Karnataka

If Omicron harms our children, Modi would be responsible: Karnataka Congress

KPCC spokesperson and former Minister Dr. Sharan Prakash Patil (3rd from right) addressing mediapersons in Kalaburagi on December 8, 2021.   | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

Questioning the Union Government for non-procurement of COVID-19 vaccine for children in 12-18 age group even after two vaccines were approved by World Health Organisation (WHO), former Medical Education Minister Dr. Sharan Prakash Patil said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be held responsible if the fast-spreading Omicron variant of novel corona virus harms children.

“Mr. Modi, a government is playing with the lives of millions of children in the country. The WHO had approved two vaccines for children in April, and countries worldwide have already vaccinated their children to protect them from the pandemic. But, the Modi government in India did not place an order for the vaccines. Doesn’t Mr. Modi have minimum common sense? Or, does he have a malafide intention behind the non-procurement of vaccines for children? If the pandemic harms our children, Mr. Modi will have to be held responsible,” Mr. Patil told mediapersons in Kalaburagi on December 8.

Criticising the State Government for ‘little preparations’ for handling a possible third wave of the pandemic in the form of Omicron, Mr. Patil said that projects that were initiated about eight months for augmenting oxygen production and expansion of hospital beds remain incomplete.

“Take the example of Kalaburagi. A 50-bed children’s hospital, which was sanctioned and built by the last Congress government, is ready for the last eight months. But, it is not open for public use as the district in-charge Minister is not available for inaugurating the facility. The oxygen production plant in the ESIC Hospital complex in Kalaburagi continues to be under construction for the last eight months. As many as 200 nurses in Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences have been fired from their jobs. If the third wave of the pandemic hits us, how would the government handle the situation without nursing staff? Both the State and Union Governments are completely irresponsible, having no concerns towards the health of people,” Mr. Patil said.

Corruption charges

Referring to the complaint by contractors’ association to Prime Minister alleging demand of bribes by government officials to approve projects and clear bills, Mr. Patil questioned what action the Prime Minister had taken.

“There are many Supreme Court directions which ask elected representatives to respond and take action on representations made by the public. In this case, a registered association of contractors, who do business with the government on daily basis, has written to the Prime Minister alleging that they were being forced to pay bribes up to 40% of the project cost. But the Prime Minister took no action... In Karnataka, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai asked the Principal Secretaries to the government in different departments to probe the corruption charges. It is common sense that a government officer in a department cannot probe the corruption charges levelled against a minister who heads the department as he is subordinate to the minister. Also, there is a possibility that the officer carrying out the probe is also involved in corruption. It is like thieves investigating theft charges levelled against them,” Mr. Patil said.

KPCC spokesperson Priyank Kharge, Opposition Chief Whip in Legislative Assembly Ajay Singh, legislator Kaneez Fatima and other party leaders were present.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 7:21:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covid-19-if-omicron-harms-our-children-modi-would-be-responsible/article37894318.ece

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