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Opposition ruled States slam Centre over vaccine shortage

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 10, 2021

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the State has vaccine for only three days and urged the Centre to ramp up supply.

Worried over rising cases of Covid 19, Congress president Sonia Gandhi convened a meeting of Chief Ministers and senior Ministers in in Congress or allies-ruled States.

She asked the States to accept keep the interest of the nation above their own and take strict measures to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t go out of control and ensure testing at large scale, preparation of adequate facilities, setting up temporary ones.

The States told the meeting that they face accute shortage of vaccines and Centre hasn't given any assurance yet on its supply.

Gandhi also reviewed the efforts to fight the pandemic including availability of vaccines, access to medicines and ventilators. "Covid is surging - as the principal opposition party, it's our responsibility to raise issues and push the government to move away from PR tactics and act in the interest of the people.

Therefore, there must be transparency – Governments must reveal the actual numbers of infections and deaths across states, whether Congress ruled or otherwise," she told the meeting.

Centre’s mismanagement

She alleged that the Centre has mismanaged the situation as it allowed export of vaccines and allowed a shortage to be created in the country. "Mass gatherings for elections and religious events have accelerated Covid for which all of us are responsible to some extent. We need to accept this responsibility and keep the interest of the nation above our own," she added.

She asked the States to make all efforts to support those who face the brunt of reduced economic activity as the restrictions become harder and more stringent. "Is there enough vaccine available? Has the central government been cooperative? What are our states doing to ensure availability of the oxygen, ventilators and other facilities as the pandemic grows? What is your view of lockdown? What about the economic fallout? How bad is the situation in your state? Should not public gatherings including election rallies be cancelled?," she asked.

She also wanted to know about the impact of theVarious packages had been announced by the Central government to help MSMEs and stimulate the economy. "What impact have these packages had and what more should the Government be doing to deal with the continuing crisis? Do you see economic recovery happening in the manner that is being officially claimed?," she asked the leaders.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said there is direct connection between the spread of the virus and nutrition and livelihood of people. He said it is the poor who suffered the most and reiterated the demand for a basic minimum income.

Situation in states

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the State has vaccine for only three days and urged the Centre to ramp up supply. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also highlighted vaccine shortage and said the Centre has given no assurance of supply.

His Rajasthan counterpart Ashok Gehlot also said vaccine shortage is a reality and said the Centre must take States on board as stakeholders and not as adversaries.

Maharashtra Minister Balasaheb Thorat said the State can vaccinate five lakh people daily provided the Centre supplies the vaccine. He told the meeting that there is an urgent need for 1,200 ventilators, Remdesivir injections and Oxygen in the State.

Published on April 10, 2021

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