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‘Not possible to cremate dead bodies quietly,’ Yogi refutes allegations of Covid data fudging, explains tradition of Jal Pravah

"We must understand the ground realities and make a strategy instead of resorting to hair-splitting and making propaganda," Yogi Adityanath slams opposition for its petty politics during his conversation with The Economic Times.

Yogi Adityanath has strongly rejected the allegations of Covid data being under-reported and misrepresented in his state. Slamming those who are indulging in spreading misinformation based on assumptions, the Uttar Pradesh CM while speaking to Economic Times said that those who are oblivious to facts and ground realities are bound to make such allegations.

Yogi Adityanath response to allegations of Covid date being under-reported in the state

Negating the claims, Yogi said that all the data entry is taking place online, linked through national software. He furthered that not only state machinery, but organisations like the UNICEF and WHO, besides central agencies, also have their officials working on the field. WHO has positioned as many as 2000 workers all around the state, so in such a situation when you are constantly being watched, fudging data is quite implausible, said Yogi.

Besides, the CM said that Uttar Pradesh has been applauded for its continuous efforts to contain the pandemic. In fact, Niti Aayog has asked other states to replicate the UP model of door-to-door survey, testing and provision of medicine in rural areas. The CM asserted that it is impossible to develop a model unless there is some substance to it, so the question of manipulating data was impossible.

Yogi rubbishes claims that the number of Covid deaths are being undercounted

Further putting to rest the speculation of Covid deaths being undercounted in the state, Yogi Adityanath asserted that if people are dying and numbers are being hidden, then someone will come out to speak up against it. “Aisa nahi hai ki koi mar jaaye aur chup chaap uska daah sanskar kar diya jaaye. That just cannot happen. The entire system is transparent.

Speaking on how UP is probably the first state where all hospitals are under central CCTV surveillance, Yogi said that he can personally monitor the happenings in a hospital in Gorakhpur while sitting in Lucknow through his tablet.

Rebuking the opposition and their friendly media, who are trying to milk the pandemic to garner political mileage, the Uttar Pradesh CM asserted that such opportunists will eventually get a befitting reply from the citizens of India. “Look, we are facing a rare global pandemic. But still, some people want to use it to play politics. People will give them a befitting reply”, said Yogi Adityanath.

When the interviewer nudges him to comment on the videos and visuals of dead bodies floating in the Ganga and buried in the sands that recently emerged from the state, Yogi explained how this is a Hindu tradition, which is being followed from ancient times.

Media created similar hullabaloo over bodies floating in rivers in 2014, 2015: Yogi Adityanath

“Floating dead bodies in the river is seen as a means to salvation by some. If you look at traditions followed by monks, all three types of tradition co-exist — cremation, burial as well as jal pravah. These traditions exist even among those who are married, as well as in communities like Dasnami Sampradaya, Giri, Puri. Communities residing by the rivers especially take to this kind of practice,” said Yogi, as he reminded how media had created a similar hullabaloo over bodies floating in rivers in years 2014 and 2015.

“We had run awareness campaigns under the Namami Gange regarding these traditions”, said Yogi.

The CM added here that during the first wave of the pandemic, the state government had given funds to gram panchayats and municipal corporations to conduct proper cremations, which was somehow missed during the second wave as the state’s administrative machinery got pre-occupied in Covid management, given that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the country on a much larger scale as compared to the first wave last year.

However, Yogi asserted that the state has now formed committees headed by gram pradhans and heads of municipal corporations to make sure bodies are not floated in the river. Besides starting a campaign, we have deployed SDRF units, PAC flood units to patrol these areas.

How the Uttar Pradesh government has been handling vaccine and testing hesitancy in villages

Confirming that hesitancy to both testing and vaccination in villages is prevalent, Yogi said that that was why the state government tasked gram pradhans, Anganwadi and Asha workers. “We are putting up posters in villages of people who have vaccinated themselves. We have set up common service centers (CSCs) in each of the 58,000 gram panchayats, manned by skilled personnel for documentary and online work. Basically, people can get themselves registered and vaccinated at one place”, confirmed Yogi Adityanath.

How UP is prepping up for the anticipated third wave

Asked on how he plans to ramp up the vaccination drive and prepare for the third wave, Yogi asserted that the preparations to tackle the anticipated third wave is already underway.

“I just toured the state for that purpose. UP has built post-covid wards in every district for free treatment to those reporting complications even after their Covid report came negative. We are also building 100-bed and 25-bed pediatric ICUs in medical colleges and district hospitals, respectively. We have also begun to train manpower for the same”, confirmed the CM.

Covid vaccination drive in full swing in Uttar Pradesh: CM

Speaking on the ongoing vaccination drive in the state, Yogi confirmed that until today almost 2 crore doses have been administered in Uttar Pradesh. He also confirmed that the vaccines for age 18 to 44 will kickstart in all 75 district of the state on June 1.

Additionally, the state has started building special booths for parents of children below 12 years. This category is more exposed to the virus as they go to work and must be inoculated in preparation for the third wave, said the CM.

Yogi’s take on Delhi govt’s politics over oxygen

When asked to comment on the oxygen shortage in Delhi, which snowballed into a major political issue, Yogi said that UP has a 25 crore population but was allotted 700 MT of oxygen per day. Delhi has a population of 1.75 crores but was forcefully allotted 700 MT of oxygen. When the issue of an audit came up, the Delhi government pulled back.

The CM expressed shock at the dirty politics which was played around the supplies of oxygen that too at a time as critical as this one. “A situation of panic was created due to which even those who did not need it, became desperate for oxygen, opined Yogi Adityanath adding that people should try to be calm and show restraint in a crisis, not increase panic through irresponsible statements.

Yogi Adityanath lauds central government’s oxygen management

At this point he lauded the central government’s oxygen management, saying that initially, we did face acute shortages for a few days but soon, the Centre started allocating oxygen through rail and air force.

UP CM slams opposition for resorting to hair-splitting and propaganda

Besides speaking on the state’s Covid preparedness and steps adopted to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the state, Yogi Adityanath also touched upon varied other subjects like the state’s plan to spur economic growth, BJP’s performance in the Panchayat elections and his take on holding the Panchayat elections at a crucial time when the state was grappling with and overcoming the pandemic.

“Now, I have a question to ask. Panchayat elections in UP are the most difficult elections to hold but polls were also held in Tamil Nadu as well as in Kerala and West Bengal. You can compare their positivity and recovery rate with that of UP and see the difference. Secondly, there were no elections in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh or Rajasthan or Delhi. Therefore, we must understand the ground realities and make a strategy instead of resorting to hair-splitting and making propaganda”, asserted the state’s CM.

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