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Covid surge : PM cancels Puducherry visit

Puducherry, Jan 7 (BPNS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was to inaugurate the National youth festival at Puducherry on January 12 has cancelled his visit due to the surging number of Covid cases in the Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. Senior BJP leader and Home Minister of Union Territory of Puducherry, Namassivayam told reporters on Friday.

The National Youth Festival which was to be held from January 12th to January 16th at Puducherry to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian independence and birthday celebrations of Swami Vivekananda will now be held in the virtual mode for three days only.

Prime Minister will now inaugurate the National Youth Festival in virtual mode on January 12th itself.

Puducherry Chief Secretary Ashwini Kumar has communicated to all the   Chief Secretaries not to send delegations from their respective states to the Union Territory and to note the change of schedule to virtual mode.

Around 7000 youths from all states and Union Territories were expected to participate in the five-day event. Union Minister for Sports and Youth affairs, Anurag Singh Thakur who was in Puducherry on Wednesday had overseen all the preparations for the National Youth Festival and had assigned a team of officers from the Ministry led by Under Secretary of the department of sports and youth affairs Pankaj Kumar Singh.

However, with the programme being now converted to virtual mode, the Puducherry administration has heaved a sigh of relief.

Former Chief Minister of Puducherry and senior Congress leader, V. Narayanasami had already called upon the Prime Minister not to attend the programme taking into consideration the high surge in fresh Covid -19 cases as also the presence of Omicron variant. The CPI state secretary, A.M. Saleem has also requested the Prime Minister to cancel the programme considering the high number of fresh cases.