Lashing the Center government, All India Congress Committee (AICC) and former cabinet minister HP government Sudhir Sharma secretary in a press release stated that over 1,74,000 cases and nearly 4900 deaths in the country have taken place till till May 30. Adding, “it is inconceivable that the virus is not spreading in the community.” He said that the government is continuing to insist that there is no community spread which is misleading and gives people the false hope that they are protected. If people cannot trust their government when there is are relatively low number of cases, how will they trust their government when the number of cases starts increasing?” questioned the former minister.
Sharma added that according to many experts both Indian and international the numbers are rapidly increasing and are expected to peak in coming July, which means that on its downturn, the curve is likely to drag till September. “And there will possibly be a second wave in the winter,” he informed. Infact these experts point out that at some point in early July (if not earlier), it is likely that a complete breakdown of our healthcare infrastructure may be observed. “In simple terms would mean that hospitals in many places and cities might run out of beds to treat COVID, even if we recruit every last hospital bed available to us (to the exclusion of treating all other ailments)” added Sharma.
The Union government in 69 days of these 4 lockdowns could not take any preemptive steps to combat the onslaught of this deadly virus, he alleged. “Now it is clear that no vaccine is coming up till early next year, possibly not even for a year and a half,” he remarked.
“If we are not prepared now, after 10 weeks of a nationwide lockdown, we are never going to be prepared,” he stated.
He said the government should come up with clarity about procurement and preparedness during the past 69 days.
Adding suggestions he stated that MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) should be extended for harvesting and other agricultural activities. “This will be of dual benefit, those who are out of jobs will get work and the farmers who are struggling to find labour for harvesting will get help”he informed.
He said it is estimated that crores of people have lost their livelihoods in both rural and urban India and many are starving. If and when they contact the Covid19 virus, they could be at a greater risk because of their weakened state. The current level of support for these people is simply unacceptable. The Union government should work on a National program that provides food rations to every citizen with or without a ration card, for at least next six months which is easily achievable given our ample stock of food grains.
Much of the financial support that the government as promised is yet to reach many down the stream, he added. “We must remove all bottle necks to make sure what has been promised is delivered without any further delay,” he demanded.
The Union government should prioritize activities that will allow the economy to recover and start moving, he suggested. Allow freedom of movement for work including public transport but ban mass religious, social and cultural gatherings for the next few months. All offices, businesses and markets should be allowed to open, he added.
“After all fight against will not be won empty stomach,” he concluded.