The political schism over the Covid second surge widened today, with leaders of 12 major Opposition parties, including four Chief Ministers, writing a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that the Centre centrally procure vaccines from global and domestic suppliers and launch a free, compulsory mass vaccination programme throughout the region.
In a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the opposition leaders have demanded that the government take urgent action as the vicious second wave of Covid-19 rips through India, causing hospitals to overflow and killing thousands.
The leaders accused the government of ignoring their recommendations, which they said had exacerbated the situation to the point of “such an apocalyptic human catastrophe.” The leaders proposed giving food grains to the poor and 6,000 a month to the unemployed. The leaders have also demanded that the three Central Farm laws be repealed, claiming that this would help prevent lakhs of ‘annadatas’ (food-growers) from being victims of a pandemic. A large number of farmers are protesting at three Delhi borders, demanding that the farm laws passed by Parliament in September last year be repealed.
They submitted the following list of to-dos:
- Vaccines are procured centrally from all available outlets, both foreign and domestic.
- Immediate, mandatory, free mass vaccination programme
- Compulsory licensing is being implemented in order to increase domestic vaccine production.
- Using the 35,000 crore budgeted sum for vaccines
- Putting a halt to Central Vista building and reinvesting the funds in oxygen and vaccines
- PM releases all funds invested in the “unaccounted private trust fund.”
- Cares to spend ₹ 6,000 a month on vaccines, oxygen, and medical devices for the unemployed
- Foodgrain distribution to the poor is free of charge.
- Farm laws should be repealed to shield farmers who have fallen victim to Covid.
The letter’s signatories include Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister and JDS chief H D Deve Gowda, and NCP President Sharad Pawar. Chief ministers Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), MK Stalin (DMK), and Hemant Soren are among the others (JMM). Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Akhilesh Yadav (SP), as well as Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI), and Sitaram Yechury, have signed the document (CPI-M).
According to the leaders, the Covid-19 pandemic has reached unprecedented levels of human catastrophe in the region, and that it is absolutely critical for the Central government to undertake and enforce these steps. “Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy,” they said.
“Obtain vaccines in a centralized manner from all available sources, both global and domestic. Start a free, compulsory mass vaccination programme around the country right away. In order to increase domestic vaccine production, mandatory licensing should be implemented. Spend a budget allocation of 35,000 crores on vaccines “According to the leaders’ message.
The opposition leaders have requested that all unemployed people be paid at least $6,000 a month and that food grains be distributed free of charge to the poor, claiming that over one crore tonnes of food grains are currently “rotting in central go-downs.”
“Though it has not been your office’s or government’s procedure, we would appreciate an answer to our suggestions in the interests of India and our citizens,” the leaders wrote in the letter.