The Congress has been extremely vocal about its demand for the postponment of the municipal elections
to be held in Telangana on April 30 (tomorrow) from the get-go.
Today, Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir added a complaint against both the state government and the Centre for their politicisation of the pandemic, and advised them against "treating the vaccination drive as just another electoral promise" as it involved "crores of human lives".
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced that a Vaccination Utsav will be held across the nation from April 11 to April 14 without even having an idea about the availability of vaccine doses. Consequently, the shortage of vaccines makes the promise of the Utsav the archetypal damp squib. Similarly, the Modi-led Centre has also announced that all those aged 18 and above will get vaccinated from May 1. This too was announced vaguely without giving a thought to the logistics and infrastructure involved in the implementation of this promise. In reality, not many states in the country are in a position to take up the vaccination drive due to the current shortage of vaccines, manpower and other critical infrastructure. Even the websites for vaccination registration are unable to handle the rush and crashed within hours of their launch," he said.
Shabbir Ali added that it was easier for the PM to get away with not fulfilling his promises of depositing Rs 15 lakh in the bank accounts of every citizen and of giving two crore jobs a year, but that the failure to deliver on the assurances relating to the immunisation drive, since linked directly to the lives of people, would be a much greater infraction.
"The vaccination against Covid-19 is directly linked with people's health and their right to life. It is the duty of the government to get the entire population vaccinated free of cost without putting anyone's life in any kind of danger. Therefore, the Centre should make announcements only after working out the logistics and other details of the vaccination program. People are already in a panicky situation and they cannot be mentally tortured further through insincere and fake promises which gives them only false hope," the senior Congress leader explained.
Shabbir Ali also condemned the Telangana government and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao for the current shortage of vaccines, medical oxygen, Remedesivir injections, other medicines, and medical devices/equipment used in the treatment of Covid-19.
"Initially, Chief Minister KCR did nothing to prevent the spread of Covid-19 through the first wave. Today too his government has failed miserably in minimising the damage during the second wave. Its persistently negligent attitude even now has meant that the state's health infrastructure has seen no improvement in the past few months, despite the Telangana's horrible experience during the first wave last year," he fumed.
"I demand that the CM explain how he has allocated Rs 2,500 crore for the proposed free vaccination programme. When the entire country has been opposing the differential pricing for the same vaccine, how could KCR agree on the prices set by the vaccine manufacturers and even make the allocation? He should clarify the prices on which his government has agreed to procure Covaxin, Covishield and other vaccines. The state government should also announce the entire schedule of the immunisation drive by providing the details of the arrival of the vaccines at the designated centres and the schedule of the administration to the people of the state. The government should also ensure that the vaccination centres do not turn into super-spreaders due to negligence," the leader then asserted.
Pointing out that it would be insensitive and dangerous to use assurances about the vaccination drive, he also said, "The promises about the vaccination program made by the TRS government and the BJP-led Centre are not to be treated like previous electoral promises. This is not something whose fulfilment can be deferred. Both the governments must realise that everyone has just one life and there is nothing anyone can do if that precious life is lost. Therefore, they should focus on saving each and every life while putting aside petty politics."
Another Congress leader, TPCC head N Uttam Kumar Reddy, also made demands relating to the treatment of Covid-19 patients today. He asked the state government to immediately include the deadly disease in the state-run Aarogyasri scheme in order to help all the poor patients.
Reddy said that it was the basic responsibility of the government to extend efficient healthcare services to all its people, especially when both the state and union government had failed to control the pandemic.
The leader, who recently tested positive himself, made these remarks in a video message posted on his official Twitter account. He thanked everybody for praying for his good health and said that he would be discharged from the hospital in the next three days.
He also used the video to inform the public that the Congress had set up Covid-19 control rooms in all the districts of the state and at the Gandhi Bhavan to extend help to all "Covid-hit" party leaders and workers, and the people of the state.