Provide financial aid to people hit by lockdown, Congress tells Karnataka government

Autorickshaws are among the public transport vehicles not allowed to operate during the lockdown.   | Photo Credit: BHAGYA PRAKASH

The Opposition Congress on Tuesday demanded the immediate announcement of a relief package for those adversely affected by the lockdown, as well as a waiver of interest on loans of up to ₹10 lakh and moratorium on repayment of loans for two years.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar said the government should announce a financial package and deposit money in the accounts of the poor who will be hit with no sources of income during the 14-day period.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah held both the Union and State governments responsible for the rise in COVID-19 cases and demanded that the State government provide 10 kg of rice and ₹10,000 in cash to all those affected.

Mr. Shivakumar and 50 other senior leaders of the State Congress held a virtual conference with All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Randeep Surjewala, and decided to establish a State-level COVID-19 centre in Bengaluru.

Mr. Surjewala suggested to Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Shivakumar to write to the Chief Minister demanding the immediate announcement of a financial package for the poor and needy.

For establishing the COVID-19 centre, the party would involve its leaders who have been running hospitals in different districts, the KPCC chief said. Senior leaders such as G. Parameshwara, M.B. Patil, and Shamanur Shivashankarappa have been running hospitals in different districts.

The Congress had opposed the lockdown since it would affect the livelihood of lakhs of people such as daily wage workers, garment workers, and street vendors.

Though experts had alerted the government about the likely arrival of a second wave of COVID-19 last November, the government turned a deaf ear to their suggestions and did not show any preparedness for pandemic management, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

‘Alarming situation’

During the interaction, Mr. Surjewala criticised the B.S. Yediyurappa-led BJP government for creating an “alarming situation” in Bengaluru city, which has been facing a shortage of beds, ICU beds, and medicines for COVID-19 patients. “The BJP government has abdicated its responsibilities and abandoned the people of Bengaluru and Karnataka,” he said.

He also asked the State Congress leaders to open a helpline for providing support for patients and to distribute food packages to the poor, PPE kits for doctors, and hand sanitisers to small shop owners. He told leaders to ensure the availability of a team of doctors for providing consultation to patients over telephone.

During the interaction, Mr. Shivakumar blamed the government for not supplying oxygen and Remdesivir to private hospitals run by the Congress leaders. The government has been controlling the supply of drugs and oxygen, he alleged.

Senior leaders M. Mallikarjun Kharge, K.H. Muniyappa, Jairam Ramesh, S.R. Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, M. Veerappa Moily, Margaret Alva, B.L. Shankar, Ramalinga Reddy, and others participated in the discussion.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 11:00:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/provide-financial-aid-to-people-hit-by-lockdown-congress-tells-karnataka-government/article34425691.ece

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