Priyanka concerned over low rate of testing, slow vaccination in U.P.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressing concern over low rate of testing and slow pace of vaccination despite exponential rise in COVID-19 cases.

While offering 10 suggestions to the Uttar Pradesh government, she alleged that the true extent of the pandemic is not coming out because of low testing.

In the three-page letter, the Congress in-charge for U.P. told the Chief Minister that he is accountable to the people in this war and if his government doesn’t fight with determination and all the resources under its command, future generations “will never forgive him”.

In a Facebook post tilted ‘We Shall Overcome’, she said though the Centre has failed the people by abdicating governance and leadership, people should show compassion and become each other’s support.

“Across the world, the fight against corona rests on four pillars: test, treatment, tracking and vaccination. Testing in U.P. is very low. It is negligible in rural areas. The pace of vaccination is very slow. I have offered some constructive suggestions to the Chief Minister through a letter. Hope he will heed,” Ms. Vadra said on twitter and posted her letter.

In the letter, she raised the issue of oxygen and life-saving medicines being sold in black, acute shortage of hospital beds and how the Ayushmaan Bharat health cards are being refused by hospitals.

She said while the people with resources are paying three to four times the price for oxygen, remdesivir and life saving drugs, the poor have been left to their own devices.

Ms. Vadra also wrote how family members of those who died because of COVID-19 are overcharged at cremation grounds and the waiting time for an ambulance to carry the dead from a hospital stretches up to 12 hours because of want of a coupon.

“In every district and village of U.P., numbers are being shown less while people are struggling to arrange wood to burn their dead,’ she alleged.

She said in a State with a population of 23 crore, so far less than a core have been vaccinated and the State government has failed to scale it up.

Ms. Vadra sought a comprehensive financial package for all health and frontline workers, re-opening of all COVID hospitals and care centres with more oxygen beds and deployment of retired medical officers, nursing and paramedical staff.

Oxygen storage facility in each district headquarters, according status of ambulance to oxygen tankers and roping in Aanganwadi and ASHA workers to distribute medical supplies in villages are the other suggestions.

She said while U.P. needs about ₹10,000 crore for its vaccination programme, only ₹40 crore have been allocated. To scale up vaccination on war footing, she asked the U.P. government to explore the possibility of manufacturing vaccines in the Bulandshahr-based Bharat Immunological and Biological Corporation.

“The government should not hide COVID data and make the public aware about cremation grounds through local bodies and ensure 80% of testing is done through RT-PCR. Open new testing centres in villages.”

The Congress leader also asked the U.P. government to provide cash support to all poor and migrant workers who have returned home due to lockdown, local tax relief and waive off power and water charges for weavers, craftsmen, small shopkeepers and traders.

“This is a turning point in our lives in which we are being asked to push beyond all limits to find our own unlimited courage. We are being challenged to set aside feelings of helplessness and fear and stay brave...By gathering up our strength amidst despair, by doing whatever we can to provide comfort to others, by refusing to tire and persisting with the will to carry on against all odds, we shall overcome,” she wrote in her FB post while thanking healthcare professionals for their dedication.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 10:53:47 PM |

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