Margao (Goa) [India], May 14 (ANI): Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Friday criticised the BJP-led state government for not condoling the deaths of patients reportedly due to lack of oxygen during the past 15-20 days.
He also demanded that the state government must provide compensation to families of those who lost their lives in such incidents.
Digambar Kamat, also the Leader of Opposition (LoP) said, "The most irresponsible, insensitive BJP government headed by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant has not even shown the minimum decency of condoling the deaths of all those innocent patients who were literally killed by the insensitive government in last 15 to 20 days in Goa. As the government has clearly admitted now that deaths in GMC occurred due to gross negligence, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant must own the responsibility and announce substantial compensation to the families of those patients who were murdered by government apathy and blunder."
He further said, "The arrogant BJP must learn from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who expressed concerns about loss of lives in Goa due to lack of oxygen. He also appealed to all to ensure that such incidents are not repeated again. Unfortunately, the BJP government is in no mood to listen to others."
On May 11, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane had informed that 26 patients admitted to the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital had died due to lack of oxygen. However, more deaths were reported on the subsequent days.
Speaking about the issue, he said, "It is shocking that after 74 deaths taking place in GMC in last four days due to oxygen shortage, the most irresponsible BJP government has not fixed any responsibility and has not taken action on any single person. Even if accidental death occurs on road, there are immediate arrests made."
"In road accidents or during other natural calamities, compensation is announced by the government. In COVID deaths, the government has murdered people for no fault of theirs. Chief Minister must immediately announce compensation and ensure that the amount reaches the families of the deceased immediately," said the LoP.
Digambar Kamat also put forth his idea of exploring judicial action.
"I am exploring the legal options of approaching the High Court demanding Judicial Inquiry into all the COVID deaths which have taken place in Goa, more particularly in last one month. Justice needs to be given to all those who lost their lives and to those who lost their loved ones. Their loss is irreparable. The present BJP Government will go down in the history as "Killers of Humanity," he said.
"The judicial inquiry is a must to probe the entire handling of the COVID pandemic by the government. Last year there were conflicting reports on the death of former Congress MLA Jitendra Deshprabhu. Confusions were created with the COVIDtest report of former Health Minister Dr. Suresh Amonkar. Even, Vasco Councillor Pascoal D'Souza suffered a lot due to government apathy. This happened with those who were elected representatives of the people, now every common man is facing the heat. Accountability and Responsibility must be fixed with an impratial inquiry," he added.
He suggested that the government should adopt a proper methodology to prepare an audit report and inquire into the deaths in the state.
"People want to know what is the actual reason for a sudden rise in COVID deaths in Goa. Lip service of the Chief Minister and Health Minister will not work. Prepare an audit report from a team of experts adopting scientific methodology," Digambar Kamat demanded.
The LoP also raised his concerns about the vaccination drive in Goa.
"I am again reminding both Chief Minister and Health Minister to come clean on COVID Vaccination. People need to know whether they can take vaccines without undergoing the COVID test. If, the government does not respond, I doubt whether people will dare to go for vaccination. Why Government is afraid to place facts and figures before the public," questioned Digambar Kamat.
On a side note, he welcomed the state government's decision to include medical stores and pharma distributors in the list of frontline workers.
"I welcome the decision of the Government to include Medical Stores and Pharma Distributors and their employees as "Frontline Workers". I had placed this demand before the Government and had spoken to the Chief Secretary to consider the same on priority. I am happy that BJP government has now realised that suggestions and criticism from opposition is not political but in the interest of the people," he concluded.
According to the Union Health Ministry, Goa currently has 32,953 active COVID cases. The state has registered 1937 COVID deaths since the onset of the pandemic last year. (ANI)