The Indian Express announced that leaders of 12 opposition parties wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, urging him to provide free vaccines to all people and to procure urgent supplies from abroad as the coronavirus spreads across the world.
The leaders have requested that the Central Vista Redevelopment Project be put on hold and that funds be diverted to buy oxygen and provide free vaccines, which are in short supply. The building at the site in Delhi has been designated as a “important service,” which means that work can proceed even if the city is shut down.
Moreover, the politicians urged the Centre to repeal three agricultural laws, claiming that doing so would help prevent lakhs of protesting farmers from becoming pandemic victims.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, DMK chief MK Stalin, and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury were among the signatories to the joint letter regarding the free vaccines.
The politicians blamed the central government for the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which they said had reached unparalleled levels of human disaster.
The leaders said that they had repeatedly drawn the attention of the government to the numerous steps that were “completely imperative” in containing the pandemic. They told Modi, “Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or rejected all of these suggestions.” This only exacerbated the situation, resulting in such a horrific human tragedy.
The lawmakers made nine key demands, which they said should be addressed by the government “on a war footing.”
They suggested that vaccines be procured centrally from all available outlets, both global and domestic. Start a nationwide, free, mandatory mass vaccination program right away. To increase domestic vaccine production, use compulsory licensing. Vaccines will be purchased with a budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crores.
The opposition leaders demanded that all unemployed people be paid at least Rs 6,000 per month and that foodgrains be distributed to the poor for free, claiming that in central godowns, crore tonnes of foodgrains are already rotting.
They also urged the government to release all funds kept in an unaccounted private trust fund, as well as for PM Cares to purchase more vaccines, oxygen, and medical equipment.
Since April 22, India has registered more than 3 lakh cases every day for the past three weeks. It set a new record on May 1 when it surpassed the 4-lakh mark, the highest single-day total by any nation in the world. On May 7, India reported 4.14 lakh daily cases, breaking the previous record. Five days in May, India’s daily tally has surpassed the 4-lakh mark. Every day, thousands of people have died, but reports claim that the government is grossly undercounting Covid-19 deaths.
The country’s healthcare system is on the verge of collapsing as a result of the harsh second wave, which has resulted in shortages of oxygen, hospital beds, and medicines. The government is now attempting to secure supplies from outside the country.
Many people have died while waiting for a bed or oxygen in ambulances and car parks, and morgues and crematoriums are filled with bodies. Because of supply and distribution issues, the rise in infections has coincided with a sharp decline in vaccinations.