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Free vaccine for all, adequate oxygen supply to states: Mamata Banerjee writes to PM Modi

Mamata Banerjee had advocated free vaccines for all in the country during her election campaign and after the TMC swept the polls in Bengal, she even threatened to launch an agitation for the same.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (File)

Hours after taking oath as the chief minister of West Bengal for her third successive term, Mamata Banerjee Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to allow free-of-cost vaccination against Covid-19 to all. She also requested him to ensure adequate supply of essential drugs and hike allocation of medical oxygen for West Bengal.

Mamata had advocated free vaccines for all in the country during her election campaign and after the TMC swept the polls in Bengal, she even threatened to launch an agitation for the same.

“At the very outset, I would again like to emphasise free vaccination for all. You may kindly recall my letter on 24th February 2021, wherein I had requested you to allow the government of West Bengal to allow procurement of vaccine from designated points for providing vaccination for the people of the state free of cost. This has not been addressed,” the West Bengal CM said in the letter.

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In the letter, the chief minister stressed four specific points. Firstly, she requested universal immunisation for all in a transparent and time-bound manner. “At present vaccine availability is too inadequate to provide to eligible beneficiaries and government of India direction to extend vaccination up to 18 years plus makes it unrealistic to achieve. So supply of vaccines is the core issue to address now,” Mamata said.

The CM also urged the PM to ensure availability of essential drugs including Remdesivir and Tocilizumab to states to meet their rising demand. “At least 10,000 doses of Remdesivir and 1000 vials of Tocilizumab is the daily requirement of our state (West Bengal),” Mamata said in the letter.

The CM also informed that the consumption of medical oxygen in West Bengal has risen from 200 MT to 400 MT per day and it is likely to go up to 500 MT in the next seven days.

“Concerned authorities may kindly be advised to allocate at least 500 MT of medical oxygen per day out of the total oxygen produced in Bengal on urgent basis to prevent any shortage,” she said.

“I am told 70 PSA units have been allotted to Bengal which is likely to take time to be installed. As such to meet immediate necessity, the current system will have to be strengthened,” the CM added.

New Covid curbs in West Bengal

In an address to media later, Mamata informed about the new Covid-induced restrictions in the state including suspension of local trains from Thursday.

“All markets, retailers, standalone shops to function from 7 am to 10 am and later from 5 pm to 7 pm only. Movement of local trains to be suspended from tomorrow. State transport, including metro, to function with 50 per cent capacity,” ANI quoted the chief minister as saying.

“From May 7, nobody will be allowed to arrive at airports without RT-PCR negative report not older than 72 hours. Those who will be positive, they will be sent to 14-day quarantine, arranged by airport authority with state government,” she added.

Mamata said random checking will be done in inter-state buses, and a RT-PCR negative report, not older then 72 hours, is mandatory for the passengers. The ruling is also applicable to the passengers of train services, she said.

The CM further said there will be only 50 per cent attendance in state government offices. Private sector employees will work from home with only 50 per cent of staff allowed to work from office. Jewellery shops would remain open from 12 pm to 3 pm. Banks to operate from 10 am to 2 pm.

Shopping complexes, gyms, cinema halls, beauty parlours would remain closed. All social and political gatherings in the state will be prohibited, the CM said. Home delivery will be encouraged, she added.

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