Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir today demanded that the Telangana government immediately clarify its plans on imposing a "total lockdown" in the state from the first week of May.
In a media statement, he said that the TRS Government had failed miserably in preventing the spread of Covid-19 in Telangana, and added, "Unprecedented increases in cases and deaths are being reported every day and the situation is going out of control with every passing hour. This makes clear the fact that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had failed to foresee the outbreak of the second wave. He should have made better plans to deal with the pandemic especially since the first wave and the subsequent lockdown completely shattered the state's economy. When almost all the affected countries witnessed second, third and even fourth waves of Covid-19, why did both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM KCR fail to foresee a similar situation in our country? They did nothing in the last year. As a result of this negligence, we are losing thousands of our citizens to Covid-19."
The Congress leader said that the BJP-led Centre was reportedly planning to impose a total lockdown from May 2 or 3, and claimed, "Although PM Modi has clearly stated that a lockdown will be the last resort, people cannot trust his words. Similarly, though CM KCR, Health Minister Etala Rajender and other officials in Telangana had been making claims that there would be no night curfew in Telangana, one was imposed without any advance notice. Therefore, the state government must consult the Centre and get clarity on the proposed lockdown. Both the governments should clarify whether any such lockdown will indeed be implemented well in advance. In order to avoid panic and hoarding, the TRS government should tell the public its plans clearly. Migrant labourers have already started leaving the capital
for their native places. The exodus will soon impact agriculture and other industries and will harm the labourers monetarily. Everyone, especially the poor and middle-class sections, will get some time to prepare themselves for a lockdown if some notice is given. This is only humane."
Further, Shabbir Ali welcomed the remarks made by the Madras High Court where it called the Election Commission of India responsible for the second wave.
He said that the High Court had rightly observed that EC officials were liable to be booked for the murder of people who got infected with Covid-19 at polling booths and roadshows, and that the same observation was applicable to the Telangana State Election Commission as well, which had clearly stated that it would hold municipal elections
at the peak of the second wave.
"The SEC is acting under the influence of KCR and the ruling party. That is why it is not willing to postpone the elections to a later date. Congress leader K Jana Reddy is all set to win the Nagarjuna Sagar by-election. Therefore, the TRS fears that it will lose any elections held after May 2. For the same reason, it has been forcing the SEC to conduct municipal polls on April 30. With such actions, the TRS will be remembered in history for building a political empire on human corpses. People will also remember SEC officials not as independent individuals, but puppets in the hands of the pink party," the leader charged.
In his statement, Shabbir Ali also welcomed the decision of the state government to fill 755 posts in the health department. However, he said that all 755 posts, including 144 doctors, were being appointed on a contract/outsourcing basis, and called the move "unacceptable".
Elaborating further, he added, "The TRS government should work out permanent measures to overcome the crisis. We are now witnessing the second wave of Covid-19. Many developed countries have witnessed up to four waves. We must be fully prepared in terms of all equipment, including beds, supply of medical oxygen, medicines, ventilators and personnel, to deal with future crises. We cannot expect to overcome the crisis by making ad hoc arrangements."
Highlighting the importance of "permanent" measures, the leader said that the number of active cases in Telangana had crossed 65,500 today, and that even this number was about one-fifth of the real figure. He then flayed the union government for allegedly forcing the states to keep the real figures under wraps.
The Congress bigwig also demanded that the state government include Covid-19 treatment in the Aarogyasri Scheme, and that it provide 100% reimbursement to patients who had already gotten treated for the disease at private hospitals.