As Modi holds virtual meeting with CMs, Kejriwal blames Covid spike on pollution, Mamata demands GST dues

Shah cites examples of the US and Europe to urge states to exercise caution

New Delhi, November 24

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the Covid-19 situation of the eight worst-hit states in his first leg of the PM-CMs meeting on Tuesday.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Gujarat are the eight states that are plagued with risisng Covid cases as India intensifies its fight against the pandemic.

In the first leg of the meeting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed the sudden spike in cases on pollution.

He said though the national capital saw a sudden spike of 8,600 cases on November 10, the positivity rate has been steadily decreasing since.

He urged for an additional 1,000 ICU beds in central government hospitals till the third wave lasts.

A presentation was made during the meeting which said the national capital had seen an average 111 deaths in the last one week. Maharashtra's average death rate was found to be 93 in the last one week. Rajasthan's positivity rate was found to be 21 per cent in last week which was very high.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra's Udhhav Thackeray, Rajasthan's Ashok Gehlot, Gujarat's Vijay Rupani were also in attendance.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan were also present during the meeting, as were VK Paul of the Niti Aayog, the Cabinet Secretary and the Union Health Secretary.

During the meeting, Banerjee claimed that the state's performance on Covid was affected due to the international border it shares with other countries.

She also raised the issue of the GST dues that the Centre owes it.

Ahead of the meeting, the Rajasthan government had hiked fine to Rs 500 for those who were not adhering to wearing of masks. It was mentioned during the meeting as well by the state.

Shah cited examples of the US and Europe to urge states to exercise caution.

He advised the eight states—in the Covid Red Zone—to stringently ensure that all wear masks while in public places and maintain physical distancing, besides high level of hygiene.

The Union Health Secretary said the Covid situation in four states, particularly Delhi, Kerala, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, needed careful monitoring in the days to come. IANS

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