The leaders of the Telangana unit of the Congress today expressed deep displeasure at the way the KCR government had been handling the ongoing second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a media address, CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka alleged that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao was responsible for the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in Telangana since his government had organised the recent municipal elections
despite repeated pleas from various quarters of society to not do so.
"The number of cases in the Warangal and Khammam districts have shot up after the municipal elections were conducted there. The KCR government has pushed up the state's case tally by stubbornly going ahead with the elections even though many, including the leaders of our party, had repeatedly appealed to it not to do so," he fumed.
The leader added that the party would lodge a complaint with Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on the issue, and would also provide to her evidence of the claims that the government was responsible for the surge in cases in the state.
Bringing up another contentious issue, that of the inclusion of Covid-19 in the state-run Arogyasree healthcare scheme, Vikramarka demanded that the government immediately subsidise Covid-19 treatment by including it in the scheme. Further, he demanded that isolation centres be set up at each mandal headquarter of the state.
He also asked the government to constitute state and district level committees, comprising IAS officers, to streamline and oversee the pandemic management process across the state, and added that officials needed to focus on ensuring the availability of oxygen beds, medicines and vaccines at every hospital.
Claiming that the TRS regime had earlier ignored the warnings of the Congress regarding the seriousness of the pandemic, the senior leader said that a lockdown of fifteen days was critical to effectively "break the Covid-19 chain".
On the other hand, former minister Mohammad Ali Shabbir strongly condemned KCR's decision to impose a total lockdown for ten days from May 12 at such short notice.
"The High Court has made serious remarks against the state government for not taking adequate measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Telangana. While the court was clearly in favour of taking stricter measures since the beginning, CM KCR, then-Health Minister Etela Rajender, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and other leaders kept misleading the people by saying that there would be no lockdown or night curfew. However, citing court orders, the government first imposed a night curfew
, and now it has also imposed a ten-day lockdown. People would have prepared themselves mentally if the CM had only been more organised in his approach to the implementation of the lockdown," the Congress veteran fumed.
Shabbir Ali alleged that the CM had fallen into a habit of "keeping the public in the dark", and added, "KCR tells lies with such ease and conviction that the innocent people of Telangana simply accept them as the truth. When the first case of Covid-19 was reported, our CM thought it appropriate to dismiss it saying that the disease could be cured with a paracetamol tablet. He then kept changing his statements but never told the truth about the seriousness of the pandemic to the people. Consequently, crores in Telangana have been suffering due to his lies."
He then demanded that the TRS government provide financial assistance to all the BPL and middle-income families through the lockdown, and pointed out that there was a need to ensure that the prices of essential commodities and services remained in control during the ten-day period. Like his colleague, Vikramarka, he too demanded that the government "improve" the infrastructure of the healthcare sector and "fill the gaps" in the treatment facilities to provide better healthcare to Covid-19 patients, provide free treatment for all regardless of their present economic status, and compensate the families of those killed due to the pandemic.