Other States

Odisha BJP demands white paper on COVID-19 toll

Workers at a cremation ground in Bhubaneswar. File   | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

The Odisha unit of BJP on Saturday demanded that the Naveen Patnaik government present a white paper on actual number of lives lost in the State during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rising number of deaths has made people of the State distraught. The daily death figures put out by the government does not match with reports appearing in media and cremations being conducted as per COVID-19 guidelines,” said Mohan Charan Majhi, BJP chief whip in the State Assembly, addressing a press conference in the capital Bhubaneshwar.

The government’s hesitance to reject media reports about COVID-19 deaths indirectly proved the authenticity of media reports, Mr. Majhi said.

“As per our tradition the departed soul deserves all respect. It is a criminal act on part of government for not recognising the cause of the death,” the BJP leader remarked.

The government should present a white paper taking into account the cremations being conducted in accordance with COVID-19 guideline and make assistances announced by both State and Central government available to COVID-19 orphans, the party demanded.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, all BJP MLAs wrote that the State government should announce ex-gratia for the people who succumbed to virus as the COVID-19 pandemic had been declared as a disaster as per Disaster Management Act-2005.

They alleged the State government was not implementing Ayushman Yojana due to political considerations for which thousands of Odias in the State and outside were deprived of best medical care.

“The State government should take advantages of all Central schemes by keeping itself above any party affiliation. Though the State claims to be implementing Biju Swasthya Yojana, the scheme only helps those who live in Odisha whereas Odias outside State are not able to access healthcare in best medical facilities,” MLAs maintained.

The State government should not always expend its own savings for improving manpower, basic health infrastructure and machines, instead it should tap the funds being made available to States under Ayushman Scheme, BJP MLAs suggested.

On Friday, Nishikant Mishra, a Congress leader and senior lawyer, had moved Orissa High Court seeking full disclosure on COVID-19 deaths in the State.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 8:41:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-bjp-demands-white-paper-on-covid-19-toll/article34861003.ece

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