As India scrambles to contain a devastating second COVID-19 wave, chief ministers and opposition leaders are reaching out to Prime Minster Narendra Modi asking for relief and an increase in vaccine supply.
PM Modi on Sunday, 9 May, spoke to the CMs of the some of worst-COVID hit states of Punjab, Bihar, Karnataka and Uttarakhand. In response, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh urged the PM to increase the total quota of oxygen to 300 MT and ensure urgent supplies of vaccine for the state, which is facing shortages on both counts.
Since winning the West Bengal elections and taking office, CM Mamata Banerjee has penned three letters to PM Narendra Modi, the last highlighting a potential oxygen supply crisis in the state and requesting tax waivers on the import of COVID-related medicines and equipment.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday wrote to PM Modi as well, to offer six suggestions to help combat the second wave.
In his letter Mr Kharge called on the centre to convene an all-party meeting to “collectively forge a holistic blueprint to tackle the pandemic” and utilise the Rs 35,000 crore budget allocated in the Budget to ensure all Indian’s are inoculated.
Kharge also suggested PM Modi for distribution of foreign relief material to be expedited and an increase in minimum pay and work days (from 100 to 200) under MNREGA to help unemployed migrants.
The letter comes on the heels of Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party chief Sonia Gandhi’s similar appeal to PM Modi.
Mr Gandhi, in his letter, urged the Prime Minister to "scientifically track the virus and its mutations", and warned him against allowing mutated versions of the virus to spread unchecked.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday, 9 May also wrote to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, urging him to direct Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to increase monthly supply of COVID-19 vaccines to 60 lakh doses for the next three months.
According to Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi, Delhi as of Sunday, has received 5.5 lakh doses for 18-44 category, over 43 lakh for 45-plus, and healthcare and frontline workers. The UT currently has 4.65 lakh doses available for 45-plus people, and healthcare & frontline workers; 2.74 lakh doses for 18-44 group.
“Delhi has around 92 lakh people in 18-45 age group. I urge you to direct Serum Institute of Bharat Biotech to increase their monthly supplies to Delhi to 60 lakh doses per month during May to July 2021,” read CM Kejriwal’s letter.
The CM also requested a uniform price for vaccines and to allow the UT to develop a separate platform other that CoWIN for vaccine resignation.
"An uniform price should be fixed for the vaccines for supplies made to the governments and private hospitals. The inherent fallacy and danger in the current differential pricing mechanism is that there is an obvious incentive for private manufacturers to prioritise supply to private hospitals..." the letter read.
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