‘Govt. has not learnt any lessons from COVID-19 first wave’

KPCC spokesperson Priyank Kharge, along with former Minister Sharan Prakash Patil, addressing a media conference in Kalaburagi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

Criticising the Union and State governments for their ‘ill-preparedness’ to handle the second wave of COVID-19, KPCC spokesperson Priyank Kharge and former Minister Sharan Prakash Patil said that both governments had not learnt any lessons from the first wave of the pandemic.

At a press conference in Kalaburagi on Friday, the Congress leaders alleged that BJP leaders were busy in elections and protecting their powers instead of making preparations for the handling the pandemic.

“Though there was a clear indication of the second wave, the governments did not make any preparations. There is severe shortage of beds and oxygen cylinders. Remdesivir and allied medicines are being sold at inflated prices in the black market. Though there is a shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the government has allowed the export of around 6 crore vaccines. The Union government is so negligent and irresponsible that it has not spent a single rupee for the research and development of a vaccine. The available vaccines are developed by private parties,” Mr. Priyank said.

Pointing to the widespread pandemic in neighbouring Maharashtra Mr. Priyank asked the State government why it had not yet sealed the borders.

“The officials in the borders areas are allowing the people coming from Maharashtra to enter the State after accepting bribes. I am not opposed to people coming back to their native places in the State. But, the government should ensure that they are properly screened. COVID-19 care centres should be established in the border areas so that the infected people coming from the neighbouring States could be treated there,” Mr. Priyank said.

Mr. Patil warned the government that the situation would go out of control and people would have to die on the roads without getting proper treatment for COVID-19 if it did not start the preparations on a war footing.

“COVID-19 cases are increasing alarmingly in the State. Since there are no sufficient beds in the hospitals, the infected patients are already standing in long queues. The government should immediately establish makeshift hospitals and provide the required infrastructure. All the officers in the bureaucratic apparatus should rise to the occasion and lead the war against COVID-19 from the front,” Mr. Patil said.

Both the leaders alleged that the government was releasing funds only for such projects and initiatives that could fetch greater commission and not for developing infrastructure for handling the pandemic or for other essential activities.

“All the Ministers and officers are pointing their fingers to COVID-19 when you question them why the development activities have taken a back seat. But the government’s answer in the Assembly clearly showed that it has spent only around ₹5,000 crore for handling the COVID-19 crisis. Where has the rest of the tax payers’ money, over ₹2 lakh crore as shown in the budget, gone? The fact is that the rest of the money is going only to such places from where the BJP leaders in power get enough commission. Only such files are being cleared on priority which would give them enough returns in the form of commission,” Mr. Priyank said.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:47:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/govt-has-not-learnt-any-lessons-from-covid-19-first-wave/article34336068.ece

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