Chhattisgarh Health Minister and senior Congress leader TS Singh Deo on Tuesday expressed his displeasure at PM Modi’s address to nation on the ongoing COVID situation. PM Modi assured the citizens that there people need not panic and urged state governments that lockdown to curb the pandemic should be the last resort. However, Deo was upset that PM Modi did not speak about vaccine doses that’ll be given to states.
I was hoping that PM in his address would announce free vaccine for every citizen. PM didn’t mention anything on how much the vaccine production capacity will be boosted and on the number of vaccine doses to be given to states after that: Chhattisgarh Minister TS Singh Deo pic.twitter.com/tgBLyCTaER— ANI (@ANI) April 20, 2021
It is imperative to note that the Central government on Monday issued broad guidelines on vaccines as it made them available for all over 18 years of age.
The Centre on Monday announced a slew of changes in the vaccination policies and made provisions for states to purchase the vaccines directly from manufacturers. The Union Govt allowed vaccine manufacturers to sell 50% of their output in open market to states and other private players.
The Centre reiterated that frontline workers and those above age of 45 will be eligible to get the vaccines for free from Centre. The Centre announced that it will allocate vaccines to states from its funds depending on severity of infection and efficiency of state governments in terms of wastage of doses.
Deo is also the one who in February questioned the efficacy of India-made Covaxin vaccines which were then given emergency approval and were being administered to the frontline workers.
In February 2021, Deo had said he does not support use of Covaxin, one of the two vaccines which were approved for emergency use then, in Chhattisgarh. Chief Minister Baghel, too, had cast aspersions on the safety of the Covaxin and indulged in fear-mongering. He was recently called out by Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan in his letter to former PM Dr Manmohan Singh. Without naming Baghel, Dr Harshvardhan had said, “A sitting Chief Minister of your party created a dubious world record of sorts by being the only head of government directly inciting people against an indigenously developed vaccine.”
Further, in February itself Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had said that his state government will make the vaccines free for all.
In February 2021, Baghel had said that the Chhattisgarh government will bear the cost of COVID-19 vaccines in Chhattisgarh even if Centre refuses to do the same. “We don’t have a dearth of funds. We have kept (funds) for it,” he had reportedly said on the floor of state assembly. If the Union government refuses (to provide free vaccine to all), then we would facilitate COVID vaccination of people in the state at our own expenses,” Baghel had said.
It is imperative to not here that when Chhattisgarh was gripped in the second wave of coronavirus infection, Baghel was busy in Assam, campaigning for Congress and predicting his party’s victory. As of now, there are over 5.74 lakh total coronavirus cases in Chhattisgarh, of which 1.25 lakh are active cases. The state has announced a complete lockdown in all 28 districts from Tuesday.
However, the mainstream media has been deafeningly quiet on this.