On the 66th day of the nation-wide lockdown in place to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Indian Railways issued guidelines for its staff who would be on board the 100 special trains starting their services from June 1. As per the new guidelines, the ticket checking staff will now not be required to wear their customary black coats and ties and will instead wear gloves, masks, face shields, PPEs and use magnifying glasses to check tickets.
As fourth phase of the lockdown ends on May 31, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also announced easing of curbs starting June 1, allowing places of worship to open with maximum ten persons present at a time, and prohibiting any major gathering or celebration of festivals. Meanwhile, according to the latest figures provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the coronavirus tally in India soared to 1,65,799 after nearly 7,500 fresh cases were reported in the last 24 hours. The death toll stood at 4,706.
Here’s a curated list of some interesting stories from across the country on Day 66 of lockdown:
Sonu Sood arranges chartered flight to ferry Odisha migrants from Kerala
Actor Sonu Sood on Friday helped 167 migrants stuck in Kerala to reach their home in Odisha by arranging a chartered flight for them.
The group, comprising 147 women and 20 men, were airlifted by an Air Asia chartered flight from Kochi taking them to the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar. “When I decided to come forward in support of these migrant workers who have been stranded, all that I had in my mind was how I can help reunite them with their families and homes,” Sonu said in a statement.
The Bollywood actor thanked the airline carrier for its “immediate response and interest in supporting this endeavour”. “AirAsia India has been very appreciative that this Umeed Ki Udan may be the first flight for many of them. The Allstars of AirAsia who have been part of this journey have been true Covid warriors and have done everything possible to make the guests on board comfortable,” Sonu added.
Previously too, the actor, who has collaborated with entrepreneur Neeti Goel for the Ghar Bhejo initiative, had arranged buses for migrants helping them to reach their homes.
He had also donated over 1,500 PPE kits to doctors in Punjab. He has also been feeding thousands of underprivileged people along with providing meal kits to migrants in the Bhiwandi area during the holy month of Ramadan.
IIT alumnus to launch special online classes for children with dyslexia during lockdown
An Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT- Madras) aluminus has decided to start a specialised online class for the children with dyslexia to make up for their academic loss during Covid-19 lockdown. D Chandrasekhar, a metallurgy and material engineering graduate, founded Madras Dyslexia Association to help them out. He however felt that the progress the students made would go waste with suspension of classroom teaching due to lockdown.
“We are launching a new initiative to help children with learning disabilities. We will leverage the ubiquitous internet and computer to have engaging live online sessions that teach students with dyslexia in unique ways. These sessions aim to build ground-up – from pre-skills to essential skills to read, write (English and Tamil) and study effectively and is intended for children enrolled in classes 2-7,” Chandrashekhar told news agency PTI.
“The language skills programmes (both English and Tamil) approach the subject holistically-going from sounds of letters, reading words as whole words or using techniques like syllabication, meaningful reading of phrases and sentences, building vocabulary, going onto comprehension, analysis and finally making inferences,” he added.
The association has also come up with an “Avaz Reader” paving way to become an engaged independent reader.
Delhi HC bids virtual farewell to Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal
In first of its kind, the Delhi High Court on Friday bid virtual farewell to Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal who would soon join as President of the Delhi State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
The high court, which is functioning via video conferencing since the lockdown started on March 24, conducted the farewell using this mode.
Justice Sehgal, 62, who was set to retire as the Judge of the high court in June, had submitted her resignation following her appointment to the commission. Her resignation was accepted by the Centre on May 21.
TV networks turn to mythology shows as lockdown hampers new content production
With lack of original content, various Indian television networks have resorted to broadcasting mythology shows amid lockdown. Not only this, they are also continuing to increase the share of such content even as their viewership is receding.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Friday said even as the lockdown continued in different parts of the country, the overall viewership continued its downward journey. However, it is still up compared to the pre-COVID levels, BARC added.
National broadcaster Doordarshan had been strategically telecasting Hindu-mythology-based shows like Ramayana and Mahabharata during the early lockdown days which helped in catapulting the channel to the top of the rating charts.
The lockdown has stopped all the production activities, hampering new content generation. In data for the week that ended on May 22, the BARC said the total mythology-based programming stood at 1,671 hrs for the week, which is more than double of 777 hrs which was before the lockdown.
(With PTI inputs)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines