City Buzz: 32 Omicron cases | Farmers to return home finally | Zika in Delhi

weekly urban news round-up

Farmers' rally in Bhopal, 2005 (Representational Image). Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Omicron: India’s tally rises to 32

As Maharashtra confirms seven new cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the country’s total count reached 32, with 17 of those in Maharashtra. No fatalities have been reported so far.

A Parliamentary panel has recommended that the health ministry reevaluate the requirement of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, citing the unpredictability of the virus as reason. The panel recommended that COVID-19 infrastructure be developed further, keeping children at the forefront of all medical decisions.

Source: The Times of India

Farmers to finally return home

On December 9th, protesting farmers at Delhi’s border announced the end of their year-long resistance against the farm laws introduced by the Centre early last year. Leaders of the Samayukta Kisan Morcha confirmed that besides repeat of the contentious laws, the government has met their other demands too.

“We have decided to suspend our agitation,” said farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni. “We will hold a review meeting on January 15th. If govt doesn’t fulfill its promises, we could resume our agitation”.

Source: The Times of India

Converting farm stubble to biofuel

To deal with pollution caused by stubble burningEnvironment Minister Bhupender Yadav told the Lok Sabha on December 11th that the Union government was working on a plan to use farm stubble as biofuel.

The Minister said the National Thermal Power Corporation had procured 3,000 tonnes of stubble and study its efficacy as bio-fuel for producing power. Other solutions like converting farm stubble into manure and compost are also being experimented with.

Earlier, the Central government had completely decriminalised stubble burning in the Air Quality Commission Act.

Source: The Hindu

a woman tends to crops in a paddy field in India. paddy fields have been impacted by restrictions from Delhi government to improve air quality
Representative Image | Photo: Navaneeth Kishor, Flickr (Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

SC directs Delhi to relax curbs as air quality improves

As air quality in Delhi slowly improves, the Supreme Court asked the government’s Air Quality Commission to reevaluate restrictions introduced to regulate pollution in the city. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing rice manufacturers, submitted that the restrictions have impacted the community and should be eased since Paddy season is on.

While the restrictions have improved Delhi’s air quality, workers in various industry segments are struggling. The Court has asked Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to pay wages to construction workers who were rendered jobless due to ban on all construction and demolition.

As of the time of writing, no decision on relaxation of restrictions had been made yet.

Source: The Hindu

Read more: Can the ban on construction really improve Delhi’s air quality?

First Zika virus confirmed in Delhi

After Kerala, Maharashtra and UP, Delhi is next to report a case of the mosquito-borne Zika virus raising concerns of a Zika epidemic. A 61-year-old man in Northeast Delhi was admitted with fever and muscle pain in November. Samples collected from him were found with the Zika virus RNA.

Ram Manohar Lohia (RML), where he was admitted, has warned people to watch for symptoms like fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. Zika infection during pregnancy can alter the health of a newborn child, the hospital added.

The virus is usually spread by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (aegypti and albopictus). The Rajya Sabha had confirmed 231 of the virus in India, but no deaths have been reported.

Source: The Times of India

(Compiled by Saachi D’Souza)

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The News Desk at Citizen Matters puts out Press Releases, notifications and curated information useful to the urban reader.