Gehlot for imposing strict anti-Covid norms in state

Jaipur, Apr:  Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said it is necessary to take strict and effective steps similar to lockdown and directed officials to form guidelines to curb the virus spread.

He appealed to the people to behave as if there is a lockdown, saying the second wave of Covid-19 is more dangerous.

Gehlot said the socio-religious and cultural activities in the state need to be restricted as the death rate is increasing.

Extending the curfew duration, reducing the number of participants in marriages and other social functions, cutting down the presence of people at workplaces and the number of passengers in public transport are the need of the hour, he said.

"Given these suggestions, necessary guidelines should be prepared. It is necessary to take drastic steps. The general public may suffer a bit from this, but saving lives is paramount," Gehlot said during a Covid-19 review meeting at his residence.

The chief minister also asked officials to increase the number of dedicated anti-Covid hospitals, day-care centres, besides other medical facilities including oxygen and ICU beds, medicines.

Gehlot said this second wave of coronavirus infection is even more deadly than before.

People should understand its seriousness and behave in the same way like they did when the lockdown was imposed the first time, the CM said.

Figures and studies show that the effect of the virus in the second wave, speed of infection and death rate is higher than earlier, he added.

Health Minister Raghu Sharma said the Health and Medical Department is prepared with alertness.

Oxygen support in Covid Hospital Systems, ICU beds, ventilators and other facilities are being strengthened, he added.

COVID surge: Gehlot holds high-level meeting

Jaipur, Apr 5 Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held a high-level review meeting on Monday night over the surge in coronavirus cases.

Gehlot discussed the situation with divisional commissioners, district collectors, police officers and top doctors. In the meeting, the experts laid emphasis on public participation and support in containing the spread of the virus, according to officials.

They said the government guidelines issued on Sunday was helpful in handling the situation but public participation was crucial.

The experts said people should follow self-imposed lockdown and should avoid going out if it was not necessary. The meeting is continuing.

The Monday has recorded 12 deaths on Monday and 2,429 positive cases.

Gehlot attacks Modi govt over rising fuel prices

Jaipur, Feb 20 Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday said fuel prices have been increasing for 11 days and the common man is suffering as a result of "wrong" economic policies of the Centre.

In a series of tweets, Gehlot targeted the Centre and cleared his stand on the rumours that Rajasthan levies highest tax on fuel prices.

"The Modi government imposes excise duty of Rs 32.90 on petrol and Rs 31.80 per litre on diesel. Whereas during the UPA government in 2014 there was an excise duty of only Rs 9.20 on petrol and just Rs 3.46 on diesel. The Modi government should reduce excise duty in the interest of the public without delay," he tweeted in Hindi.

"People are affected by petrol and diesel prices. Prices have been increasing continuously for the last 11 days. This is the result of wrong economic policies of the Modi government. Crude oil prices in the international market are currently half of what it used to be during the UPA rule, but petrol-diesel prices have reached an all-time high," Gehlot said in another tweet.

The chief minister claimed that the Centre has continuously reduced the part of basic excise duty of the states and increased the additional excise duty and special excise duty on the central portion "only to fill its treasury". Consequently, the state governments have to increase VAT (value-added tax) to raise their economic resources, the chief minister said.

Gehlot said the economy of Rajasthan has been badly affected due to COVID-19 and the state's revenue has decreased. But, the state government reduced VAT by 2 per cent in the last month to give relief to the common people, he added.

"Instead of giving any such relief, the Modi government is increasing the prices of petrol and diesel every day," Gehlot said.

He further said, "Some people spread rumours that the Rajasthan government imposes the highest tax on petrol, so the price is high here. Petrol in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is taxed more than Rajasthan, so the price of petrol in Jaipur is less than Bhopal. PTI

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No trace of MLAs supporting Pilot yet; Sibal seeks 5-yr ban on defectors

Jaipur: The whereabouts of the MLAs supporting former Sachin Pilot remained unclear, even as the dissident leader on Saturday appealed to all the citizens of the nation to join the efforts in helping support those affected due to the floods in Assam and Bihar.

Pilot's appeal comes amid the raging political firestorm in Rajasthan where he declared open rebellion against the Ashok Gehlot government. Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the state Congress chief earlier this week.

Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal addressed webinar on Saturday and said, “Elected representatives should be barred from holding public office for five years and from contesting the next election if they defect”. He added, “No law can prevent it (defection). The only solution is that if anyone defects they shall not hold public office for five years and cannot contest in the next election. These are the two elements that need to change.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday met Governor Kalraj Mishra at Raj Bhavan in Jaipur shortly after two MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) handed over their letter of support to him.

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