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Rahul Gandhi slams Centre over deaths due to shortage of oxygen, ICU beds

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. File  

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the Centre was responsible for people dying due to shortage of oxygen and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Corona can cause a fall in oxygen level but it’s #OxygenShortage & lack of ICU beds which is causing many deaths. GOI, this is on you,” tweeted Mr. Gandhi, who himself tested positive and is in home isolation.

The Congress leader and his party have been critical of the Narendra Modi government’s handling of the pandemic that has seen a massive shortage of oxygen, hospital beds with ICU facilities and life-saving anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir and vaccines.

Over the last few days, the Congress has been advocating aggressive vaccination of all adult age groups but criticised the new vaccine policy that allows differential pricing.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram suggested that States should jointly form a committee to negotiate with the manufacturers.

“The Central government’s decision to allow multiple prices for vaccines is discriminatory and regressive. States must unanimously reject the decision. The best way forward is for the State governments to jointly form a Price Negotiation Committee and offer to negotiate a uniform price with the two vaccine manufacturers,” Mr. Chidamabaram said in a series of tweets.

On Wednesday, the Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactures Covishield, had announced three slabs: ₹150 for the Central Government, ₹400 for State Governments and ₹600 for private hospitals per dose.

“The joint purchasing power of the State governments will force the manufacturers to agree to a uniform price. States must take the initiative. The Central government has abdicated its responsibility and surrendered to corporate profiteering,” the former Finance Minister added.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 3:10:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rahul-gandhi-slams-centre-over-deaths-due-to-shortage-of-oxygen-icu-beds/article34390702.ece

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