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61 NDRF/ODRAF personnel COVID infected after their return from Bengal


Staff Writer@Blink

Bhubaneswar, June 9: Several rescue workers who were sent from Odisha to West Bengal to extend helping hand to Amphan-hit West Bengal have now been infected with COVID 19.

The State Health Department today said that a total of 61 such personnel working either with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) or the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been found COVID positive.

The department claimed that all of them were sent by the state government on duty to use their expertise to help the state.

Nevertheless, the state today said that it has witnessed rise of 146 new cases of COVID 19 from the state. The highest of 19 cases were reported from Khurda district alone.

With the detection of 146 new cases, the total cases in the state of the viral disease touched 3140. Latest update from the state claims that the state has total of 1136 active cases and 1993 cases of recoveries. The government has also done a total of 1.82 lakh sample testing till now.


Bharatbala’s Uthenge Hum gives new hope of India’s revival


Staff Writer@Blink

Bhubaneswar, June 7: Amid disappointments, anguish and sorrow triggered by the global threat of COVID 19, noted filmmaker Bharatbala’s short film Uthenge Hum has given new hopes of India’s revival from the health disaster and its aftermath.

The film tried to portray the imposition of the lockdown across the nation and beautifully captures the mood of the nation while giving a ray of hope through its eye-catching shots which was taken from across the nation.

While all Indians stayed in lockdown, filmmaker Bharatbala and a devoted team of 117, comprising of about 15 film crews, set out to capture the unseen visuals of our nationwide lockdown.

The crews filmed the lockdown across 14 states, covering thousands of kilometres, to document this exceptional time in human history. The film spans the extents of the country, from Kashmir to Kerala, Gujarat to Assam, Lucknow to Spiti, Dharavi in Mumbai to the Red Fort in the national capital.

Uthenge Hum (We Will Rise) is a four-minute film that captures the nation in lockdown. The situations the crews encountered and filmed are mesmerizing. The human story that has unfolded through their camera journeys and deeply moving visuals is one that has echoed across demographics. Bharatbala unerring eye and pulse for the country captures an overwhelming stillness, a desolation even in the most stunning vistas that we see.

But underlying this desolation is that sliver of hope, the spirit of Uthenge Hum — a tribute to this nation of vastness, of power and presence, and of scale. The thread of resilience of a country that must move again. As the country moves ahead from this period of lockdown, India will slowly get back to life and go forth into an uncertain future. But people will remember this time and their collective human experience in the face of this historical time. We must never forget.

Bharatbala re-imagines India for every generation. His celebration of the nation’s intangible wealth in his iconic projects like Vande Mataram, Jana Gana Mana (both with A.R. Rahman), Incredible India, and many others, have captured our imaginations. He helps craft new emotions this country embraces.

Odisha health dept website crashes, COVID info seekers baffled


Staff Writer@Blink

Bhubaneswar, June 3: One of the few government sources available now to get information on COVID in Odisha suffered a jolt on Wednesday as the State Health Department website crashed and denied access to the public.

Several media professionals, TV channels and other information seekers were baffled to get information on the latest status of the state on COVID 19. However most of them were disappointed with the website as it became unresponsive both on desktop and through mobile phones.

Several of the users complained that the website was not accessible since June 2. Some of the journalists and others also tweeted this online and brought to notice of the concerned departments but there was no response from the government yet.

This comes after the government stopped conducting daily press conferences on briefing the people on COVID 19. Earlier the government used to do a virtual press conference almost daily by evading the direct questions of the media. Later the Information and Public Relations department which was monitoring the whole events closed it completely to add to the woes.

With the absence of counter-questioning mechanism from the media, several of these bureaucrats have now become opaque to questioning and are depriving the fourth pillar of democracy of seeking more questions on the management of COVID 19 in the state.

With the halting of even access to the website, many people are flummoxed with the absence of information. Several media persons told The Blink that most of the secretaries of the concerned departments like-Health Department, Information and Public Relations Department and even Subroto Bagchi, the Chief Spokesperson of the government on COVID 19 are not responsive to media queries on reached out to them.

Govt allows opening of parks, allots special time for the elderly


Staff Writer@Blink

Bhubaneswar, June 3: In the light of removal of earlier curbs of lockdown, the Bhubaneswar civic body has allowed the parks in Bhubaneswar to be opened but has put its own restrictions.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a notification into this regard and asked the elderly to visit the parks only during the morning between 5am to 7am. The body has also specified timings for other section of the people.

In a notification issued by BMC said it has allowed all parks of BMC and Bhubaneswar Development Authority and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) falling under the BMC jurisdiction.

“In view of the relaxation made by government order… and in suppression of all previous orders all the public parks of BMC, BDA and BSCL within the jurisdiction of BMC will be opened in all days (except Saturdays and Sunday of June 2020) from 5am to 10am in the morning and 4pm to 6pm in the evening,” the notification said.

The BMC said that the elderly would not be allowed inside the parks beyond the allotted time.

The earlier lockdown orders had barred the movement of people inside parks and these were also banned to be opened. However with the latest norms issued by the Home Ministry and subsequently by the state government they have now been removed from the barred list.

Poor Odia communities to loose livelihood due to Sat/Sunday curfew, says Odisha Cong


Staff Writer@Blink

Bhubaneswar, June 3: Odisha Congress spokesperson Satya Prakash Nayak claimed that the forced measure taken by the Naveen Patnaik government to compulsorily impose curfew on Saturday and Sunday is likely to hit livelihood of many.

Nayak said that several Odia communities are dependent on these weekend days for plum business which are likely to be hit by the recent decision taken by the BJD-ruled Odisha government, barring movement of people during these days in 11 districts of the state.

“Several communities like fishermen, chicken sellers, forest produce selling communities, farmers and others are highly dependent on the weekly markets for their livelihood. The decision of Odisha government to impose curfew on these days will affect their livelihood and earnings directly,” he said.

He also added that there was no scientific backing on the imposition of such a strict rule. “The Odisha government is highly confused in COVID 19 management. There is no scientific reason to do the same for COVID 19. WHO norms talk about social distancing, testing and other such measures but not decisions like this,” he said.

Nayak also lambasted the government for misleading the public in the name of benefits for the poor people. “The state government is misleading the people of benefits to the poor through hyped announcements. The 2011 Census claims that Odisha has a total of 25,442 unorganised sector workers. The government schemes at best can serve this recognized workers and deprive majority of them,” he said.

The Congress leader also accused the state government of using a ‘hired spokesperson’ to actually block the freedom of speech. “The government had used a hired spokesperson who is neither a minister nor a bureaucrat to speak virtually to the people on the important issue of COVID 19,” he said.

Ganjam first Odisha district to report more than 400 COVID cases


Staff Writer@Blink

Bhubaneswar, May 31: Ganjam district of Odisha Saturday became the first district across the state to report more than 400 cases of COVID 19, data from the State Health Department said.

According to the latest update, the district which has seen sudden flow of lakhs of migrants back to the region till now has reported 414 officially reported cases of the global pandemic by Saturday morning.

The state government claims that within 27 days after the relaxation of partial lockdown, 334 of them have recovered and there are only 77 active cases in the district. The cases of COVID 19 in Ganjam started surging from May 4 after the inter-state movement of stranded migrants was allowed.

It is followed by Jajpur which reported 269 cases till now while the third highest reporting district of COVID 19 in Odisha is Balasore which reported 152 cases. Khurda district which earlier had been leading in maximum cases till now has total of 138 reported cases of the viral disease.

Meanwhile the state in their latest round of sample testing has found 129 new cases of COVID 19. With the addition of 129 new cases of the global pandemic, the total cases in the state have touched 1948

The government also claimed that till now it has tested a total of 1,52,131 samples to screen for COVID 19. More than 3 lakh Odia populations who were stranded outside the state also have now come back to their home state till now. The state has now 813 active cases and 1126 cases of recoveries.

Odisha adds 76 fresh cases of COVID 19, Balangir most hit


By-Pramit Karmakar 

Bhubaneswar, May 27: Odisha on Wednesday saw rise of 76 new cases of COVID 19 as the government reached testing 1,36,274 samples in the state by May 27, the state government said.

With the 76 new cases, the state till now reported a total of 1517 positive cases of COVID 19. The state government Monday said that out of the 76 new cases, 74 were reported from quarantine centres, and rest 2 cases were reported from local contacts.

The highest cases were reported from Balangir which saw 16 new cases in its district. It was followed by Khurda and Nuapada which saw 13 new cases each. There was no new case of deaths owing to the global pandemic.

Other seven districts which reported the new cases included- Cuttack (11) , Ganjam (10) , Jagatsinghpur (6) , whereas Balasore , Nayagarh and Sundergarh reported (2) respectively , Mayurbhanj reports (1) new case.

Zomato, Swiggy seek Aadhar, other IDs to home deliver liquor


Staff Writer@Blink

Bhubnaeswar, May 27: Popular national brand food aggregators Zomato and Swiggy who were allowed to home deliver liquor as per the recent order of the Odisha government are now seeking details of Aadhar card and other government documents.

These mobile application-run services are now seeking the Aadhar number or ID of other government verified documents to confirm the age of the alcohol seeker who want to home deliver their set of liquor from wine shops.

As per the protocol followed by these players, the customers are bound to furnish the ID numbers of either Aadhar card, driving licence, voter card, PAN card or others to do their one time verification for ordering liquor through their apps. This will be similar to hotel check-ins where  a copy of government ID cards are preserved in their files and database for future reference.

These apps after getting clearance from the state government have now added the new feature of delivering liquor at doorsteps. The customers can now order their liquor requirements between 9am to 6pm through this apps.

Now available in selected cities like Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, the services are likely to be expanded to other cities soon. The apps will deliver orders from only licences shops and those who tie up with them.

Stressed during lockdown? You are not alone, say Odisha psychiatrists


By-Pramit Karmakar

Bhubaneswar, May 27: The lockdown curbs which most Indians never had experienced in their entire life are forcing many to stay indoor. While many are managing to fight the boredom and other hurdles, several during the period ended up with added stress, marital discord and other psyche-related issues.

Leading psychiatrists and psychologists from the state claim that these are not stray incidents and many people during the last 2 months reported such cases to them and sought their help. The experts claim that by doing some changes in the lifestyle, people can fight the stress successfully.

Dr Amrit Pattojoshi, is noted psychiatrist from Bhubaneswar. He said that he practiced everyday during the lockdown and despite lockdown curbs he continued to see patients in good numbers seeking psychological help which he claimed hinted at the increase anxiety and stress levels of the people.

“During the last two months we have seen more people coming up with issues like anxiety, depression and people with higher number of stress cases.  Many started developing sleep disorders due to irregular sleep cycles. Even some married couple started have trouble for living with themselves at home for long. There were also cases of anger outbursts and other issues,” Dr Pattojoshi said.

When asked for solutions for the escalating stress levels, he said, “Have a disciplined life, we should be more focused on what we want to do, rather than following others. Try to do as much as you can like when your life was not in lockdown. Manage time and try every things with a positive intent. Let’s be fair and not harsh to the people around us. Everyone has problems within themselves. We can always solve this by helping each other.” said Dr. Amrit Pattojoshi.

Dr Suvendu Mishra is another psychiatrist from Bhubaneswar. He said that as soon as the cases of COVID 19 started surging and first phase of lockdown was announced many people got anxious. “Many started fearing that if they venture out they might die, they might contract Corona. Drug addicts had their own set of problems anticipating shortage of their addictions. They started feeling withdrawal symptoms like irritability, sweating and panic attacks,” he said.

“The best way to manage stress is to maintain regular day to day routine activity, like waking up at a particular time, include exercise and meditation in your life. Set small goals to complete in day. Focus on household chores, giving quality time to parents and children and keeping oneself busy. This is called daily activity scheduling,”  Bhubaneswar-based psychiatrist Dr Suvendu Narayan Mishra told The Blink.

Odisha sees 79 fresh cases, Cuttack most hit


By-Pramit Karmakar

Bhubaneswar, May 26: Odisha on Tuesday saw rise of 79 new cases of COVID 19 as the government reached testing 1,31,595 samples in the state by May 26, the state government said.

With the 79 new cases, the state till now reported a total of 1517 positive cases of COVID 19. The state government Tuesday said that out of the 79 new cases, 71 were reported from quarantine centres, and rest 8 cases were reported from local contacts.

The highest cases were reported from Cuttack which saw 16 new cases in its district. Cuttack as of now has reported a total of 75 total cases of the global pandemic. It was followed by Balangir which saw 14 new cases. There was no new case of deaths owing to the global pandemic.

Other thirteen districts which reported the new cases included- Keonjhar (8) , Kandhamal (7) , Kendrapara (6) , Ganjam (5) whereas Balasore , Khurda , Puri reported (4) new cases , Nayagarh and Dhenkanal (3) cases each respectively , Jajpur (2) , while Angul , Jharsuguda and Sonepur saw (1) new case.

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