Major Opposition parties wrote to the Prime Minister on May 12 in the light of the catastrophic Covid-19 situation in the country. They acknowledged the fact that the pandemic had assumed “unprecedented dimensions of a human catastrophe”.
In the letter, they said that they had repeatedly in the past tried to draw the Prime Minister’s attention, both independently and jointly, for the Centre to undertake and implement various measures to address the Covid situation. But, the centre either chose to ignore or reject the suggestions, says the letter. The parties hold this responsible as the reason for the Covid situation spiralling out of control.
The letter lists certain measures which the opposition parties feel must be undertaken on a war footing by the centre:
Procurement of vaccines centrally from all available sources - global and domestic
Immediate initiation of a free, mass vaccination campaign across the country
Invocation of compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production
Spending of a budgetary allocation of 35,000 crores for the vaccines
The Central Vista construction be stopped and the allocated money be spent on procuring oxygen and vaccines instead
Release of all money held in the “unaccounted private trust fund”, PM Cares to buy vaccines, oxygen and medical equipment
Provision of at least 6000 rupees per month to the jobless
Free distribution of foodgrains to the needy as over one crore ton of food grains are currently rotting in central godowns
Repeal of the Farm Laws for the protection of the interests of the farmers
The letter concludes with the statement, “Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people.”
Signatories to the letter are Sonia Gandhi (INC), HD Deve Gowda (JD-S), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Uddhav Thackeray (SS), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), MK Stalin (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Farooq Abdullah (JKPA), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M)