Updated: April 21, 2021 10:24:14 am
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala Tuesday urged the state government to take strict measures to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the state. “It should be a healthy Karnataka but not wealthy Karnataka,” he said during an online all-party meeting which he convened to discuss further containment measures to be taken by the state government amid the worsening Covid-19 situation.
During the meeting, former chief ministers HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah were among several political leaders who urged the BJP-led government to take stringent measures to contain the pandemic.
Kumaraswamy, who joined from his room at a private hospital in Bengaluru where he is admitted since testing positive for Covid-19, recommended that the government impose a statewide lockdown for 15 days. “A lockdown should be announced immediately as it has become inevitable now,” he said.
He added that night curfew would not help in curtailing the spread of the infection. “Bengaluru and large towns like Kalaburagi, Mysuru, Tumakuru, Bidar and others need to go into lockdown now. We should also prohibit inter-state travel from neighbouring states. Most of our border districts have reported a surge because of this,” he said.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah urged the government to impose Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) as a precautionary measure. He also stressed making testing for inter-state travellers mandatory due to the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state.
The senior Congress leader then urged the government to ensure the panchayat elections are postponed after apprising the State Election Commission of the ongoing pandemic situation. However, he began his speech by wondering why the meeting was convened by the Governor.
“…constitutionally, the CM has the right to call for an all-party meeting like this, and not the Governor,” he said, adding, “I’m here as a mark of respect to the Governor. We are not sure whether Yediyurappa had taken the advice of the Advocate General before allowing the Governor to chair the meeting.”
After the meeting, CM Yediyurappa, who also joined from his room at the hospital where he is currently under treatment since catching the infection for the second time, reiterated that the Governor “directed the state government” to take stringent measures to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“He (Guv) emphasised on giving equal priority to prevention along with providing treatment facilities to the infected. He also advised focus on ensuring a Healthy Karnataka by taking necessary steps based on the advice of the technical advisory committee,” Yediyurappa said.
Apprising the Governor about his government’s initiatives to develop public healthcare infrastructure in the state, the CM said, “There is a 12 percent increase in total number of beds. The number of oxygenated beds has increased manifold to 29,667 now,” he added.
Yediyurappa claimed that the government had taken “continuous efforts to ensure proper treatment, medicines, ventilators, and ICUs to the infected”. He added that an order was issued asking private hospitals to reserve 50 per cent beds for Covid-19 patients. “There is no shortage of Remdesivir vials,” he said.
Measures this time to be pragmatic, tough: Karnataka Home Minister
The Karnataka CM will have one more round of discussion with experts, and top officers Tuesday before a call is taken on restrictions to be announced in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, Home and Law Minister Basavaraj Bommai said.
He added, “The measures taken this time will be pragmatic and tough. We need to face the reality, be prepared and work towards containing the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Karnataka Legislative Council Chairman Basavaraja Horatti opined that the state government should conduct SSLC and PUC exams as per the schedule. He added that “elected representatives should be role models to others in following Covid-19 guidelines stipulated by the government”.
Speaker of Legislative Assembly Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, too, called on political leaders to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed. “We should also follow the advice of the AYUSH department and take preventive measures,” he said.
The Yediyurappa government has imposed a weekend curfew for two weeks and extended the night curfew in the state. Earlier, the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) constituted by the state government recommended extension of night curfew timings and imposing “weekend Janata curfews”.
The TAC had earlier noted that the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to peak by the first week of May 2021.
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