NCP accuses BJP of “cheap media tricks to divert attention from core issues”
Geetanjali Minhas | April 8, 2021 | Mumbai
Maharashtra, suffering from a heavy number of fresh cases every day and complaining of vaccine shortage, has replied to the union health minister criticism and blamed the centre for the situation.
“Union Health Minister Shri Harsh Vardhan ji needs to be reminded that Maharashtra tops the chart in the country as far as vaccination drive is concerned and this is purely due to the efforts taken by Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope and his team. We are proactive on testing, tracing, isolating and vaccinating,” Mahesh Bharat Tapase, chief spokesperson of the ruling alliance partner NCP, said in a statement Thursday.
He was replying to Dr Harsh Vardhan’s stringent criticism a day before. The union health minister had taken objection to the state health minister’s remarks that Maharashtra was facing vaccine shortage and might halt the vaccination drive in some districts. Dr Harsh Vardhan was also unhappy with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s remarks that vaccination should be expanded to cover all adults, including those below 45 years of age.
“It was expected that Harsh Vardhan ji will positively respond to the call of Shri Rajesh Tope.
It is the BJP policy to use cheap media tricks to divert attention from core issues. It is the Modi Government at the centre which has a lackadaisical approach towards Maharahtra only because BJP could not form a government here,” the NCP leader alleged.
In response to Dr Hardh Vardhan’s reference to data, he said, “The data regarding the number of doses received and the number of doses administered is available if at all Shri Harsh Vardhan ji would like to see.”
On Wednesday, Maharashtra health minister Tope had raised alarm over the state facing shortage of vaccines and having stocks to last barely two-three days. He said that many vaccinations centres in the state had been closed due to shortage of vaccines. He said the centre had been asked to supply vaccine stocks.
“I have been asking you to supply vaccine to us. We need 40 lakh doses daily. Health workers have to turn away recipients. We cannot afford to slow the pace. We are ready to increase daily immunisations to 5 lakh-6 lakh,” he said.
Tope also said the state had requested the centre to supply oxygen for medical use from nearby states. “Twelve metric tonnes of oxygen is produced and over 7 tonnes is consumed daily. We've urged that we should be supplied medical oxygen from the nearby states. If a need arises we'll close the industries that use oxygen but will not allow supply of medical oxygen be affected,” he said, adding that the government was working on various technologies to obtaining oxygen for medical purpose.
Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar also said there is shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses in the city. “Yesterday we had 1,76,000 vaccine doses but in the coming days we will require more vaccines,” she said.
Chief minister Thackeray earlier urged the prime minister to allow vaccination to people above 25 years of age.
This prompted the union health minister to issue a rebuttal on Wednesday, criticizing the state government for vaccine shortage and blamed it for lackadaisical attitude in bringing down the efforts of the country to bring down the infection. Terming the state government’s statements as “nothing but an attempt to divert attention from the Maharashtra government’s repeated failures to control the spread of pandemic," Dr Harsh Vardhan said those claims were baseless.
Read more about the union health minister’s statement here:
“Doesn't it seem evident that these states are trying to divert attention from their poor vaccination efforts by just continuously shifting the goal-posts? Politicizing such a public health issue is a damning indictment of certain political leaders who should know better,” he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also brushed aside the demands to open vaccination to all adults and said, “The government had no option but to prioritise so long as the supply of vaccines remains limited....The primary aim of vaccination is to reduce mortality among the most vulnerable people and enable the society to beat the pandemic. Accordingly, the world's largest vaccination drive was launched in India with the first recipients being our healthcare personnel and front-line workers. Once this had progressed to a certain level vaccination was opened up to further categories and is currently open to everyone above the age of 45 years."
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