Top Headlines of the day
1. Haryana: Over 16k devotees pour in at Mansa Devi temple
A steady outpour of devotees was witnessed at Mansa Devi temple on Saturday– day one of the Navratra fair– amid the pandemic. The temple had already received over 16,000 devotees by 8 pm on Saturday.
While maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and entry by e-tokens were mandated, the precautions flailed as more and more devotees showed up.
Almost everyone who reached the temple had not booked the tokens online and were made to get the token issued through the website on the spot. The approach worked initially, till the inflow of people remained controlled– but as noon approached, people were let in without any e-tokens. Although each person was made to wash their hands at the entry point; eventually, social distancing was thrown to the winds as the queues reached up to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Meanwhile, a kiosk set up by the Health Department, that remained functional till afternoon, collected as many as 1,235 rapid antigen samples for the Covid-19 test. At least two of these tested positive and the patients were quarantined by the Health Department at the spot. “If the people are from distant towns, we are isolating them at our Covid Care Centres. If they are from the district itself, the persons are being given the option to observe home isolation,” said CMO Jasjeet Kaur.
2. When pandemic forces a literature festival to go digital
Tribune has covered the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival (KSLF) ever since it began in 2012, at the Kasauli Club in the cantonment hill station of Kasauli, a short distance from Chandigarh. The then Brigadier, Anant Narayanan, a far-sighted individual, urged us to hold it in Kasauli, where Khushwant Singh did much of his writing. The Kasauli Club was the ideal venue: its terrace looking down into the valley below, then the Shivalik Hills and, beyond, the shimmering Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.
This October, too, the present Brigadier, Naveen Mahajan, was keen to have it physically in Kasauli for the ninth successive time. But the pandemic made that impractical. However, we felt that continuity must be maintained, hence the first Digital KSLF, though not held in Kasauli, had the ambiance of the place and the spirit of Khushwant Singh behind it. The main theme of the latest had to be centered around the pandemic, so the title came easily, “A New Life”
3. Festive season gradually driving Chandigarh markets out of pandemic gloom
The onset of nine-day Navratri festivities has already started multiplying customer footfall and sales in the city’s markets, to even pre-lockdown levels for some, say traders.
President of Business Promotion Council, Sector 17, Neeraj Bajaj said, “The corridors of Sector 17 which wore a deserted look earlier have started filling up again. People are coming out to eat at restaurants and to buy gifts for their families, and sales have increased greatly. On the weekends, the market looks nearly as busy as it used to be during pre-Covid times.”
The old buzz is almost back at Sector 46 market too, shares its association head Balwinder Singh Uttam. “The number of Covid cases has gone down so people aren’t as scared as before and are now used to wearing masks and maintaining social distance. We are highly encouraged by the buyers’ response and hope that sales during the festivals go as high as the previous years.”
4. MC house to take a call on fee relief tonight Food Street
The estate branch of the municipal corporation (MC) will bring an agenda to waive off the monthly rental fee of booths at the city’s lone night food street in Sector 14 in the general house meeting on Tuesday. In a representation to the estate branch, kiosk runners had requested that since their business was shut from the last week of March and their earnings had dried up, they would be unable to pay the monthly rent of Rs 1 lakh each.
5. UT launches used cooking oil initiative to make bio-diesel
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched the Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (Ruco) initiative on Friday to collect and convert used-cooking oil into bio-diesel. Dr. Kang said the food business operators often use the same cooking oil for repeated frying. The consumption of used cooking oil poses adverse health effects since polar compounds are formed during frying. These compounds are associated with several diseases such as hypertension and liver disease. The FSSAI has issued directions to all the state’s food authorities to initiate the process of disposal and collection of used cooking oil.
In lieu of the World Food Day 2020, which is celebrated throughout the world on October 16, the food safety department of the UT Chandigarh, celebrated the World Food Day and launched the FSSAI initiative Ruco
6. Congress To Start ‘Speak Up For Chandigarh’ Campaign
The Chandigarh Congress on Saturday said it will start an online social media campaign under which the party leaders will regularly raise various issues, including the recent steep hike in water tariffs, in the city.
Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president Pradeep Chhabra said the party will also gherao the municipal corporation office on October 20 to protest the “three-fold increase in water tariffs”. The hike is between 50 percent and 200 percent, depending upon the category of user and consumption level, and has burdened the city residents who are already affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
During the campaign, ‘Speak up Chandigarh’, the Congress will also highlight exorbitant parking rates, the issue of dumping ground, and potholes, Chhabra said.
7. MC constitutes teams to check illegal vendors during festive.
Officials have been directed to keep an eye on the markets of the city to prevent encroaching by illegal vendors. The department has constituted teams who will be checking various sectors, villages, and colonies.
“The festival season usually witnesses chaos in the market areas, parking areas, and other non designated areas. Vendors try to sell sneakily, creating problems for the commuters and shoppers. Enforcement teams will be on extra vigil during the specific festival period,” an official said.