The Opposition Congress in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) charged the ruling BJP of suppressing the actual number of Covid 19 cases in the city, leading to “a false sense of security”. In the first general board meeting of the AMC since the pandemic struck, Leader of Opposition and Congress Corporator Dinesh Sharma on Friday alleged that the BJP administration in the urban local body is “hiding corona cases and not reflecting the reality,” at Tagore Hall in Ahmedabad. The meeting’s proceedings were live-streamed on social media even as mediapersons were not allowed inside the auditorium.
The nearly two-hour long general board meeting was presided over by Mayor Bijal Patel. While the live-stream feed froze when Sharma was alleging discrepancy in the daily Covid-19 data given by the AMC, Sharma told this paper, “Everyday, Ahmedabad city declares 150-160 cases and some three to four deaths. I raised an issue over the AMC claiming that it is conducting rapid antigen tests daily at the railway station, where 20 cases come up; then, there are urban health centres (UHCs) (60 across AMC limits) where rapid antigen tests are conducted, and say, 180 test positive from there. Then, they claim they have set up 100 tents or so to conduct tests, plus there are the micro containment zones – 10-15 declared each day…. By suppressing data, they are giving citizens a false sense of security.”
Among other issues raised were damaged roads, the BJP using cows for gaining votes and SVP Hospital denying treatment to Covid-19 patients.
Sharma said, “The BJP administration is hand in gloves with road-making contractors… Every year, the roads are damaged with monsoon. Last year, there was a vigilance inquiry and officials were sent notices but there was no further action; how is this acceptable?… .A reporter was denied admission at SVP Hospital and was kept waiting for hours. Irrespective (of the fact) that as a mediaperson, what he reports may not be to the liking of the ruling disposition, (but) he is a citizen of the city, entitled to treatment at a hospital funded by public money. The hospital was built for citizens and even if the hospital was full, it was their duty to give him timely treatment… Last year, there were 90 cows seized by the AMC, what happened to them? There is no record and no vigilance inquiry… they remember cows as their mother only for garnering votes.” Meanwhile, independent corporator at AMC, Imran Khedawala, who is also a Congress MLA from Jamalpur-Khadia constituency in the Gujarat Assembly, was not permitted to participate in the board meeting proceedings on the ground of not being RT-PCR tested for Covid-19. However, on September 20, for participating in the monsoon Assembly sessions, Khedawala was antigen tested where his results had come negative for Covid-19.
Earlier, Khedawala had tested positive for the viral infection on April 14. Mayor Patel is learnt to have said that Khedawala should have been tested on the two-day targeted testing drive undertaken for board meeting participants on September 22 and 23.
Elections to the AMC and other urban local bodies are due in December this year.
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