Setting up temporary hospitals and making arrangements to treat COVID-19 patients in PHCs across Tamil Nadu ate among Stalin’s other demands.

MK Stalin addressing people at a poll rally
news Coronavirus Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 07:37

DMK president MK Stalin has accused the Union and Tamil Nadu governments of failing to take preventive and precautionary measures to tackle COVID-19 before the second waves of the pandemic began. According to Stalin, not only did the two governments take lessons from the 'wrong committed' during the first wave, but they committed a “bigger second wrong.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should announce that COVID-19 vaccines will be provided free of cost to people and implement it immediately, he said. Urging the Union government to save people and “avoid getting blamed in the pages of history,” he said that reports coming from the northern part of the country on the COVID-19 scenario heightened fear. 

"During the first wave of COVID-19, the Union and state governments failed in preventing it and both the governments failed in containing it too,” he said in a video. "Not only did the two governments learn lessons from the 'wrong committed' during the first wave, but they did a bigger second wrong. No protective, precautionary measures were taken by Union and Tamil Nadu governments during the intervening six month period between the first and second waves of COVID-19 and we are seeing its result now in front of our eyes," he said.

The Union government did not pay attention although a Parliamentary Standing Committee had cautioned them about oxygen scarcity last November and tabled in the Lok Sabha on February 2, he pointed out.

 

 

The Delhi High Court told the Union government that it may "beg, borrow or steal" but must save lives by providing oxygen, the DMK leader said.

Even during the second wave, vaccine doses and anti-viral drug remdesivir were exported and "above all, India sold oxygen to foreign countries," he said. India was exporting COVID-19 vaccines to over 60 countries under the COVAX scheme, which a vaccine sharing programme led by the World Health Organisation (WHO). India curbed its export amid shortage reported in the country. 

Read: As a desperate Chennai scurries for Remdesivir, experts reiterate it’s not life-saving

Despite the situation turning worse, the prices of vaccines have increased and it is injustice, he said. "The looting over vaccines is the more agonising during these times of grief," he said. 

There was one price for the Union, another for states and one more for private hospitals, he said, adding that all lives were equally important and differential pricing was 'injustice.' 

“After the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the states lost their authority to levy taxes to a great extent and it would be difficult for state governments to tackle the situation arising out of the pandemic,” he said.

Read: The case for vaccinating everyone for free in India

The Union government should, hence, allocate additional funds to states to tide over the pandemic. “Tamil Nadu was able to manage the virus scenario to an extent in view of the strengthening of medical infrastructure over the past several decades,” he said.

The DMK chief also remarked that the AIADMK government is not competent to properly utilise the medical infrastructure in the state He wanted the Tamil Nadu government to increase oxygen storage and stocks of vaccine doses.

Setting up temporary hospitals and making arrangements to treat COVID-19 patients in primary health centres across the state were among his other demands.

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