar district. He served as party leader in the assembly in the initial days as KCR was in parliament at the time. He was a close aide of KCR from the beginning and got the key finance ministry after the formation of Telangana in 2014. It was rumored that, in 2018, when KCR formed the government for the second time, he was not willing to give him the ministry and it was only after lot of dilly-dallying KCR gave him the ministry .

However, gradually the differences between KCR and Eetela increased. There were different stories behind the reasons for this. But, it is learned that over the past few months, several ministers and leaders have complained to the CM that the remarks made by Eetela in various meetings revealing his dissatisfaction are against the government. The views expressed by Eetela Rajender on various occasions in recent times, especially in his own constituency, have become a topic of discussion in the party. His comments that, ‘no one is the owner of the party’ seems to have not gone well with party high command. Also, his remarks in Huzurabad during the assembly sessions caused a stir. It is known news that KTR took him to Pragati Bhavan on the instructions of the CM and asked about the remarks. Eetela is reported to have said that he did not say anything against the government.

However, the party chief seems to be of the opinion that Eetela did not mend his ways even after several warnings and it looks like the latest developments are just KCR’s way of handling things. But there’s a debate going on in political circles about his future. We need to wait and see what steps Rajender will take and how will be his political future.

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Ready to face any probe, says Telangana Health Minister

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Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender said on Friday that he is ready to face probe by a sitting judge, CBI or any other institution with regard to the allegations of land grabbing levelled against him.

Addressing a news conference a couple of hours after Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao ordered a probe into the allegations of land grabbing levelled by some villagers of Medak district, Rajender demanded the government to order a comprehensive inquiry to bring out the truth.

“Let there be an inquiry by a sitting judge, CBI or any institution into my character and my assets. If I am found guilty, I am ready to face any punishment,” he said.

Rajender also said that self-respect is more important to him than any post. When asked if he would resign as a minister, he said the probe into the allegations against him has to be completed first.

Earlier, the Chief Minister had instructed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to get an inquiry done by the district collector on the complaints of encroachment of lands on the outskirts of Achampet in Masaipet Mandal in Medak district.

The CM also instructed Vigilance DGP Purnachandra Rao to find out the truth with regard to the allegations.

The Chief Minister ordered the probe after some farmers in Medak district submitted a complaint to him, alleging that the Health Minister forcibly took over 100 acres of their assigned lands to start a poultry industry.

Eight villagers from Achampet and Hakimpet villages had alleged that the minister and his followers had taken over their lands to start a poultry industry. They sought the intervention of the CM and appealed to him to ensure that the assigned lands given to them by the government are restored to them immediately.

The land grab charge against the Health Minister sent shockwaves in the political circles at a time when the state is in the grip of an intense Covid wave.

This is the first time that a minister in the TRS government faced allegations of land grabbing and the victims directly approached the Chief Minister against the minister following which an inquiry was ordered immediately.

Rajender, however, denied any wrongdoings and alleged that it is a planned attempt for his character assassination. He did not say who is behind this.

He said the people of Telangana have seen his clean image throughout the Telangana movement.

“When hundreds of students of Osmania University and other universities were arrested and we saved them, nobody asked where the money came from. There should also be an inquiry against those who came on a scooter and overnight made hundreds of crores,” he said without naming any leader.

He also alleged that attempts are being made to target him in the name of caste.

The Health Minister said that some people surrendered their 20-25 acres of land to the authorities so that the same could be allotted for the expansion of the Jamuna Hatcheries set up by his son in 2016.

Rajender said since the government was allotting lands and giving subsidies for setting up industries, he too had approached the Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office, Narsing Rao, to suggest a way out as the lands surrounding the hatchery were assigned lands which nobody could sell or purchase.

He said Narsing Rao had told him that if the owners surrendered the lands to the government, the same could be allotted to the hatchery through the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC).

The minister said the owners of the assigned lands signed the surrender documents and gave the same to the Mandal Revenue Officer.

“At present the land is with the government. I have not occupied a single acre of assigned land. The allegations against me are false,” he said.

Rajender also claimed that he and his wife had started poultry business in 1986 and they ran the business professionally and with honesty.

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No remdesivir shortages, says Telangana Health Minister

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Telangana Health Minister E. Rajender on Wednesday reiterated that there is no scarcity of remdesivir in the state, in wake of recent reports of several people landing up at the doors of pharma units in a desperate bid to procure the anti-viral drug for their kin suffering from Covid.

Talking to reporters in Huzurabad in Karimnagar district, the minister said that adequate stocks of remdesivir injections are available in state government hospitals. He said that a senior IAS officer has been entrusted with overseeing the Covid situation in Telangana.

Stating that the Chief Minister is personally monitoring the situation to ensure there is no oxygen scarcity, he said the state government has written to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to supply oxygen from neighbouring states.

Pointing out that situation will worsen if Covid spreads to rural areas, the minister said following physical distancing and wearing masks can help control its spread. Expressing hope that imposing night curfew will help bring down fresh cases, the minister said that more vaccination centres will be set up if the need arises.

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Telangana minister drops plan to vaccinate after PM’s suggestion

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Telangana Health Minister Etela Rajender on Saturday decided not to take Covid vaccine, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to politicians to give priority to healthcare workers.

The minister was scheduled to take the vaccine at Gandhi hospital on the first day.

Following the national rollout of the programme by the Prime Minister, Rajender formally launched vaccination at the hospital but returned without taking the jab.

Minister for Industry and Information Technology K.T. Rama Rao later told reporters that the decision was taken on the Prime Minister’s suggestion.

“I am the captain of this (health) department,” Rajender had remarked while defending his decision to inoculate himself, at a news conference on Friday evening.

However, the health minister changed his mind after Modi’s suggestion. Following requests of politicians from some states, the Prime Minister advised them to wait and give preference to healthcare workers.

Public representatives are ready to take the vaccine but they will wait in view of the Prime Minister’s suggestion, said Rama Rao after inaugurating the vaccination at a centre at Tilak Nagar in Hyderabad.

A total of 4,000 healthcare workers are taking the vaccine at 139 centres across Telangana on Saturday.

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Hyderabadis miss their favourite trade fair ‘Numaish’

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Hyderabadis ushered into a new year without the annual trade fair ‘Numaish’ which has been part of the historic city’s culture for 80 years.

For the first time in 72 years, the exhibition did not commence on January 1 due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The Exhibition Society, a state government-controlled body which organises the All India Industrial Exhibition every year, decided to postpone the 81st edition till January 31.

Though the Covid-19 situation in Telangana is under control and the number of cases in Hyderabad has dropped, the Society headed by Telangana’s Health Minister E. Rajender, took the decision as a measure of abundant caution.

As thousands of people throng exhibition every day and the current guidelines don’t permit gathering of more than 200 people, the Society decided to defer the 46-day event.

Officials said they did not want to take a chance especially in view of the possibility of a second wave of the epidemic and some cases of UK strain of coronavirus being reported in the country. They are hopeful that ‘Numaish’ will begin in March-April.

Traders from various parts of the country set up their stalls during the exhibition, which is visited by 45,000 people every day.

Every year, ‘Numaish’ begins on January 1 and goes on till February 15. Over 20 lakh visitors had visited the exhibition last year.

A unique blend of economy and culture, the event is organised at the sprawling Exhibition Grounds in the heart of the city and revenues from the fair are spent on group of educational and charitable institutions run by the Society.

The exhibition draws people not just from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad but from other parts of Telangana and even neighbouring states.

Numaish-e-Masnuaat-e-Mulki or Numaish, in short, made a humble beginning in 1938 as an event to promote locally produced goods.

Beginning with just 50 stalls, it has evolved into one of the biggest industrial exhibitions in the country.

The seventh Nizam of Hyderabad State, Mir Osman Ali Khan, inaugurated the first ‘numaish’.

Enthused by the good response, it was decided to make it an annual event and use the earnings to promote education.

With each passing year, the event grew in size and popularity. Old-timers recall that it became a platform for artists to show their skills. Mushaira or literary activity, songs and qawalis became a part of it.

Now there is more focus on commercial aspect. Traders from across India, besides local industries, entrepreneurs, hotels and food chains, set up stalls.

Various state and central government departments as well as public sector undertakings use the platform to reach out to people.

Numaish could not be organised in 1947 and 1948 due to the turmoil in the aftermath of India’s Independence. With Hyderabad acceding to the Indian Union, the event bounced back in 1949.

Renamed the All India Industrial Exhibition in 1949, it was inaugurated by the first Governor General of India, C. Rajagopalachari.

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Lockdown likely in Greater Hyderabad, will ramp up testing: Etela

With an alarming rise in infection rates, Telangana is likely to impose lockdown in Greater Hyderabad for at least 15 days.

Health Minister Etela Rajender on Monday said Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is mulling to impose complete lockdown in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, which have been reporting the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the state. A decision to this effect will be taken in a Cabinet meeting, he said. The state witnessed the highest single-day jump of 1,087 Covid-19 cases on Sunday. The corona tally crossed 14,000 overtaking Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. Of the fresh cases, 888 were reported in Greater Hyderabad which has emerged as the biggest hotspot in the state.

With growing criticism that the state government was not testing enough, Etela Rajender stated that the health administration will accelerate the testing of suspected coronavirus cases, although the measures still fall significantly short of the levels compared to states like Kerala, Rajasthan or even Jharkhand. As things stand today, the state health administration has so far collected 79,231 samples for COVID-19 testing which is about half the tests conducted by states like Jharkhand. The KCR government had to bear the brunt of Opposition criticism that Telangana has miserably failed to ramp up testing compared to states like Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Etela Rajender defended the government’s approach to testing but said it intended to scale it up, noting that efforts were already substantial.

“We have made extensive arrangements to accelerate testing as per the ICMR guidelines. We have set up corona testing centers and will ramp up testing from tomorrow. We will follow ICMR guidelines,” he stated.

Further, the health minister noted that at least 250 medical workers contracted the virus. “A head nurse succumbed to the virus. About 180 police personnel were tested positive for the virus,” he pointed out.

The health minister also stated that the government had readied 17,500 beds to treat corona patients. “We have supplied oxygen facilities for 3,500 beds. In the next three to four days, we will supply oxygen facilities to another 6,500 beds. Currently, there are only 10 Corona patients who are on ventilators,” he said.

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Telangana targets 10,000 daily Covid-19 testing capacity

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Telangana aims to increase the Covid-19 testing capacity to 10,000 a day. The government-run hospitals and laboratories were conducting over 2,000 tests and the capacity would be enhanced by 4,300 tests in three-four days, said Health Minister Eatala Rajender, here on Wednesday.

“We will have the 6,600 tests capacity. Another 2,000-3,000 tests will be conducted by private labs. In all, the state can do 10,000 tests a day,” he said after a visit to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) at Gachibowli, here.

He said the testing process in Greater Hyderabad and surrounding would continue even after completing 50,000 tests. “We can do lakhs of tests,” he said.

He reiterated that the Centre diverted a machine meant for Telangana that would have increased the testing capacity by 4,000. They raised the issue after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders started resorting to cheap politics over coronavirus issue, he added.

Another machine, ordered by the state, was expected to be delivered next month, he said.

The Minister said there should be no scare over rise in Covid-19 cases as the majority of over 9,000 patients had recovered. “The death rate is very low compared to SARI, ILI and H1N1,” he said.

Without naming any one, he said some irresponsible people were playing politics over Covid-19, creating fear among people and tarnishing the image of Hyderabad.

On Covid-19 test, the Minister said, “There is no need for those with no symptoms to undergo the tests or come to hospitals.”

Stating that asymptomatic patients should undergo treatment at their homes, he said, “If such people come to hospitals they will be denying beds and medical services to symptomatic patients, who need to be hospitalized.”

Stating that the government is ready to spend any amount to save people’s lives, he urged them not to believe those spreading rumours and creating fears.

“If you have tested positive and are symptomatic, come to the government hospital. We will provide the best treatment free. There is no need to go to private hospitals and spend lakhs of rupees,” he said when asked about some private hospitals charging huge money.

He said outpatient services had started at TIMS and the inpatient services would begin on June 28 or 29.

He said an abandoned multi-storeyed sports tower, constructed for 2007 World Military Games, was transformed into hospital in April with 1,224 beds. It would be upgraded into a top-class healthcare facility.

The hospital has 50 beds with ventilators and 1,000 beds with oxygen facility.

TIMS will be developed as the post-graduate college at par with the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. This will be the second PG college in Telangana after Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).

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Telangana ministers slam Nadda for ‘irresponsible’ statement

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Two Telangana ministers on Sunday slammed BJP President J.P.Nadda for making an “irresponsible” statement on the state’s handling of Covid-19 situation and asked him not to play petty politics over the issue.

Health Minister E. Rajender and Finance Minister Harish Rao questioned the BJP chief over the handling of Covid-19 in BJP-ruled states.

The two ministers reacted to the remarks made Saturday by Nadda while addressing a virtual rally to highlight the achievements of Modi government in the first year of its second term.

Rajender said it was unfortunate that at a time when the entire country is grappling with the pandemic, the BJP President made an uncalled for and irresponsible statement.

“BJP should stop doing cheap politics over the issue. A Delhi leader speaking gully (street) language is unfortunate,” Rajender said and asked Nadda not to make baseless allegations without evidence.

He said the virus was spreading fast in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and in other BJP-ruled states and the President of that party had the temerity to criticise Telangana for its COVID-19 response.

Rajender also launched a counter-attack on the Centre saying a high-end medical diagnostic device procured by Telangana to enhance its Covid-19 testing capacity, was diverted to West Bengal.

The minister said the machine could have increased the testing capacity in the state to 4,500 per day but the Centre diverted to West Bengal from Chennai by the Centre.

Rajender said when he took-up the issue with Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan and Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava, they said this was done as the situation in West Bengal was not good.

He said the Centre gave only two lakh N95 masks and some PPE kits like ‘alms’ to Telangana. He claimed that the state on its own procured the necessary equipments to battle Covid.

The minister claimed that without much protest over the issue, Telangana focused on developing its own capacities and abilities.

Rajender reminded that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao was among the first leaders to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call of clapping and lighting lamps for healthcare workers fighting Covid-19.

He said while the Chief Minister rose above the politics to back Modi, the BJP leaders were politicizing the pandemic.

He also reminded Nadda that even teams from the Centre appreciated Telangana’s response to COVID-19.

Finance Minister Harish Rao also hit out at Nadda and asked him how a former Union Health Minister could speak in a tone demeaning the services of healthcare professionals.

Harish Rao tweeted that politicising coronavirus was akin to demeaning national security. He said the BJP chief’s statement will demoralize the frontline workers who are risking their lives to defeat Covid-19.

“We believe that soldiers guarding the country’s borders and doctors fighting against Coronavirus without caring for their lives are the same. Prime Minister Modi has also been saying the same. You say it is not appropriate to criticise the government over the issue of national security. You lecture others that soldiers will get demoralised. Is criticising the state on the issue of coronavirus politics?” Harish Rao asked.

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Citing Tablighi meet, Telangana Minister puts Covid spread onus on BJP

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The issue of Covid-19 testing is building up to a political slugfight between the ruling TRS and the opposition BJP in Telangana.

Launching a counter attack, Telangana’s Health Minister E. Rajender on Friday asked the BJP to explain why it permitted the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi to take place, in the first place.

He was responding to the BJP state President Bandi Sanjay’s recent allegation that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government stopped Covid-19 tests in view of Ramzan.

Laying the blame at the BJP’s doorstep for the spread of coronavirus to various parts of the country, the minister said the BJP acted irresponsibly to allow the meeting at Markaz or Tablighi Jamaat headquarters.

“The Delhi Police are in your control. The law and order is in your hands. Why did you allow people from other countries to gather at Markaz despite the fact that coronavirus was spreading in various parts of the world,” asked Rajender at a news conference.

Pointing out that the visiting team from the centre, has praised the state for its efforts in containing coronavirus, the Health Minister said the BJP was unable to stomach the praise, and is raising doubts about the findings of the central team.

“Don’t you want the state to come out of coronavirus situation? Do you want the lockdown to continue? Do you want to see people continue to suffer?” Rajender asked the BJP leader.

The minister said that neither the BJP’s efforts to communalise the issue nor the Congress’ attempts to politicise the issue, would succeed in Telangana.

Rubbishing the opposition allegations that Covid-19 tests are not being done, Rajender claimed the state is strictly following the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

He declared that the number of Covid-19 cases came down due to the effective steps taken by the state government.

Stating that the state successfully identified and tested 1,244 people who attended Markaz meet and traced 10,000 of their contacts, Rajender said if the state had not done this it would have the largest number of cases in the country.

“If lockdown was not implemented properly, we would have become another Kurnool or Guntur,” he said referring to Andhra Pradesh districts which reported a large number of cases.

He claimed that it was Telangana which alerted the country about the Jamaat, when 10 Indonesians who had come to Telangana by train after visiting the Markaz, were identified and tested positive on March 16.

The Health Minister however conceded that 90 per cent of 1044 positive cases in the state are linked to Markaz attendees or their contacts.

He also revealed that when police and health personnel were trying to trace 1,244 Markaz attendees they came under attack. “Those people were saying that ‘we don’t have any symptoms’ but we said ‘Nothing. you have to cooperate’. Out of these 1,244 people, over 250 tested positive,” he said.

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Corona cases in downward trend in ‘T’, Eetala rules out rapid testing, testing in private labs

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Telangana reported six additional cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, a continued downward trend in new infections in the state even as the corona numbers in the country are in the acceleration phase.

Health Minister Etela Rajender said the additional cases increased the state’s total to 1009. He said 374 patients have recovered and released from quarantine and that 610 are undergoing treatment at various hospitals in Telangana. Death toll due to Covid-19 remained at 25.

The Health Minister said there has been a steady decline in the number of coronavirus cases. “The numbers remained in single digits since March 21,” Etela announced. He said that the Covid-19 positive cases curve has almost started flattening in the last few day” and that the novel coronavirus situation is under control in the state.

Etela said the Telangana government ruled out conducting corona tests using the rapid testing kits. “We don’t know how many of the kits are faulty, we are not sure of the efficacy of the testing kits. We have already seen that the Chinese rapid testing kits were found to be faulty. Therefore, our chief minister Chandraskehara Rao garu is against procuring rapid testing kits.”

Further, the state government will also not permit the private laboratories for Covid-19 testing as they charge exorbitantly. He trashed criticism that the government was not conducting enough tests to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Since the outbreak of the virus, Telangana government has enforced one of the stringent measures in the state to contain the spread. It was in fact the first state to announce several restrictions such as closing down schools, shutting cinema halls, malls, gyms and banned public gatherings. It was the first state to invoke the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.

The Telangana government also constituted a committee of experts to study the measures needed to control incidence of coronavirus in the state and to suggest steps based on successful models from the world over.
Chandrasekhar Rao was the only chief minister in the country to state that he would have no other option but to order the police to shoot-at-sight for violating locdown regulations. He also warned that he would impose a 24-hour curfew if the people of the state continued to disobey lockdown orders. “If people don’t follow coronavirus lockdown, a situation may arise where we’ll have to impose 24-hour curfew and issue shoot-at-sight orders. I urge people not to let such a situation arise,” Rao had said at a press briefing in early April. Several stringent measures were initiated in Telangana. The government announced that secondary contacts will be placed in home quarantine for 28 days. Further, the government had announced that those violating home quarantine protocol will also face passport seizure.

The government had put in place cluster containment strategy to contain the virus within a defined geographic area by early detection of cases, breaking the chain of transmission and thus preventing its spread to new areas. A total of 212 areas across Telangana were declared as virus containment clusters in Telangana. Around 4,000 teams were consituted to enforce quarantine, surveillance, testing suspected cases, quarantine of contacts and isolation of cases.

While KCR took the pandemic seriously, Jagan dealt with it way too casually right from the beginining despite early warnings from the Opposition leaders like N Chandrababu Naidu. The casual approach reflected in Jagan’s personal beliefs and views on corona. Addressing a press briefing on Monday, Jagan said about corona virus, “It is not as bad as the seasonal flu. It is like fever. It will go if you take proper care, wear masks, take proper diet and improve your immunity. If you take these steps, you can fight corona,” he prescribed. The result: Andhra Pradesh has been witnessing an alarming rise in number of corona cases. The number of novel coronavirus cases in Andhra Pradesh has climbed to 1,259 after over 82 fresh cases were recorded on Tuesday morning. The death toll due to Covid-19, meanwhile, remained at 31. The surge in number of cases was because of the lopsided policies of the Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy who consistently downplayed the public health risk of the burgeoning pandemic while the state administration has been slow to respond to the crisis. The Oppoisition leaders like Chandrababu Naidu squarely blamed the state government’s lack of foresight in tackling the virus. The government had spent much of its time in vendetta politics, was more focussed on elections to civic bodies than containing corona virus apart from being caught in a vortex of legal battles and personal attacks against political detractors.

 

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KCR says enough medical supplies, Etela calls up Union Health ministry for more

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In a serious contradiction to Chief Minister K Chandrasekahra Rao’s recent statement that the government was battle ready to fight Covid-19 with adequate medical supplies, Health Minister Etela Rajender on Monday made an emergency call to the Union Home Ministry seeking immediate medical supplies to the state.

As the number of corona positive cases in Telangana nears the 1,000 mark, Etela Rajender made a phone call to union health minister Dr Harsha Vardhan on Monday urging the central government to immediately deliver 1,000 ventilators to the state government. Stating that the government had readied a 1,500 bedded covid-19 hospital in Gachibowli, the Telangana health minister urged the center to provide increased number of N95 masks and PPE kits.

Procuring the medical supplies from elsewhere would be a costly proposition for the Telangana government given the economic constraint by the complete lockdown and high expenditure from the steps taken for the containment of the corona virus, Etela told the Union health minister.

In a recent high-level meeting, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao said the government was full prepared to deal with any situation arising out the corona crisis. He said the government was ready to handle even if Covid-19 patients increase to one lakh and that the health ministry had kept 20,000 beds ready. At a high-level meeting with Etela, KCR said, “We have adequate kits to conduct tests. There is no scarcity of PPE kits in the state. We have 2.25 lakh PPE kits and the number will reach 10 lakh PPE kits soon,” he said.

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Attacks on doctors won’t be tolerated: Telangana Minister

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Telangana Health Minister E. Rajender here on Saturday said attacks on doctors and other healthcare professionals, fighting coronavirus battle, would not be tolerated and stringent action would be taken against culprit.

“We will take strong action and culprit will not be spared,” Rajender said referring to the recent attacks on doctors at state-run Gandhi and Osmania hospitals here. He said doctors were staying away from their families to do their duties and risking their own lives to save others.

Two days ago, the Hyderabad Police arrested three persons, including a Covid-19 patient, for attacking doctors.

Rajender also attended a blood donation camp, organised by the Telangana Non-Gazetted Officers’ Association. Around 200 people donated blood at the camp.

Pointing to blood shortage at hospitals, the Minister said Thalassemia patients were suffering due to this and appealed donors to come forward to help overcome the shortage.

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50 new cases in ‘T’, tally rises to 700; Tablighis not cooperating, rues Etela

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Telangana Health Minister Etela Rajender who held a review meeting on Thursday to take stock of the situation arising out of corona virus expressed anguish that several people from the state who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation at Markaz Masjid in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin were not voluntarily coming forward for medical tests despite repeated appeals by the government.

Speaking to mediapersons on Thursday, he said a single family of 20 members in Old City’s Talab Katta contracted the virus after they came in contact with a person who had attended the Markaz congregation. He appealed to the people who had attended the Markaz congregation to cooperate with the government in its efforts to contain the spread of corona virus by voluntarily coming forward for medical tests. Telangana on Thursday recorded 50 new cases of Covid-19, taking the state’s total count to 700. Among the total people infected as on date, 120 have recovered and 18 deaths were reported till now. The Health Minister insisted that not a single local case of corona was reported in the state and that most of the positive cases are either due to Tablighi Jamaat attendees or foreign returnees.

“The state government is doing its bit in trying to track and trace the persons who attended the gathering at Nizamuddin and also identifying the secondary contacts. They should realize that one person can drastically spread the virus. I request the attendees to voluntarily report to the officials. We will conduct tests for them and provide them with free treatment,” he appealed.

Stating that the new corona hospital at the Gachibowli Sports Village in Hyderabad will be inaugurated on April 20, he said the hospital has modern infrastructure with 1,500 beds. Rubbishing criticism from certain quarters that there was a shortage of medical equipment, he said the government was procuring 10 lakh PPEs and 10 lakh N95 masks which will be given not just to the medical fraternity but also police force.

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Telangana would have been corona-free but for Tablighis, says Etela

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The total number of corona cases in the state climbed to 471 with 18 fresh positive cases reported on Thursday, Telangana health minister Etela Rajender informed.

Addressing a press conference, he said the Telangana government had initiated tough measures with an aim to become corona-free state by April 7, but unfortunately the state had witnessed a sudden spurt in Covid-19 cases only after people from Telangana who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin area were found infected.

Holding attendees of Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi responsible for the spike in corona virus cases in the state, Etela Rajender said, “Otherwise, Telangana by now would have been a corona-free state.” Of the 471 positive corona cases, Rajender said 388 cases are Jamaat attendees from the state, he said. “Had there been no Tablighi Jamaat incident, the state would have overcome the problem,” he said referring to the spurt in corona cases after many Tablighi Jamaat meeting returnees and their family members tested positive during the last few days. “The other cases are all foreign returnees. There is not a single local case,” he said.

More than 1,300 people from the state had attended the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin and returned to Telangana and around 26,000 foreign returnees who returned from various countries were quarantined so far. The health minister said 414 people are undergoing treatment in various hospitals. “Only one patient is on ventilator,” Etela Rajender said.

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