CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said the Congress government had failed miserably in handling the COVID-19 pandemic with Punjab recording the highest fatality rate in the country, even as he asked chief minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take stock of the situation on the ground instead of trying to control it through remote from the comfort of his farmhouse.
Stating that it was condemnable that Punjab had surpassed Maharashtra and Gujarat by recording a fatality rate of 2.95 per cent with 2,150 casualties, the SAD President said senior leaders in other States were camping in worst affected areas to grapple with the crisis. “Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh however only believes in rattling off statistics about coming deaths instead of coming out with solutions to forestall them. It is this attitude, which also witnessed crores being spent on a self-proclamatory Mission Fateh propaganda exercise, which has spelt doom for Punjab and Punjabis”.
Sukhbir Badal said the Congress government’s strategy to counter COVID had been criticized by its own Health Advisor Dr K K Talwar who had indicted the government for not conducting contact tracing of COVID positive cases in July and for failure to manage micro-containment zones. “It is because of these failures that more than one thousand persons died due to COVID in August and now ten districts of the State are recording cases in three figures. The situation is now getting out of control with the pandemic claiming eighty to a hundred persons every day”.
Stating that the Congress government was yet to learn any lessons from its failures, Badal said the government was now engaging in propaganda about the supply of oxymeters to people instead of ensuring the supply of oxygen in both government and private hospitals. “Hospitals are facing a huge shortage of liquid oxygen with the demand going up to 100 metric tonnes against a supply of only 15 metric tonnes. Instead of raising this supply and ensuring oxygen supply to hospitals is put on the priority list, Capt Amarinder Singh is indulging in theatrics about the distribution of oxymeters”.
The SAD president also castigated Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu. He said it was shameful that the Health Minister was attributing the high mortality rate in Punjab to the lifestyle of Punjabis instead of admitting his failure to control the situation. “Such a Health minister who is in the habit of defaming Punjabis does not deserve to sit in his chair for even one minute”.
Asking the chief minister to take the bull by the horns and start working even now, Badal said “all critical care centres need to be upgraded immediately. Simultaneously free treatment should be provided for all poor persons along with free ambulance services to encourage them to report for treatment. The government should also step up testing and plasma treatment facilities to win back the trust of the people who are shunning government medical institutions entirely”, Badal said adding only then could the fatality rate be controlled and reduced effectively.